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Chef's Corner
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Holiday Cheer

Around the holidays when there is lots of celebrating going on and people dropping in, it always helps to get the party started with a cocktail. It doesn’t have to be fancy, and you don’t need a fully stocked bar, just something to add a little spark to the festivities. At our Thanksgiving dinner my daughter was in charge of cocktail hour and she made a delicious Apple Cider Sangria which was a big hit with everyone, even our dyed in the wool beer and wine drinkers couldn’t resist. Following are some ideas for drinks to enjoy not just during the holidays but at any festive gathering during the year.

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Ingredients

Bloody Mary

Supposedly invented in New York in the 1920s, as a “morning after” cure, this drink originally consisted of just vodka and tomato juice. The added fixings came later and it is generally served over ice in a highball glass.

Mimosa

This is such a refreshing drink and the perfect complement to a late morning Christmas brunch. It is certainly easy enough to prepare and is not overpowering.

Apple Cider Sangria

If you are going to serve just one cocktail at a gathering, this should be it. You make it in quantity and it saves a lot of bartending at the party. This is a seasonally perfect drink for any time of day or night. You will need a large pitcher, punch bowl or dispenser. This recipe makes 2 quarts, enough for a big group. Serve in an old fashioned glass.

2 cups apple cider
1/2 cup apple brandy
2 bottles dry white wine
1/2 cup Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
About four mixed color apples, chopped into cubes and tossed with lemon juice to prevent browning
Seltzer or club soda to finish

Cosmopolitan

Another couldn’t be easier cocktail in the perfect colors for the season.

Hot Buttered Rum

If the children are finally in bed and you need a bit of quiet before retiring, you might want to try this soothing drink.

Instructions

Bloody Mary

My recipe uses 6 parts V-8 in place of tomato juice, 3 parts vodka, 1 part lemon juice. Add a dash of Worcestershire sauce, tabasco to taste, celery salt and pepper. Garnishes can include a celery stalk, scallion, a skewer of olives, a pickle spear or a cube of cheese. It is fun to make a small “buffet” of garnishes and let your guests add their own touch to their drink. A Virgin Mary leaves out the vodka (this is known in Australia as a Bloody Shame), a Clamdigger contains Clamato juice instead of tomato or V-8. It is a tradition in the Upper Midwest to serve a small beer chaser on the side.

Mimosa

To make a Mimosa, mix cold champagne or Prosecco (Italian sparkling wine) with cold orange juice, in a proportion of half and half. Serve in a champagne flute.

Apple Cider Sangria

Stir all liquids together except seltzer, add the fruit and let sit in the fridge until serving. Top off glass of sangria with seltzer or club soda and spoon some apples into each glass.

Cosmopolitan

The Cosmo as it is referred to is simply 3 ounces of cranberry juice, 3/4 ounce vodka, a squeeze of lime juice and a lime twist for garnish. Serve very cold.

Hot Buttered Rum

Melt 2 teaspoons of butter over low heat in a pan with a tablespoon of sugar and dash of cloves. Turn off heat and add rum – stir well. If you prefer, substitute honey for the sugar. Top with hot water to taste, a squeeze of lemon juice and garnish with a cinnamon stick and dash of nutmeg. Sleep well…

Notes

We hope you enjoy your holiday with family and friends. Cheers, everyone. Happy Holidays and a very Happy and Healthy New Year.

by: Deirdre Cooper
Deirdre is a culinary enthusiast who enjoys traveling, gardening, and needless to say works wonders in the kitchen. Deirdre, a native New Yorker, now resides in Ambler with her husband John, and can often be found entertaining family and friends. Enjoy!
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