The holidays are a green light for a near-constant cocktail hour. Five bartenders share simple drink recipes to ring in Festivus.
Co-owner Nick Kennedy fixes batches of an extra-smoky take on the Athol Brose, a traditional Scottish drink that combines oatmeal, honey, cream and (usually) whisky. Save this one for after the feast, maybe in lieu of dessert – it’s a wholesome rib-sticker.
8 oz mezcal, like Del Maguey Vida
8 oz brose (recipe below)
6 oz heavy cream
1 oz agave syrup
Dry shake ingredients before shaking again with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with grated cinnamon if you please.
Bake 1 cup steel-cut oats at 350ºC for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Combine with 1 cup untoasted steel-cut oats and grind the entire mixture to medium-coarse. Mix with 4 cups water and refrigerate overnight.
This simple, refreshing recipe from -Oliver Stern (former bar manager of Toronto Temperance Society and soon to be heading up Anthony Rose’s anticipated cocktail joint, Bar Begonia on Dupont) can be mixed beforehand in a punch bowl and served individually over crushed ice as guests arrive. Stern’s winning cocktail from the -Bacardi Legacy Canadian regional finals is a riff on the sherry cobbler, one of the oldest known cocktails, and is inspired by the Catalan region, the birthplace of Bacardi founder Facundo Bacardí Massó.
1 oz Bacardi Superior
1 oz BG Reynold’s Don’s Mix
1 oz dry cider (Stern uses Basque cider, but any dry cider will do)
Combine ingredients over crushed ice and stir, adding more crushed ice on top as needed. Garnish with an apple fan and grated cinnamon.
Embrace the name: not every festive drink needs to be jolly. Silky, smoky and a wee bit bitter, this nutty version of a classic flip is the perfect digestif to spark a good holiday mope.
1¾ oz Black Bottle Blended Scotch
¾ oz Cynar
1 oz cashew orgeat (regular orgeat will do – try B.G. Reynolds, available at BYOB, 972 Queen West, 647-727-3600)
Combine ingredients, including whole egg, in a shaker and shake to emulsify. Add ice and shake again. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with black sesame seeds.
Rum nuts will find a variety of tropical classics at the brand new bar in Parkdale. This simple recipe, resurrected by Nogueda, is a Trader Vic’s original.
1 oz dark Jamaica rum,
like Myer’s or Appleton Estate
1 oz creme de cacao
4 oz hot water
1 pat butter
Muddle butter to dissolve and serve steamy in a pre-warmed tiki glass. Add spices like cinnamon, allspice, mace and cloves to taste.
Bar manager Caverly mixes a festive sparkling drink that makes a lovely self-serve aperitif when prepped in a punch bowl or pitcher. (The less work you’re forced to do over the holidays, the better.) Between the floral savoury sage and the tart cranberry, it’s not too sweet, and the bubbles prime the palate for an evening of unchecked celebratory gluttony.
1 oz chilled vodka like Absolut (vodka should live in the freezer, always)
1½ oz cranberry sage simple syrup
4 oz dry sparkling wine
Build in a flute and garnish with a sage sprig.
Cranberry Sage Syrup
1 cup cranberries
2 tbsp dried sage
2 cups water
Combine ingredients and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, add 2 cups sugar and stir until it dissolves. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain before using. Keep refrigerated for up to a week.