Holiday season is upon us, and I am ready for you, Mariah Carey. While everyone’s holiday plans look different this year, we here at The News-Letter have got you covered! We’re offering our favorite cocktails to enjoy over the next few months, regardless of which holidays you’re celebrating... provided you’re 21+.
Spiked apple cider, Rudy Malcom, Editor-in-Chief
This summer, my friend and I ventured into Eddie’s Liquors in search of the quirkiest beverage we could find. We ended up buying Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka, which we mixed with apple juice — the only beverage besides water I had in my apartment because I am mentally 3 years old. Substitute apple juice with apple cider to get into the spirit of autumn/winter (the season seems to change every day). Mix one part vodka, two parts apple cider. (If that’s too sweet for you, add in a splash or three of Sprite.) Within a few sips, you will feel like a woodland spirit.
Gin & tonic, Elizabeth Raphael, Staff Writer
I would classify G&T’s as the first grown-up drink that I’ve enjoyed so far. I think I originally ordered a gin and tonic to seem sophisticated with my boyfriend’s fancy parents at a restaurant where I couldn’t pronounce anything on the wine list, and I was pleasantly surprised by my choice. It’s just bitter enough not to go down too easily. This drink manages to take two elements that are, in my opinion, quite frankly rather gross on their own and create something delightful. Given the simple recipe, it’s a beverage that I am actually able to make on my own without making some atomic Sprite-vodka combination. I especially recommend the pricier Fever-Tree Tonic Water and the cheaper Beefeater Gin, made more enjoyable by the name Beefeater.
Bloody Mary, Laura Wadsten, Opinions Editor
Do you love tomatoes or have fond memories of eating tomato soup as a kid? Just add vodka for an awesome drink that doubles as a snack. With Bloody Mary’s, the possibilities are endless. Perfect for brunch or 5 o’clock, this boozy cold soup can be as simple or extravagant as your heart desires. Many restaurants offer Loaded Bloody Mary’s that truly qualify as a meal, but they’re just as good with a simple celery stick or pickle spear to garnish. Nobody will accuse you of being pretentious if you order a Bloody Mary at brunch, but they might look at you a bit strange if you’re under 50. You shouldn’t care though — you’re unbothered, sipping the timeless combination of tomatoes and vodka.
Spiked hot chocolate, Matthew Ritchie, Sports Editor & Ariella Shua, Managing Editor
Ritchie: To me, there’s nothing more comforting in the cold weather than a perfectly crafted hot chocolate. The drink embodies coziness, surrounding me in a bubble of warmth and positivity with each sip. And just to give it a little kick during the holidays, I like to liberally add Baileys Irish Cream and top it off with a nice dollop of whipped cream. This covert cocktail is perfect for late nights watching movies or weekend mornings as you take walks in the brisk air.
Shua: My body temperature feels like it’s below freezing any time the weather outside dips below 70 degrees. That means I spend most of the fall and winter wrapped in warm sweaters, fuzzy socks and fleece blankets while drinking hot chocolate. The classic drink is great on its own. But some nights, hot chocolate just needs a bit more than milk and marshmallows. Add some nice liqueur into the mix in order to perfect it.
Step one: Heat up some hot chocolate. Swiss Miss with the little marshmallows is always a good choice.
Step two: Add one of two options depending on the mood. A shot of Baileys Irish Cream offers a more coffee-like flavor, fitting if you’re going for a relaxed mood. A shot of tequila — I like Jose Cuervo, but any brand will do — kicks the drink up a notch in the opposite direction.
Step three: Add whipped cream or dip some chocolate cookies in for some extra sweetness.
Mimosa, Sabrina Abrams, Leisure Editor
Grab yourself a personal bottle of André and add a few dashes of orange juice in a classy plastic champagne glass. Congrats, you’ve got yourself a mimosa. Mimosas are dollops of absolute sunshine; they taste like Spring Fair and darties and lacrosse games. And in the short days of holiday season, I love the taste of sunshine, feeling nostalgic for warmer days and knowing that spring is only a couple months down the road. Delicious, and dare I say chock-full of vitamin C to ward off seasonal colds (okay, they are not full of vitamin C), mimosas are an impeccable delight any weekend of the year. Just be careful to pace yourself — the taste can be misleading. And if you want to treat yourself, you can always take it up a notch with a pricier bottle of champagne. André, however, is definitely the people’s choice.
Vin chaud, Katy Wilner, Editor-in-Chief
This time last year, a few friends came to visit me in Paris, where I was studying abroad. We wandered the Christmas market in the Jardin des Tuileries, with the wind biting at our noses and our fingers too numb to work. Eagerly, we bought glasses of steaming hot mulled wine; clutching them to our chests, we slowly regained feeling in our hands. The smell of vin chaud still reminds me of that market and how happy I was; luckily, it’s not all that hard to make here at home. All you need is a few cinnamon sticks, star anise and cloves (if you don’t have these you can substitute pumpkin pie spice), citrus fruit and cheap, sweet red wine. In a large pot on low heat, combine the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves and peels of the citrus fruit (you can also put in slices of the fruit itself). The heat will help bring out these flavors. Then, add as much sweet red wine to the pot as you like. Let it simmer until the wine is steaming (not boiling), strain and enjoy!