It’s time to start thinking about the perfect Holiday party.
Think about holly and mistletoe, evergreen wreaths and poinsettias.
Think about fat Yule logs crackling in the fireplace.
Think about ornamented fir trees towering over a company of good friends.
Think about those friends, hoisting cocktails, clinking glasses, and making memorable toasts under the lights.
You know what you need to make those toasts even more memorable?
Good Holiday cocktails. Yes, because there is nothing like a good drink shared with better friends.
And what could be better than cocktails made entirely from the best wine, ale and spirits produced here in California?
Here are the best Made in California Holiday Cocktails.
#5 California Apple-Ale Wassail
How many of you have ever sang or heard “Here We Come A-wassailing” at Christmas and never had the slightest idea what “a-wassailing” was? Well, back in Merry Old Southern England, the Christmas spirit tended to make the rich more charitable. This charity often came in the form of a cup ladled from a Wassail Bowl filled with rich, hot cider, or Wassail, made from local apples, ale, and spices. To earn a hot drink from the local Baron’s Wassail bowl on a cold winter’s night all you had to do was sing a song of good, holiday cheer (hence the “A-wassailing” carol). For those who want to experience the California version of “A-wassailing,” serve this “California Apple-Ale Wassail” at your next Holiday party.
–2 bottles of AleSmith Nut Brown Ale
–1 ½ cups of Ficklin Vineyards Old Vine Madera Tinta Port
–2 ½ cups of Apple Cider
–1 Cup of Lemonade
–1 Cup Sugar
–1 Sunkist Orange, sliced
–1 Sunkist Lemon, sliced
–1 California Gala Apple, diced
–2 Whole All Spice
–3 Cinnamon Sticks
–6 Whole Cloves
#4 Holiday Mojito
Bring a little of Havana, Cuba to Los Angeles this Christmas with the holiday version of one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drinks, a drink that once saved a small fleet. According to legend, there was an outbreak of scurvy and dysentery aboard Sir Francis Drake’s ships as they rounded the Cuban coast. Sir Francis, desperate for medicine, sent a small boarding party ashore. The boarding party came back with a locally brewed concoction of rum, mint, and sugarcane juice that saved the sick crew. Add some excellent California Rum and anti-oxidant rich pomegranate juice to the mix and you are sure to cure even the dullest of Holiday parties with this drink.
–1 oz. fresh lime juice
–1 oz. fresh pineapple juice
–1 oz. fresh pomegranate juice
–10 fresh mint leaves
–3 oz. of St. George’s California Agricole Rum
–4 oz. soda water
–1 mint sprig
–1 lime wedge
–2 tsp. pomegranate seeds
#3 Cranberry Cocktail with Sparkling Wine
Who says a Christmas cocktail has to be complicated? To make this simple and classic drink, buy a good bottle of Frank Family Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine, drop six dried cranberries into a champagne flute and then pour ¾ of a cup of chilled wine over the berries. This wine is sure to make your office or holiday party Champagne Chic and classic in two simple steps.
#2 Winter Sangria
Sangria isn’t just for summer celebrations, especially for those of us lucky enough to live in Southern California. They say this drink was what the Roman Army substituted for water during their Spanish campaigns over 2,000 years ago. If you are thirsty and need a drink to cool those mild December nights, make sure your Sangria combines good California Zinfandel and Brandy with fresh, local fruit. Here is our recipe: simply combine all of these ingredients in a large pitcher and enjoy with good company.
–1 Bottle of Saucelito Canyon Zinfandel
— ¼ cup of Germain-Robin Brandy
–Fresh juice from 2 Blood Oranges
–Fresh juice from 2 limes
— ¼ cup sugar
–1 California Gala Apple, cored and cut into wedges
–1 Cinnamon Stick
#1 Classic Eggnog
Of course it had to be Eggnog, the quintessential holiday cocktail. In the noble ballrooms of 17th Century Europe, this would have been the drink of choice to toast the holidays. Over the years, everyone seemed to have a singular version of this classic drink. Even George Washington. His Eggnog recipe, perhaps the very thing that allowed him to survive that cold campaign winter in Valley Forge, used rye whiskey, sherry and rum. While we do not recommend General and President Washington’s recipe, here is an Eggnog recipe built for 20, one sure to bring all of your party guests together next to the Christmas Tree.
–1 cup sugar
— ¼ tsp. salt
–2 tsp. vanilla
–1 ½ cups milk
–2 ½ cups of Germain-Robin Brandy
–Fresh grated nutmeg
1. Beat egg yolks, ½ cup sugar, nutmeg, salt and vanilla together until thick and light yellow.
2. Gradually beat in brandy.
3. Cover and chill overnight.
4. Right before serving, beat the egg whites till they form soft peaks.
5. Beat in the remaining ½ cup of sugar forming soft peaks again and a thick, meringue-like cream.
6. Pour and gently fold this meringue-cream over a chilled brandy mixture.
7. Serve the eggnog in an Irish Coffee Glass, grating fresh nutmeg over the top.
Reindeer Lemonade Mocktail (Bonus Recipe)
Imagine combining charitable giving and refreshing holiday lemonade in one child-friendly drink. Our Reindeer Lemonade is not only delicious, but is made with California’s own Make-a-Stand Lemonade, a social impact brand founded on one child’s vision to end child slavery around the world. To make our Reindeer Lemonade and to support an important global cause, simply combine 64 oz. of Make-a-Stand Lemonade with 8 oz. of fresh cranberry juice and a ¼ cup of frozen cranberries in a punch bowl or pitcher.