Baked goods and cheerful decor aside, spectacular holiday cocktails help to make the season bright. ‘Tis the season to take your at-home, or at-party, bartending skills to the next level. After all, this is the time of year we look for more ways to show our loved ones we care, which can be done with a lovingly crafted cocktail.
Latest Cocktail Trends
To ensure we’re all up to date on the latest cocktail trends, just in time for the holiday season, we’ve spoken with Jeff Muldoon, the beverage manager at The Grove Resort & Spa Orlando, one of Orlando’s newest, family-centric resorts
According to Jeff’s expertise in the beverage department, these are some of the hottest holiday cocktail trends to try on for size.
1. Craft Cocktails With a Story
Drinkers increasingly want a story behind their cocktails, and mixologists are responding by utilizing local spirits and ancient recipes or creating bespoke cocktails to match the drinker’s own recent experiences.
2. Get Maple With it
Maple has been a beloved flavor in cuisine for centuries, but in cocktails, the possibilities have only begun! Maple syrup pairs deliciously well with whiskey in particular, but creativity is encouraged. For some truly inspired maple cocktail ideas, enjoy this article. For a mouth-watering recipe, refer to the bottom of this article.
3. Bacon Steals The Show, Again
Always one for the limelight, bacon has decided to grace cocktails with its savory presence. Bacon as a garnish in Bloody Marys and Manhattans. Bacon paired with maple syrup to make a drink that deserves a spot at brunch. Some truly innovative souls discovered how to form a piece of bacon into a straw. Yes, a straw. Aunt Ellen may never see you quite the same way after you hand her a cocktail with a bacon straw.
4. Get Fresh, Raw, Earthy
More than ever in recent decades, people are obsessed with fresh! This trend is quickly translating into fresh herbs, spices, and even veggies in cocktails. If your cocktail is vegan, then even better. In all seriousness, infusing rhubarb, basil, blueberries, mint, cucumber, honeydew, you name it, and there’s a drink it will taste fantastic in.
5. Add Artistic Ice
Mixologists across the globe have been taking cocktail ice to a whole new level. We’re talking a block of ice, a hammer, and a chisel, resulting in ice art. In your glass. This may or may not be realistic for a cocktail at your family’s holiday party, but there are some fantastic, festive shaped ice trays on Sur La Table.
6. Bring the Balance – Sweet + Savory
Balance is important in all areas of life. Work-life balance is crucial, but perhaps not as crucial as the perfect sweet and savory balance in your holiday cocktails. Garnishes help to balance out an ultra sweet or ultra savory cocktail. Just think, fruit to sweeten something on the more sour side, and herbs to help savor something on the sweeter side.
Practice makes perfect when it comes to holiday bartending, and we’ve got a few holiday cocktail recipes ready for you to try on! Impress your friends and family this season, and introduce everyone to the latest cocktail trends! Happy holidays!
Maple & Sage Gin Cream
- 2 oz Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin
- 1-ounce pure maple syrup
- ¾ ounce lemon juice
- ½ ounce heavy cream
Muddle two sage leaves in a mixing tin. Grate nutmeg over mixing tin. Add all ingredients and ice. Shake vigorously and fine strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a sage leaf.
Smoked Maple Bacon Manhattan
- 2 oz Bacon-infused bourbon or rye whiskey
- 2 Dashes of Angostura Aromatic Bitters
- 1/2 oz Sweet vermouth
- 1/2 oz Tippleman Barrel Smoked Maple Syrup (if not available, substitute 1/2 oz of genuine maple syrup)
- 1 Navel orange peel
- 1 Luxardo Cherry
Place ice in the mixing glass and add bitters, bacon-infused bourbon, sweet vermouth and maple syrup. Stir the cocktail in the mixing glass. Using a julep strainer, strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a luxardo cherry and an orange peel. An added level of smokiness would be to place cocktail in a smoke box and smoke with hickory chips. It adds a new depth to the beverage and brings a show to the drinker.
Campfire S’mores Martini
- 1 ½ Titos
- 1 ½ Godiva liquor
- ½ crème de cacao
- ¼ Baileys
- ¼ whipped cream
- ¼ vanilla Monin
Combine all ingredients in a mixing tin with ice. Shake vigorously. Swirl chocolate syrup in the martini glass and full rim of graham cracker crumbs. Strain ingredients into the martini glass. Cut a marshmallow in half and place in martini glass and torch. Set martini in the smoke box and smoke for 20 seconds.