4 FOOLPROOF HOLIDAY COCKTAILS + OUR BAR CART ESSENTIALS
We’re just going to come right out and say it: the holidays would be a whole lot harder to handle without a nice cocktail or glass of wine in hand. Grandma asking too many questions about your personal life? Grab an Old Fashioned! Dinner conversation already turning political? Time for another! Even if you’re simply hosting a gift exchange with friends before the big event, it’s always nice to have a fun drink in hand to help you celebrate the holiday season.
Just in time for all of your December drink requirements, here are a few of our go-to holiday cocktails that are totally foolproof — plus some necessary bar cart essentials to keep you stocked up from now until New Year’s. All local of course.
Holiday Cocktail Recipes
It may not technically be a “holiday” cocktail, but the sweet, rich flavor of an Old Fashioned always tastes better in the wintertime. To create your own Don Draper-approved Old Fashioned, all it takes is some nice Wigle bourbon, bitters, sugar and seltzer. Mix it all up in a short tumbler, then add in a fancy big ice cube.
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If a spicy ginger mule is your go-to warm weather drink, you’ll love this festive take on it for the holidays. The vodka, locally made Jamacia’s Finest ginger beer and lime juice all stay the same, but you’ll also add cranberry juice and a few fresh cranberries to give it a wintery flavor — plus a bright red garnish that makes it seem like it took a whole lot more effort than it really did.
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Looking for a way to keep everyone’s glass filled in one simple step? Whip up a big batch of this holiday sangria from Pittsburgh-based blogger Inspired by Charm. Fill a slow cooker with a light-bodied red wine, add in brandy, cranberry juice and simple syrup, and then top it off with orange slices and cranberries with cinnamon sticks for flavor. This one is especially great if you’re not exactly a whiz in the kitchen, as it means your Crock Pot will already be free!
What’s the difference between egg nog and really good egg nog? The quality of the ingredients, of course. We recommend Organic Valley Egg Nog (which is always at the top of “best egg nog” lists) or making your own from a reliable recipe. Then just stir in as much Maggie’s Farm Rum as you like (or as much as your holiday stress level requires).
Your Perfectly Stocked Local Holiday Bar Cart
While the standard bar cart may not include everything you’ll need to make more elaborate drinks, it should include the essentials you’ll need for classic cocktails. From supplies for gin and tonics to gimlets, these are the staples that every good bar cart should contain and where you can get them locally
- x 1 bottle Body & Blair (Pennsylvania Libations)
- x 1 bottle Big Springs 7 Governors Gin (Pennsylvania Libations)
- x 1 bottle Wigle Organic Pennsylvania Bourbon
- x 1 bottle Maggie’s Farm 50/50 Dark Rum…its eggnog season after all
- x Sweet vermouth
- x Dry vermouth
- x Angostura bitters
- x A couple bottles of wine from Market Street Grocery (rose + montepulciano)
- x A couple six packs from your favorite local brewer
- x Tonic water
- x Club soda…we love the extra bubbly locally made Red Ribbon Seltzer
- x Ginger ale…again Red Ribbon has a mint version that’s a winner
- x Tomato juice…for those hair of the dog morning after
Once you hit the liquor store for these ingredients, finish off your bar cart by making sure that you have the necessary supplies for creating and serving these cocktail combinations. Here’s what you’ll need and you might as well head to Von Walter & Funk for all of it!
- x Ice bucket
- x Shaker
- x Jigger
- x Strainer
- x Cocktail spoon / stirrer
- x Corkscrew
- x Glasses (think wine glasses, short tumblers, martini glasses and tall Collins glasses)
Feeling extra? You’ll also want to stock up on these garnishes to finish off your drinks.
- x Oranges
- x Limes
- x Lemons
- x Cherries
- x Olives
- x Sugar cubes
- x Cinnamon sticks + cloves