My friends and I (the authors of Appetite Portland, Portland Food Map, and Edible Obsessions) conducted an Obscure Holiday Cocktail Tasting the other night.
To start, we had a Whiskey Mac (shown upper right in photo): 1 1/2 oz. whiskey (Johnny Walker black in our case) and 1 oz. green ginger wine. This cocktail was an encouraging place to start. Everyone enjoyed its strong whiskey smell and the meady taste imparted by the ginger wine. It paired nicely with a quadrello di bufala.
Next came the Rye Flip (shown upper left in photo):
2 ounces rye whiskey
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 whole egg
Shake the first three ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass and dust with nutmeg.
This cocktail fell flat, not because it didn't taste good, but because it seemed like a rip-off of eggnog. It was not as full-bodied as your tongue wanted it to be. That said, pairing the drink with Gabietou cheese actually filled the fatty taste out. But I still would rather be drinking some cheap Evan Williams eggnog.
The third cocktail was an utter flop. Called Christmas Pudding (lower right in drink collage), it is 5 oz. Guinness stout, 1 oz. Southern Comfort, and 1 oz. Drambuie. Sweet and disgusting, no cheese pairing (Landaff) could salvage it, and no one finished this round.
The winner of the evening was Glugg! Shown in the lower-left corner of the drink collage above, glugg kicks mulled wine's ass.
Glugg (Mulled Wine)
8 ounces water
1 cup raisins
3 cinnamon sticks
5 whole cloves
12 cardamom seeds
2 dry orange peels
Boil ingredients for 10 minutes in saucepan, then add:
1 gallon port wine
One 750-ml. bottle brandy
16 ounces rum
1/2 cup sugar
Bring to boil and let simmer 1 minute, then turn off the burner and ignite. Allow the mixture to burn for about 15 seconds. Serve hot.
This drink was fun (and easy) to make, delicious, warming, and you get to light it on fire! Can you think of anything better?
Lastly, a sure winner, some homemade Lemoncello. Sweet and a great palate cleanser (to wash away those terrible Christmas Pudding memories).
I hope your holiday season is filled with delicious cocktails, great friends, wonderful nights out, and lots of cheese, like mine has been so far.