Okay, so we’ve handed out our Halloween candy, jumped on the #pumpkinspiceeverything train, feasted on turkey and all the accompanying carbs… that means we are officially in the throes of the holiday season. Things are about to get real. Here are some of my favorite adult beverages to help get you through the next few weeks with a smile.
Spiked Apple Cider
For warming up after (or during) a nice chilly walk around your neighborhood to look at Christmas lights
- 1.5 oz. of Jameson (You could use a different whiskey but really, why would you? Jameson for the win!)
- 6 oz. hot apple cider (I like Simply Apple Juice or even easier, use the Apple Cider pods for the Keurig)
- Sip and walk
For when you’re (willingly) watching Christmas Vacation/Home Alone/Elf/White Christmas/Charlie Brown Christmas for the millionth time
- 1.5 oz. Bailey’s (Please, for the love, do not buy generic cream liqueur. It’s terrible)
- 0.5 oz. Smirnoff Peppermint Twist Vodka (This is limited edition for the holidays and it’s amazing!)
- 6 oz. your favorite coffee (My personal fav – Tully’s Hawaiian Blend)
- Sip and laugh/sing/cry along with your favorite holiday characters
Holiday Cocktails For The Group
These should each make about 6 servings… depending on how heavy-handed you are with the ladle. Both can be easily doubled to make a larger batch.
For when you’re feeling extra fancy – pinkies up!
- 1 bottle Champagne or Prosecco (I love LaMarca Prosecco)
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier (or triple sec)
- 1 cup pear nectar (aka juice)
- 1 1/2 cups cranberry or pomegranate juice (or a combo)
- Combine all ingredients in a pitcher or punch bowl
- Pour into champagne flutes
Mulled Red Wine
For when you want your house to smell amazing and get a good solid buzz. This one takes a little more prep but it is worth it, trust me!
- 1 bottle medium-full bodied dry red wine (i.e. Zinfandel, Cabernet)
- 1/2 cup brandy (or Grand Marnier if you really like citrus)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 orange – cut into wedges
- 1 cup of cranberries (Fresh or frozen, NOT dried lol)
- 8-10 cloves – pushed into the peel of the orange wedges (This is so you can remove them easily and not swallow them whole by accident!)
- Dash of nutmeg
- Dash of cinnamon (or 2-3 cinnamon sticks if you’re really channeling your inner Martha Stewart)
- Add all ingredients to large saucepan
- Heat over medium-high until just at a simmer (Don’t let it boil – that will burn off the alcohol and completely devastate me!)
- Reduce to low for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Strain out orange wedges/cloves (You can leave in the cranberries or strain them too, dealer’s choice.)
- Serve warm in coffee mugs or glasses
Need something in a HURRY? No mixing required…
- Cupcake Wines – my go-to wine. I love the Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon
- Trader Joes Coastal Chardonnay and Cabernet – judge not, my friends. It is pretty darn good and less than $6 a bottle. Budgeting is very important, especially this time of year!
- Bota Box Wines – Sometimes you just need wine straight from the tap. Like when you forget, until the night before, that you’re supposed to bring (aka make) food for a potluck/holiday party/bake sale the next day or when your kid gets an ear infection/strep/pink eye AGAIN. Seriously though, box wine has come a long way. They have 3L, 1.5L and even individual sized “mama juice boxes” (equivalent to about 3 glasses).
Beer – good and strong, it’s the craziest best time of the year … don’t mess around with boring light beer!
- Local Faves
- Four Peaks Kiltlifter – Scottish-Style Ale. 6% ABV. 21 IBU. It is a full-bodied ale with strong caramel and roasted barley flavors. Notice its amber color, malty sweetness and a hint of smokiness with a clean, dry finish – a true Scottish Ale. A six-time GABF medal winner!
- Phoenix Ale Brewery Camelback IPA – English Style IPA. 6.1% ABV. 60 IBU. A well rounded India Pale Ale brewed to create a complex malty taste with fruity flavor and aroma from the English yeast. Hop character includes a spicy herbal & earthy bitterness typical of the style. To finish it is dry hopped with Cascade for a floral citrus hop aroma.
- Oak Creek Nut Brown Ale – English Brown Ale. 5.5% ABV. 30 IBU. This northern Arizona favorite has a consistent nutty flavor with just a hint of spice in its depths.
- San Tan Devil’s Ale – American Pale Ale. 5.5% ABV. 45 IBU. Cascade, Centennial and Simcoe hops provide fiendishly aromatic pine and citrus flavors.
- Huss Brewing Scottsdale Blonde – German Style Kölsch. 4.7% ABV. 16 IBU. Brewed similar to a lager, this local favorite is HUSS Brewing’s flagship beer. Crisp, light, and refreshing with a slightly sweet finish.
- Local Faves