During the holidays even the most reluctant cooks take their shot in the kitchen. It's much the same with drinks. Those who would ordinarily get no more creative than opening a beer find themselves caught with the idea of mixing a fancy seasonal drink. Holiday cheer comes in many forms—unfortunately many of those forms are lackluster.
A dose of Jim Beam in a cup of supermarket eggnog is all it takes for some, while others try to fancy it up using the colors of the season (by dribbling some cranberry juice into a glass of sparkling wine, for example). To which I say: is that really the best you can do?
Here's a holiday cocktail that doesn't require the separating of eggs, the whipping of cream and sugar, or a garnish of pine twigs and cranberries. Created by my friend Chuck Taggart, a native New Orleanian and longtime blogger at The Gumbo Pages, who is no slouch in the bar or kitchen. The Reveillon cocktail has the perfect flavors for the season without the sugary heaviness you find in so many holiday drinks.
Rich with the flavors of apple and pear brandies (not liqueurs), touched with allspice and cinnamon-tinged bitters, and lent complexity and depth with a good sweet vermouth, the Reveillon has been one of my favorite holiday drinks for the past several years.
- 2 ounces apple brandy
- 1/2 ounce pear brandy (the clear, unsweetened eau de vie - Clear Creek has a good one)
- 1/2 ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
- 1/4 ounce good-quality sweet vermouth (Carpano Antica or Punt e Mes, or use Dubonnet)
- 1 dash aromatic bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir well for 30 seconds and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a piece of star anise.