It’s a little easier to spread happiness and cheer when there are some yuletide spirits in your glass. Xpress asked two of Asheville’s finest barkeeps to provide recipes for craft cocktails that home bartenders can make this holiday season. Donnie Pratt of Cucina 24 offers a hot rum, gin and apricot tiki toddy to keep you warm under the cold glare of Aunt Matilda while you unwrap those gifts. And Courtney Nelson of Post 70 Indulgence Bar at Filo has whipped up a chocolaty cognac fizz for those looking to add a little airiness to the celebration. I have contributed a nice, kitschy, ice-cold Collins riff for those looking to escape the heat of Uncle Albert’s political rants.
Banda Island toddy
by Donnie Pratt of Cucina 24
1 ounce dark Jamaican rum (such as Coruba)
3/4 ounce Beefeater 24 gin
1/4 ounce apricot liqueur (we use Rothman & Winter)
1/4 ounce lemon syrup (see recipe below)
2 dashes aromatic bitters (I use Orinoco bitters, but Angostura would work)
1 dash mace tincture (see recipe below)
3 ounces hot water
Fresh lemon peel
Add all ingredients to a fancy glass with a handle and grate nutmeg on top. Express the oils from a lemon peel over the drink and discard the peel.
2 ½ ounces Everclear
1 ¼ ounces distilled water
1 ounce whole mace (30 grams by weight)
Mix ingredients together; let sit for five days. Strain and bottle.
Peel six lemons, put the peels in a bowl and cover with cane sugar. Let rest for an hour. Juice the lemons to get 1 cup of juice. Gently heat the lemon juice in a saucepan not quite to a boil and stir in a scant cup of cane sugar. Add the sugared lemon peels and mix until they are incorporated and the sugar is dissolved. Strain and bottle.
Caught Under the Mistletoe
by Courtney Nelson of Post 70 Indulgence Bar
1 ½ ounces Salignac cognac
3/4 ounce Campari
1 egg white
1 ounce heavy cream
3/4 ounce cranberry juice
3/4 ounce chocolate syrup (you can make your own, but using store-bought would be acceptable as well)
1/4 ounce simple syrup (see instructions below)
Combine all ingredients in a shaking tin and shake without ice for about a minute. Add some ice and hard-shake those ingredients again. Using a bar strainer, strain the ingredients off the ice and give them one more good shake. This will give you a frothy and delicious dessert beverage that is sure to please all of your holiday guests and perhaps introduce them to an egg-white cocktail.
Dissolve equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan at a slow boil.
If We Make It Through December
by Jonathan Ammons
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce candy-cane syrup
Dash of Peychaud’s bitters
Combine gin, Campari, candy-cane syrup and bitters in a stirring glass or shaker. Fill with ice and stir gently until ingredients are mixed and glass or shaker has frosted. Strain into a Collins glass on the rocks and top with club soda. Using the back of a spoon pressed firmly against the inside wall of the glass near the waterline, pour the absinthe in slowly to create a nice layer of green across the top of the cocktail.
12 standard-sized candy canes
1 cup water
Boil the water and break up the candy canes, adding them to the boiling water. Cover and boil until candy canes are completely dissolved. The resulting mixture should be a nice cherry-red color. If you’d rather not use candy canes, equal parts raw cane sugar and water with a handful of spearmint leaves will also do the trick and be delicious, but it will mess up the whole festive red color scheme and kitsch factor of the drink.