Take a few tips from some of the best local bartenders & prepare to shake, stir & sip your way to a happy holiday with these 5 holiday cocktail recipes.
By Allison Jacobs
From Rimon Tawfeeq and Renee Hunt
This heart-warming holiday cocktail is reminiscent of Rimon’s Slovakian roots. In his family, taking a shot of liquor rings in the holiday season with good luck. As a newer addition to the Joe Muer Bloomfield team, Rimon has extensive experience bartending at dining establishments in the Birmingham/Bloomfield area. Renee Hunt assisted in creating the garnish for this festive cocktail. With an extensive resume, she previously worked at Gibson’s in Chicago and for Lettuce Entertain You venues. Renee recently moved back home to Michigan, bringing her craft cocktail skills to Joe Muer Seafood.
2 oz. rye whiskey
¼ oz. cinnamon-infused simple syrup
¼ oz. sweet vermouth
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash old fashioned bitters
1 orange wedge
1 dash cherry juice
Muddle orange wedge with dash of cherry juice and bitters. Add to cocktail shaker along with cinnamon-infused simple syrup, rye, and vermouth. Shake and strain over large cherry-infused ice cube (or regular ice). Garnish with a candied orange twist.
From Cole Levy
Cole loves to whip up this twist on a holiday favorite, filled with notes of blue spruce and white pine.
Cole has spent more than eight years enhancing beverage programs at numerous Detroit restaurants. She now is the general manager at Detroit City Distillery and is transitioning to the title of brand ambassador. While she enjoys mixing fun cocktails, her favorite sipper is a bourbon on the rocks.
4 cups milk
5 whole cloves
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
12 egg yolks
1.5 cups sugar
2.5 cups Detroit City Distillery Peacemaker Gin
4 cups light cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine milk, cloves, ½ teaspoon vanilla and cinnamon in a saucepan and heat over lowest setting for five minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook
over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
Stir in gin, cream, 2 teaspoons vanilla and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.
From Marlowe Johnson
“A super traditional English beverage now enjoyed all over the world, the concept of ‘boozy, hot, spiced’ is hard to beat,” he says. This festive beverage is Marlowe’s “go-to” holiday punch. He likes to add his father’s favorite port when stirring this up for the holidays.
Marlowe was captivated early on in his career by Japanese bartending, which focuses on eclectic flavors and innovative techniques. At age 18, he started his bartending journey and is now a principal bartender at Gold Cash Gold. He was recently named one of the best Detroit bartenders in 2016 for Thrillist Detroit.
15 oz. brandy
15 oz. port
1 gallon apple cider
6 oz. lemon juice
6 allspice berries
6 black peppercorns
3 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
1 piece of grated ginger
1 lemon’s worth of peels
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
Combine all ingredients on the stovetop over low heat and gently simmer for 30-45 minutes. Strain and serve with grated nutmeg on top.
Rum Forest Rum
From Will Lee
This aromatic concoction will easily warm you up on a chilly winter night. From the sweetness of the vanilla and spiciness from the bitters to the silky texture and scent, this rich cocktail is hard to resist. For Will Lee, “Rum Forest Rum” defines the holiday season.
Will previously was seen behind the bar at Standby, Wright & Co. and Antietam. After years of hard work, he has fulfilled his longtime dream as part-owner, beverage director and proud bartender at the highly acclaimed Grey Ghost restaurant. During the holidays, he looks forward to spending extra time with his family.
1.5 oz. aged rum (Plantation Dark)
0.5 oz. cinnamon Demerara syrup
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tbsp. butter
4 oz. warm apple cider
For the cinnamon Demerara syrup:
16 oz. Demerara syrup
8 oz. water
2 hard cinnamon sticks
First, prepare the Cinnamon Demerara syrup by adding ingredients into a pot. Bring to a simmer, continuously stirring. Lightly heat until everything is dissolved. Let steep with the lid on for one hour. Remove cinnamon sticks and store in the fridge. To prepare the cocktail, add the Cinnamon Demerara syrup plus the remaining ingredients into a tempered glass and garnish with cinnamon.
Sugar Berry Yule
From Ben Wright
Ben is a huge proponent of cocktail and food pairings. The earthy and sweet notes in the “Sugar Berry Yule” balances out the flavors in his family’s famous orange hoisin lamb chops. While digesting a filling holiday meal, Ben and his family play a few rounds of “Pig,” a simple dice game that results in plenty of laughs.
At The Fed, Ben is always having a good time behind the bar, often experimenting with eclectic beverage and food pairings for brunch and dinner guests.
4 crushed cranberries
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
¾ oz. Aperol
1½ oz. Bombay Sapphire gin
½ sprig of thyme
Muddle thyme with the bitters. Next, add the remainder of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Dry shake first, then add ice and shake again. Double strain and pour into glasses. An optional garnish of candied cranberries and a fresh sprig of thyme creates the perfect finish.