(Courtesy of Mike Norquist)

7 Tasteful Cocktail Recipes for the Holidays

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Your guests will be convinced you're a master mixologist.

Nothing says, "Let's get this party started" like handing a guest a well-crafted cocktail; especially a novel recipe bursting with flavor and surprise twists. We've asked some of the top Bay Area bartenders for their favorite holiday cocktail recipes and what it is that makes their beverages so unique.

Old Sydney-Town Punch

(Courtesy of Darren Edwards)

From the Bartender

"This is a simple punch with holiday spice that nicely complements the maltiness of the genever. I named it for the area of San Francisco that eventually became known as the Barbary Coast. Settled predominantly by Australian immigrants in the Gold Rush (mid 1840s to mid 1860s), they set the standard for depravity and debauchery: hallmarks of the Barbary Coast legacy. Genever and Pimento Dram were two popular cocktail ingredients of the day, and pineapples (and thus pineapple gum) were considered rare and dignified in the Victorian culture." H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir:

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounce Bols Genever

1/2 ounce St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram

3/4 ounce lemon juice

1/2 ounce orange juice

1/2 ounce pineapple gum syrup

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, fill with ice.

2. Shake well for 10 seconds.

3. Strain into a punch glass and serve up with a slight grate of nutmeg.

To make hot, in lieu of ice, add 1 1/2 ounces of hot water. Shake, strain and serve.

To batch for a punch bowl

1 liter of Bols Genever

11 ounces of St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram

11 ounces orange juice

16 ounces lemon juice

11 ounces Pineapple Gum

Place a large piece if block ice in the bowl and let rest, stirring before serving.

To make a hot batch, use above recipe and add 32 ounces of water and warm in a pot, crock pot or soup tureen.

Añogo

(Courtesy of Mike Norquist)

From the Bartender

"This twist on the classic eggnog takes advantage of the traditional flavors of a barrel-aged spirit, but twists it with the spice of an añejo tequila instead of the normal brandy, bourbon or rum. By using a high quality añejo tequila in particular, you'll usually get nice citrus notes which are highlighted by the toasted orange oils sprayed on the surface." - H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir:

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Añejo tequila (El Tesoro, 7 Leguas, Fortaleza or another añejo that retains strong agave flavor)

4 ounces chilled Fresh Eggnog*

Wide orange twist

Matches

Preparation

1. In an Old Fashioned glass or other bucket style glass, combine the tequila and eggnog.

2. Stir well.

3. Cut a half dollar-sized twist of orange peel just deep enough to not include any pith. Light a match, and hold the twist over the glass with two fingers, pointing the rind side at the surface of the drink. Place the burning match between the twist and the drink and squeeze the twist, sending the oils through the flame and onto the surface of the glass.

You can also serve this on the rocks, but don't let it dilute it too much or you'll ruin the rich, creamy texture.

Recipe for Fresh Organic Eggnog

4 organic egg yolks

1/3 cup organic sugar, plus 1 tablespoon

1 pint organic whole milk*

1 cup organic heavy cream (or half & half for a lighter version)

1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

4 organic egg whites (for the topping)

Preparation

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color.

2. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it is completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream and nutmeg and stir to combine.

3. Set aside in a refrigerator and store until service time, reserving the whites separately.

4. At service time, place the egg whites in a cold metal mixing bowl and beat to soft peaks.

5. Gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.

*For non-dairy version, whisk 1/4 cup of almond butter into 24 ounces of unsweetened almond milk and substitute that for the milk and cream; or use 1 pint almond milk and 1 cup cooked oatmeal, then blend until smooth.

Pink Manhattan

(Courtesy of Grace Sager)

From the Bartender

"The Pink Manhattan is a brighter version of the traditional Manhattan. The addition of Lo-Fi's Gentian Amaro instead of sweet vermouth, which gives it a festive pink hue, and perfect for holiday. The surprising splash of corn whiskey adds a unique twist on this classic recipe." -Ronnie Buders, Biig

Ingredients

2 ounces High West Silver Oat Whiskey

1 ounce Lo-Fi Gentian Amaro

¼ oz. Mellow Corn Straight Corn Whiskey

Preparation

1. Stir over ice.

2. Strain into a chilled stemmed glass.

3. Garnished with a frozen green grape.

Grapefruits of Wrath

(Courtesy of Blair Heagerty)

From the Bartender

"Grapefruits of Wrath is a celebratory, low-alcohol sipper that has the taste of a full proof cocktail, but with less punch so you can safely enjoy two, maybe three during the evening." -Patrick Poelvoorde, Fiorella

Ingredients

1 1/4 ounces Pampleau de Pamplemousse

3/4 ounce Cocchi Americano

1/4 ounce Bittercube Corazon Bitters

3/4 ounce Lemon Juice

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass.

2. Shake well.

3. Serve up in coupe.

4. Garnish with a lemon strap.

Holiday Cup

(Courtesy of Hine)

From the Bartender

"No holiday party is complete without a punch. Diedrich created a seasonal sipper made with calvados, cognac, Pimm's and ginger." -Kevin Diedrich, Pacific Cocktail Haven

Ingredients

1 part Hine Cognac

1 part Pimm's no. 1

1/2 part Pommeau

3/4 part Don's Mix no. 2

1/2 part lemon juice

1/2 part ginger syrup

1 part apple cider

10 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 part soda water

Preparation

1. Mix and serve in a festive punch bowl with a large ice block.

2. Garnish with apple slices, orange slices and mint.

Silent Night

(Courtesy of Loló)

From the Bartender

"Cocktails at Loló have an unmistakable style. This year they are creating their own version of eggnog made with rum, vermouth and rabarbaro – an amaro derived from Chinese rhubarb." - León Vasquez, Loló

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Lo-Fi Dry Vermouth

1/2 ounce Smith & Cross Rum

1/2 ounce Cappelletti Amaro Sfumato Rabarbaro

1/2 ounce date molasses

1 whole egg

Preparation

1. Shake all the ingredients together.

2. Double strain into a coup.

3. Add grated nutmeg on top.

War and Peas

From the Bartender

"The garnish really makes this presentation pop: wasabi peas, mini clothespin, bamboo cone. The cocktail is modern twist on the classic Tom Collins invented by Jerry Thomas in 1876. I felt that it provided a great foundation for a fun and playful seasonal creation. This simple refreshing cocktail that reminds me of my childhood when I used to garden with my parents. Excepting the gin." -Ilya Romanov, The Dorian SF

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Hendricks gin

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice

1 ounce sugar snap pea syrup*

Preparation

1. Combine all ingredients in a collins or highball glass with ice.

2. Top with seltzer water.

3. Garnish with bamboo cone attached by mini clothespin on glass rim and filled with wasabi peas.

Sugar Snap Pea Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 cups sugar snap peas

Preparation

1. In medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to simmer and take off the heat. Let cool to room temperature.

2. Shell the peas. This helps the flavor infuse faster.

3. Transfer syrup into a glass container and add the peas and skins. Refrigerate for 7-12 hours. Double strain.

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