John Dandy

John DandyBourbon goes with many things, but apples, cinnamon and chocolate top my pairings list.   For the bourbon in this cocktail, I used Ranger Creek’s .36 Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey which gently nips but doesn’t bite.  It brings the flavors of vanilla, cinnamon and a touch of oak.  If you choose a different bourbon, I suggest something that isn’t overly smooth.  I used Bigallet China-China Amer as a modifier.  Alone, this liqueur tastes of bitter orange, citrus, and cherries with an earthy, root touch similar to cola, (think bourbon and coke).  I added the bitters for complexity and to introduce chocolate, additional cinnamon and a bit of dried fruit from the fig bitters.

John Dandy

The nose of this Manhattan-esque cocktail is bright orange, fruit, vanilla and cinnamon.  The initial flavors are apple, vanilla with a touch of oak, followed by chocolate, dried fruit and a bit of spice.  The earthy tone comes late and the finish is fruit, spice, cinnamon and vanilla.  As noted below, don’t get this cocktail too sweet.John Dandy2

  • 1 oz. Bourbon
  • 1 oz. Laird’s Applejack
  • 1/4 oz. Bigallet China-China Amer
  • 1-2 dashes 2:1 Demerara simple syrup – depending on the sweetness of your maraschino cherries
  • 1 dash Fees Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters
  • 1 dash Brooklyn Hemispherical Black Mission Fig Bitters
  • Orange peel for garnish
  • Maraschino cherry for garnish
  1. Chill a coup or other stemmed cocktail glass with ice and water
  2. Combine all of the ingredients except the garnishes in a mixing glass with ice
  3. Stir to chill and strain into chilled glass
  4. Express orange peel and discard
  5. Add cherry



Christmas Cocktails

Christmas is upon us.  In other words, it’s that time of year when we find ourselves faced with last minute entertaining “opportunities!”

You don’t have to reinvent the cocktail to provide your guests with memorable Holiday themed libations.  Simply use great existing recipes and give them festive names.  The following examples are easy to make using common ingredients:

The Christmas Punk

Christmas Punk from Imbibe Magazine

  1. Conquistador Punch from Imbibe Magazine
  2. Christmas Punk also from Imbibe Magazine
  3. Snow Drift from Cinco Vodka
  4. Midori Sour

Krampus Dare – aka Conquistador Punch

I-saw-mommy-kissing-krampusThis is a punch, which means that you can make it as a single cocktail or in small to large batches.  While definitely a tequila drink, it is balanced by the brightness of the citrus and mellowed by the sherry.

The recipe is:

  • 3 parts Reposado Tequila
  • 1 1/2 part Sherry
  • 1 1/2 part Lime juice
  • 1 1/2 part Orange Juice
  • 1 part simple syrup

For 2 single drinks, think ounces for parts and shake all ingredients with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glasses.  Garnish with an orange peel.

For a pitcher, combine ingredients with ice and stir to chill.  Strain into a pitcher and refrigerate.  Serve in chilled cocktail glasses and garnish with fat orange peels.

For a punch bowl, combine ingredients with ice cubes and stir to chill.  When chilled, remove ice cubes and replace them with a large piece of ice.  Add slices of limes and oranges and ladle into cups.

St. Nickolas Punch aka Christmas Punk

St Nick Krampus

Left to Right St. Nicholas Punch and Krampus Dare

This drink combines apple and ginger with the richness of port and the spice of the bitters.

  • 2 oz. Applejack
  • 1 oz. Domaine de Canton
  • 3/4 oz. Port
  • 3 dashes Fees Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters
  • Long Lemon peel for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
  3. Garnish with the lemon peel
St Nick n Krampus

Snow Drift

This is a pretty drink reminiscent of eggnog with a hint of chocolate.

  • 2 oz. Chilled Vodka
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau
  • 1 oz. White Creme de Cacao
  • 2 oz. Heavy Cream
  • Grated white chocolate for garnish
  1. Combine the ingredients except the garnish in a shaker without ice.  Shake for 30 seconds.
  2. Add ice and shake until welled chilled
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail or martini glass and garnish with the chocolate

Christmas Kiss aka Midori Sour

Midori SourBright green always works for the Holidays.  This sweet and sour drink is always a hit with the sweet drink crowd.

  • 2 oz. Midori
  • 2 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz. simple syrup
  • Brandied cherry for garnish.
  1. Combine all ingredients except the cherry in a shaker with ice.  Shake until well chilled.
  2. Strain into a chilled martini glass and drop in the cherry.

Remember to use premium ingredients and fresh juices.