In honour of all of those Christmas office parties cluttering up your social calendar this month, we’re celebrating inappropriate boozy get togethers with our ultimate Mad Men-stlye booze fest and the 5 Days of Cocktails! These are our favourite cocktails to celebrate the end of the year. Some drinks we have all year-round and others, like the County Nog, we only bring out for Christmas parties when we’re pining for spiced Christmas flavours.
For those not accustomed to especially boozy cocktails (I prefer mine to come in at 3 ounces), here is a little reminder of restraint coming from Dorothy Parker:
“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I’m under the table,
after four I’m under my host.”
With that out of the way, let’s get on to the party!
Eggnog enthusiasts have all but ruined eggnog for everyone else. To them it either has to be a heavy custard affair that’s more appropriately eaten with a spoon or it’s the cartons of the prefab stuff, sometimes without booze and even worse, though I admire their greedy-passion for it, steamed into their morning latte.
When I think of drinking eggnog, I think it’s got to be cold, boozy and in small doses so that it leaves me wanting more. It’s what to drink when you’re not really feeling like Christmas because of it’s powerful ability to evoke the Christmas spirit. It’s what Clark Griswold pours into his Christmas moose mug in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation and is the iconic drink for taking people past the point of Christmas cheer and into something a bit merrier. This Christmas sipper is for the well-intentioned Christmas romantic.
This recipe is based almost exactly on a recipe that appeared in the Globe and Mail two years ago and it comes from one of Toronto’s best mixologists, Aja Sax, currently bar manager of The Huntsman Tavern. It was created while she was working at The County General restaurant, hence the name “County Nog”.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 1/2 oz bourbon (I use Bulleit)
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
3/4 oz Earl Grey tea, steeped and cooled
1/2 oz cinnamon simple syrup
1 egg yolk
dash of Scrappy’s cardamom bitters (optional)
whole nutmeg for grating
In a shaker add the bourbon, Grand Marnier, Earl Grey tea, cinnamon syrup, egg yolk and bitters. Shake for 10 seconds, then add ice to fill the shaker and shake for an additional 20 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and using a microplane or other fine grater, grate the nutmeg over the top for a garnish.
Cinnamon Simple Syrup
makes 500ml syrup
250ml cold water
250g granulated sugar
1 cinnamon stick
Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring a little to ensure the sugar dissolves evenly. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, remove from the heat and cover for 20 minutes to allow the cinnamon to further infuse into the syrup. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator and use within 1 month.