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It's not just the alcohol that brings people together. Cocktails draw on and create family tradition, serve as a holiday centerpiece and make party planning easier.
But, of course, holiday cocktails are mostly about their sweet, wonderful deliciousness. So bake those cookies, trim that tree and take out a pretty party bowl or ice-cold pitcher, and get to mixin'. It's time to increase your holiday spirit with one (or more) of these five mouthwatering cocktails from the experts.
This spin on a classic sangaree recipe from H. Joseph Ehrmann, the proprietor of old San Francisco saloon
Elixir, is a delicious, fruity option, topped with the spice of the yuletide season, nutmeg. Similar to sangria, sangaree was first made when wine would go bad from being shipped, and enterprising drinkers would stabilize the alcohol with citrus and nutmeg. Ehrmann opts for a good merlot -- no need for spoiled wine in contemporary times -- but also says that any good fruit wine will do.
"Cherry and bourbon are a natural pairing for me," he says. "So I decided to cut the drink with bourbon, which blends superbly with the merlot. The lemon brightens the drink and makes it surprisingly refreshing and light, while the nutmeg provides a wonderful nose on every sip and creates a tie to the holidays."
Yuletide Moon Recipe
4 pitted bing cherries
0.25 oz. simple syrup. (When fresh cherries are not in season, substitute quality marinated cherries like Marascas from Luxardo or Morellos from Trader Joe's, but do not use simple syrup.)
1.5 oz. Night Harvest Merlot
1 oz. bourbon
1 fresh lemon wheel
Fresh nutmeg to grind
In a mixing glass, muddle the cherries (if no pitter, just remove pits after muddling). Add simple syrup, merlot, bourbon and lemon slice. Top with ice to two-thirds full and shake lightly. Empty contents into a 10.5-oz. Old Fashioned glass. Top with grated nutmeg to garnish.