If you are looking for a way to spruce up your annual holiday party or cookie exchange, cocktails are a great way to warm up the crowd. Be sure to have the right sized glasses, martini shakers and lots of ice. If your holiday cocktail menu needs a little help above and beyond store-bought eggnog, here are a few recipes from Denver and Colorado mixologists and distillers to get you started.
Four Seasons Edge Candy Cane Cooler
The EDGE is making a list of naughty and nice holiday cocktails. In addition to this Candy Cane Cooler, the bar will offer two Haute Chocolates. One is the Naughty or Nice with Ballagio hot cocoa, Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka, Baileys Irish Cream and a squeeze of caramel. The other is the Snow Bird with lavender-infused Ballagio white chocolate, Stoli Chocolat Kokonut and finished with Frangelico.
Makes one drink
- 1.5 ounces mint-infused vodka
- 1 tablespoon crushed candy cane or peppermint candy
- 0.5 ounces B&B liqueur (Brandy and Benedictine)
- 0.5 ounces half-and-half
- In a martini shaker, break up the candy cane into pieces.
- Add vodka, B&B, half-and-half and ice.
- Shake really well to infuse with the candy cane flavor.
- Strain over ice into a glass with ice.
- Garnish with a peppermint stick
Four Seasons Hotel
1114 14th St.
Denver, CO 80202
The Brown Palace Manhattan with Honey-Infused Bourbon
If you order this cocktail at The Brown Palace, it’s as true to Colorado as one can get. It is made with Breckenridge Bourbon and honey straight from the hotel’s own hives. Mixologists infuse the bourbon with honey for 24 days, but if you don’t have the time, you can buy one already infused such as Evan Williams Honey Reserve.
Makes one drink
- 2 ounces Honey Bourbon
- 0.25 ounces sweet vermouth
- 0.25 ounces simple syrup
- 3 dashes orange bitters
- Bourbon-soaked cherries
- In a martini shaker, muddle one bourbon-soaked cherry.
- Add all other ingredients with ice. Stir about 30 times.
- Strain into a martini glass.
- Garnish with a bourbon-soaked cherry.
The Brown Palace Hotel
321 17th St.
Denver, CO 80202
Chef Anderson’s Sweet Tequila Squeeze
If you are hosting a cookie swap night, this is the perfect cocktail to get the evening going. This cocktail recipe by Chef Jeff Anderson, Safeway’s executive chef, is a perfect blend of sweet and spicy. It boasts a serrano chili kick that will match up perfectly with sweets without begin too overpowering. Anderson pairs this cocktail with a chocolate chip, coconut and pecan cookie.
Makes two drinks
- 4 ounces tequila
- 2 tablespoons wild flower honey
- 4 slices serrano chili
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 4 ounces orange juice
- 12 ounces tonic water
- Crushed ice
- 2 lime wedges
- In a tall shaker, add tequila, honey, chili, sugar, lime juice and orange juice.
- Muddle the ingredients to release the juices. Add tonic water and shake well.
- Place ice in glasses and pour over the ice.
- Garnish with lime wedges.
Related: Top Spots For Hot Drinks In Denver
Kimberly Lord Stewart is a food author and journalist for CBS Denver local, Organic Food Reporter for Examiner.com, and the Food, Wine and Spirits editor for Denver Life magazine. Her book, “Eating Between the Lines” tells readers about the truth and myths of food labeling. Stewart is the recipient of two Association of Food Journalist awards for food news reporting and the Jessie Neal Business Journalism award. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.