Every now and again I find a great little book at a great low price and this one was beautifully photographed and appropriate for the holidays. I couldn’t resist buying it.
Holiday Cocktails by Jessica Strand shares some unique festive cocktails, both cold and hot for those wintry days when you want to just curl up with a blanket and a good book.
I found the names charming and quite appropriate for the holidays. As the book description says, Holiday Cocktails is the place to turn for advice no matter what’s on the holiday social calendar, whether it’s a New Year’s blow-out, a bustling dinner party, or an intimate night for two. The book also offers tips on festive garnishes, glassware, and must-have ingredients for the most wonderful time of year.
Keep this little gem handy at your home bar or buy one as a gift for the cocktail-lover on your Christmas list.
Holiday Cocktails, by Jessica Strand, with photographs by Laurie Frankel. Published by Chronicle Books; hardcover, 80 pages. ISBN 978-0811841573. US$15.99, available at Amazon and at select bookstores.
Foamy Mexican Hot Chocolate
This is not your average hot chocolate. Can be found in some supermarkets or specialty food stores. Has a more complex taste with hints of cinnamon, almonds and vanilla.
8oz milk, 2 wedges Mexican, Hot Chocolate Marshmallows
Heat milk in a small saucepan until very hot. In a blender, place the chocolate wedges and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add hot milk and blend until smooth. Serve in a mug or glass, adding marshmallows for garnish. Makes 1 drink.
Kir Royale [Picture on p 62]
½ oz crème de cassis, ½ tsp freshly squeezed lime juice (optional), Sugar rim for garnish (see below), 5 oz champagne
On a small plate, pour a shallow layer of superfine sugar. Wet the rim of a champagne flute with a slice of orange, lemon or lime or just with a little water (use a lightly dampened paper towel), then dip the rim evenly in the garnish. Pour the crème de cassis and lime juice (if using) into the glass. Add champagne. Stir. Makes 1 drink.
Christmas Morning Mimosa
Cubed mango 4-6 small cubes, 1 oz mango juice, 4 oz of champagne
Place cubed mango in champagne flute. Pour mango juice and champagne over a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until cold, then strain into flute.
Makes 1 drink.
Variation: For larger groups, multiply the recipe by the number of guests, straining the mango juice and champagne mixture into a pitcher.
½ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar syrup, 2oz Midori, Frozen melon ball or maraschino cherry for garnish
Pour lemon juice, sugar syrup and midori over a handful of ice in a cocktail shaker. Shale until cold, then strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a frozen melon ball or maraschino cherry. Makes one drink. Sugar Syrup: Over medium heat bring to a boil one cup of water with 2 cups of sugar, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil for another 3 minutes then remove from heat. Let cool and refrigerate in a covered container.
½ oz of Chambord (cordial), 5 oz of champagne, 5-6 Pmegranate seeds
Pour Chambord into a champagne flute or other tall glass, then add champagne. Finish by dropping seeds into the cocktail. Makes 1 drink.
Hot Brandy Alexander
4 oz milk, ¾ oz of brandy, ¾ oz crème de cacao, Whipped cream (see below), Chocolate shavings for garnish
Heat milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until very warm. Pour brandy and crème de cacao into a mug, then add the heated milk. Stir until blended. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.
For whipped cream, whip 8oz of heavy whipping cream with 1 tsp of sugar (optional).
Do not overwhip..whip until it forms peaks. Use immediately.