12 Drinks of Christmas: Part 4

'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. This is the final trio of recipes, leaving you enough time to be sure you have the ingredients on hand for the Christmas-New Year’s party crush.


During my travels, I've stayed at some historic hotels in various countries and tried their signature drinks. My favorite comes from the Seelbach Hilton Hotel in Louisville, KY.

The Seelbach is one of the South's "golden age" luxury hotels, opened in 1905 and since then host to nine American presidents and innumerable dignitaries. The stunning ambiance of the place, awash with oak and marble and gilded surfaces, inspired F. Scott Fitzgerald to use the hotel as the backdrop for Tom and Daisy Buchanan's wedding in "The Great Gatsby."

4 ounces quality champagne
1½ ounces bourbon
½ ounce triple sec
7 dashes Peychaud bitters
7 dashes Angostura bitters

Add bourbon, bitters, and triple sec first. Fill rest of glass with champagne. Garnish with orange twist, serve in a champagne flute.


One of the nicest new spirits to come on the market in the past few years is G'Vine, the French grape gin distilled in the Cognac region. (See my Tasting Notes entry here.) Michael McDonagh, beverage director at Fisherman's Wharf-adjacent bar/club The Parlor in San Francisco has come up with a cocktail featuring it.

2 ounces G'Vine Gin
½ ounce Dimmi Italian liqueur
4 lemon slices
¼ ounce simple syrup
5 drops La tourment Vert Absinthe

Muddle lemon slices with simple syrup in a mixing glass. Add gin & Dimmi. Fill with ice. Shake and fine strain into cocktail glass. Drop absinthe over the cocktail. Garnish with lemon twist.


This luscious concoction comes, via the pages of Wine Enthusiast magazine, from the island of Jost Van Dyke, in the British Virgin Islands. It was dreamed up at the Soggy Dollar Bar. It also is popular on tourist-rich Tortola -- using the locally-made Pusser's Rum, especially during the 4-6 p.m. happy hour at the Bananakeet Café.

2 ounces Pusser's dark rum
1 ounce cream of coconut
4 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce orange juice

Blend rum with juices and coconut and serve over the rocks. Top with freshly grated nutmeg.

To Dowd's Wine Notebook latest entry.
To Dowd's Tasting Notes latest entry.
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