Without a little initiative, holiday parties have a tendency to blend together. If you hope to set your own Christmas bash apart this year, offering a distinct, homemade cocktail is one way to do it.
For some guidance we turned to three notable bartenders across the South for their holiday cocktail recommendations.
Alexis Soler and Ben Clemons, owners of the Nashville bar No. 308:
1 oz Fernet Branca (an Italian liqueur)
1 egg white
¾ oz dry Curaçao
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz simple syrup
Shake vigorously with ice and double-strain into an embassy glass. Add a few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters and garnish with a mint sprig.
“The Fernet Branca adds a menthol flavor, and the egg white gives it a nice consistency, frothiness and is reminiscent of egg nog,” Ben said. “The bitters and mint sprig serve to lighten the intensity of the Fernet Branca and the smell of the egg white, as well as to brighten the cocktail with the traditional red and green color palette of Christmas.”
Ben Edgerton and Andrew Wiseheart of Austin’s Contigo:
Branca-Menta Hot Chocolate
Warm a mug with hot water. Discard the water. Build in mug:
1 ½ oz Branca-Menta
5 oz Mexican hot chocolate
Top with a couple of bar spoons of whipped cream made with Fernet-Branca. Garnish with a mint leaf.
2 oz Prunier VS cognac
¾ oz Leopold Bros. Three Pins Alpine liqueur
2 dashes Bitter Truth lemon
2 dashes Regans’ orange bitters
Stir all ingredients with ice, then strain contents over a large chunk of fresh ice. Garnish with a swath of orange peel.
“A classy choice that is reminiscent of great winter drinks like the Stinger or the Rusty Nail. This bold and semi-sweet choice is the ideal way of shaking off the cold.”