Merry, merry New Orleans holiday cocktails
By Kristine Froeba, opinion columnist
Sugar cookie and candy cane martinis top the drinks menu at The Roosevelt. Hot toddies and mulled wine are the beverages of choice in holiday movies. And polls place good old-fashioned egg nog as the most popular drink of the holiday season.
I concur that homemade egg nog — spiked with a good whiskey, topped with meringue, and dusted with freshly grated nutmeg — is Christmas personified. That said, I’ve recently spiked gallons of the store-bought variety. However, no matter the amount of Woodford’s, Maker’s Mark or Basil Hayden consumed via la nog, sometimes this gal needs a real cocktail, minus the cream.
This year, due to the warm holiday season, I’ve concocted a citrusy bourbon cocktail as my signature Holiday 2021 beverage: the Ginger Luxardo Grapefruit Holiday Old-Fashioned. It’s Christmassy, strong, spicy and refreshing — for those days when you trim the tree with the air-conditioning running. Best of luck finding the candied ginger used to garnish the rim.
The Ginger Luxardo Grapefruit Holiday Old-Fashioned
Good quality bourbon (like Woodford Reserve or Maker’s Mark)
Fresh grapefruit slices or sections
Reed’s ginger beer
Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6
- Muddle a section of grapefruit and add a shot and a half of the bourbon.
- Top with ginger beer and a generous shake of orange bitters and stir, then drop two cherries in the cocktail and add ice.
- Use candied ginger for garnish on rim of glass or drop in the cocktail. Adjust to taste.
- Add a cinnamon stick as a stirrer. A slice of lemon can be added to brighten the flavors. Ginger syrup is another addition that works well.
If you’re partial to the creamier drinks, another all-time holiday favorite is brandy milk punch or, better yet, Dickie Brennan’s Bourbon House’s popular nod to the original: Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch. I admit to routinely breaking traffic and parking regulations to double park and get one. It’s that good.
Christmas Frozen Bourbon Milk Punch (à la Bourbon House)
4 cups all natural vanilla ice cream
1 cup quality bourbon
½ teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 teaspoon simple syrup
- Soften ice cream somewhat then combine all ingredients in a blender.
- Blend in five-second increments until it achieves the consistency of a thin milkshake.
- Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg, a candy cane, cinnamon stick or holiday cookie sprinkles before serving.
Kristine Froeba is a fourth-generation New Orleanian whose varied background includes food and travel writing, celebrity ghost writing, public relations, social media management, fundraising, preservationist, reluctant tabloid hack and litigation specialist. She describes herself as part foodie, part writer, part historian, historic renovation zealot and full-time dabbler.