12 delicious holiday cocktail recipes

Warm up with Mitch McCaskill's marvelous mixology

Christmas is a time to be festive. Why shouldn’t the seasonal cocktails reflect that? Cocktail guru and Ernest’s maître d’, Mitch McCaskill (Hospitality Management ’09), has the 12 days covered, celebrating each with its own special drink.

McCaskill’s mixes are perfect for everything from impressing guests at your next holiday party or spending an evening by the fire. And, as you can see from the recipes below, they’re also easy to make. Enjoy!

Day 1. Old Fashioned

Looking for the perfect nightcap to enjoy Christmas Eve? This classic is sure to warm you up, says McCaskill.

  • 1 ½ ounce bourbon (such as Bulleit)
  • Sugar cube
  • 3 dashes of bitters
  • Two or three cherries
  • 1 small orange peel

Method: Place a sugar cube in a glass and soak the cube with bitters. Then add ice and bourbon (see video above). Rip a peel off an orange and warm it with a flame from a lighter or a match to bring out the flavour once it’s added to the drink. Top it off with the cherries.

Day 2. Minor Situation

  • 1 ½ ounces Crown Royal
  • ½ ounce St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • A small handful of basil leaves
  • ¾ ounces blueberry simple syrup
  • A small handful of blueberries
  • Sugar

Method: Place some basil leaves and blueberry into a pot full of water and a cup of sugar and then boil.

After boiling the water, strain out the berries and basil leaves into a cocktail glass. Pour the Crown Royal and the St-Germain into a shaker tin with ice and add the simple syrup. Give it a quick shake and pour it into the glass.

Day 3. Spiced Paralyzer

Tired of the standard eggnog-rum drink, McCaskill came up with this tasty twist on the Christmas concoction a few years ago.

  • 1 ounce Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum
  • 1 ounce Kahlua
  • Eggnog
  • Cola

Method: Pour the rum into a glass then the Kahlua. Add cola then eggnog at a ratio of 1:3 to nearly fill the glass (to avoid curdling, the eggnogg should always be last).

Day 4. Peppermint Patty

  • ½ ounce Baileys
  • ½ ounce of Peppermint Schnapps
  • Hot chocolate

Method: Simply pour the Baileys and Peppermint Schnapps into your mug before adding the hot chocolate. After that, get creative, suggests McCaskill. Try whipped cream and shavings of chocolate or candy cane on top.

Day 5. After 8

Crave minty After 8 chocolates during the festive season? This one’s for you.

  • ¾ ounces Crème de Cacao
  • ¾ ounces Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 candy cane

Method: Shake the Crème de Cacao and Peppermint Schnapps in a shaker tin then pour it into a martini glass. Garnish with a candy cane.

Day 6. Nogtini

  • 2 ounces eggnog
  • 1 ounces Kahlua
  • 1 ounces of Vodka (such as Belvedere)
  • Chocolate (a chocolate cigar or straw works best)

Method: Pour ingredients into shaker tin with ice, shake and strain into martini glass. Add chocolate as a garnish.

Day 7. Pomegranate Sloe Fizz

The trend with festive, seasonal drinks tends to be warm, like hot chocolate, and thick, like eggnog. McCaskill created this one to buck the trend. “I wanted to do something that was a little bit fizzy – something that has a little more pop at the end.”

  • 1 ½ ounces Sloe Gin
  • ¾ ounces pomegranate juice
  • ½ ounce lemon juice
  • Soda water (or 7-Up/Sprite)
  • Fresh rosemary sprig or pomegranate seeds

Method: Pour the Sloe Gin then the pomegranate juice. Add the lemon juice for a bit of zest. Add the soda water or lemon-lime soda then the rosemary sprig as a garnish, or pomegranate seeds.

Day 8. Rudolph’s Martini

Here’s a drink that will be the same colour as Rudolph’s shiny red nose.

  • Malbec wine
  • Frangelico liqueur
  • Crème de Cacao
  • 1 piece of chocolate

Method: Place the 3 ingredients – in equal parts – in a shaker and mix very gently in order to maintain the drink’s bright red look. You can also stir the ingredients together instead of shaking. Pour into a martini glass and add the chocolate, almost like olives in the bottom of a dry martini. You will end up with a bright red martini that tastes like black forest cake.

Day 9. Gin Berry

McCaskill created this drink on the fly for a patron during the Christmas season at an old job he had in B.C. It worked perfectly.

“This is just delicious,” he says.

  • Amaretto
  • Raspberry vodka
  • Gin
  • Ginger ale

Method: Pour the Amaretto, raspberry vodka and gin – in equal parts – into a shaker. Shake, then pour into a glass. Top up with ginger ale.

Day 10. Dessert Martini

  • 1 ounce vanilla vodka
  • 1 ounce ice wine (such as Mission Hill Riesling Ice Wine)
  • 1 ounce apple juice
  • A dash of cinnamon

Method: Pour the vanilla vodka into a shaker tin with ice, along with the ice wine and apple juice. Strain into a martini glass then sprinkle a dash of cinnamon over the top.

Day 11. Mrs. Claus Martini

  • ½ ounce Blue Curacao
  • 1 ounce raspberry vodka
  • ½ ounce Raspberry Sour Puss
  • 1 ounce cranberry juice
  • ½ ounce lime juice
  • 1 lime slice

Method: Shake all the ingredients in a shaker tin then strain into a martini glass. Top the glass with a slice of lime. 

Day 12. Rhubarb Smash

  • 1 ounce Bulleit Bourbon
  • Mint
  • Lime
  • 3 or 4 dashes of rhubarb bitters
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • 2 ounces grapefruit juice

Method: Pour the bourbon over ice in a glass. Muddle mint and lime (see video below) in a shaker. After that, throw in the bitters, simple syrup and grapefruit juice. Shake it and strain the liquid over the whiskey in the glass. If you have candied or fresh rhubarb, add that as your garnish.

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