12 Drinks of Christmas: Part 1

'Tis the season for entertaining and being entertained. No need to limit yourself or your guests to beer, wine and the standard martinis, Manhattans and Cosmos when serving up cocktails. Not when there is such a rich heritage of cocktails in the American archives of mixology.

Beginning today, and running for three more days, I'll be sharing a trio of drink recipes each day, with enough time after the final one for you to be sure you have the ingredients on hand for the Christmas-New Year's party crush. Here's the initial cocktail.


This recipe was created to honor the odd mix of Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise in the offbeat 1999 movie of the same name. The disparate ingredients are colorful and pleasing in combination, and certainly festive.

½ ounce Southern Comfort peach liqueur
½ ounce Crown Royal Canadian whiskey
½ ounce amaretto almond liqueur
½ ounce orange juice
½ ounce pineapple juice
½ ounce cranberry juice
Splash of grenadine syrup

Place ice in shaker and add all ingredients. Shake well and strain into  cocktail glass filled with ice. Garnish with orange slice and cherry.


This drink has a name that smacks of colonial America. And with good reason. The origin of this concoction dates to as early as 1732.  It is the official drink of what purports to be the oldest club in America, the Schuylkill Fishing Company, founded by Philadelphians with a  love of fishing.

2 parts dark Jamaica rum
1 part cognac
½ part peach-flavored brandy
1 part fresh lemon juice
1 to 1½ parts (to taste) simple syrup
2 parts (more or less, to taste) water

Stir  with ice and serve in a punch cup. If you make it in bulk, do so in a  sizable punchbowl with a large block of ice. You may decorate the punch  with thin slices of lemon.


For the apple-cinnamon vodka infusion:

1 750 ml bottle of vodka
3 cinnamon sticks
4 red apples (any kind you like; organic are best)
1 doughnut hole

Put cinnamon sticks and vodka in air-tight container or jar, seal. Let soak for a few days, then wash, seed and quarter the apples and put them into the cinnamon vodka. Leave it refrigerated for four days, then strain into an empty bottle. Infusion will keep for up to a week refrigerated.

For the cocktail:

5 ounces apple-cinnamon vodka
2 ounces fresh apple cider
1 ounce simple syrup

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well, strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a mini regular doughnut or cinnamon doughnut hole on the rim.

(Note: To make simple syrup, put equal parts sugar and water in saucepan, heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Chill.)

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