Ever since I became an adult and would return home for Christmas, I’ve always looked forward to sharing a Christmas Eve cocktail with my dad. Sometimes it’s a Manhattan, we’ve done Cosmos, a few years ago my dear friend Aryanne made us Ponche de creme which I would describe as a Trinidadian take on egg nog but with loads of rum (that was a raving hit and if she lets me I may share the recipe).
This year, however, in spite of all the things that may draw you out of the holiday spirit. I’ve felt a little closer to the meaning of the season. I was in the grocery store the other day, all masked up of course, and the holiday classics were playing. Typically I would be annoyed by hearing the same songs on repeat for an entire month and a half, but this year the music brought me so much joy. To tears almost. I was singing a bit louder than I should have but I felt no shame. I actually started dancing down the aisles. They started playing the classic “It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” and immediately got that giddy, child-like feeling, it started to FEEL like Christmas.
I started to remember how overjoyed I was, well we all were when we were kids. We counted down to the day we would decorate the tree, start baking all the holiday treats, stay up late to watch all the holiday movies (my personal faves are Home Alone, Charlie Brown Christmas, and Rocky…YES ROCKY 1-4 ARE CHRISTMAS MOVIES!!!, and visit with our cousins. Taking this trip down memory lane had me thinking about the cocktail I would share with my dad this year, and I couldn’t think of anything better than an Old Fashioned Christmas. All the classic elements of an old fashioned but with a Christmas twist.
OLD FASHIONED CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL
- 2 teaspoons cranberry simple syrup
- 3-4 dashes Angostura bitters
- 2 oz Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey
- a couple cubes of ice
- muddler or wooden spoon
- measuring spoons/cups
HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY SIMPLE SYRUP
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup whole, fresh, washed cranberries
Place all three ingredients into a saucepan on medium heat, stir until sugar dissolves and the liquid starts to bubble, turn the heat down and let it simmer until the cranberries begin to burst and soften. Once the liquid has turned deep red, take it off the stove, strain it and place it into a jar to cool. I put a small sprig of rosemary in the simple syrup while it cools down. What you don’t use for your cocktail can be used to give a little jazz to your sparkling water.
ASSEMBLING YOUR COCKTAIL
- Place a slice of orange into your glass and crush it with a muddler or a wooden spoon
- Add 2 teaspoons of the cranberry simple syrup
- Add 3-4 dashes of Angostura bitters
- Add 2-4 ice cubes
- Pour 2 oz of Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey
- Gently stir
- Garnish with a sprig of rosemary, cranberry and orange peel
It took me a while to get into the holiday feeling I’ll admit. I didn’t buy a tree this year, nor decorate the house, but inside I feel Christmas-y. Overwhelmed with the feeling of gratitude, an appreciation for the things we too often take for granted, I guess in an odd way that is one of the few upsides to this year, it made me slow down and reflect. I feel ready to spend my holidays with my family, enjoy this old fashioned with my dad, and prepare for the possibilities of the year to come.
If you do make this cocktail at home, drop me a line, tell me how you like it!
Please stay safe, stay warm and enjoy responsibly!