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6 Secrets for Incredible Holiday Cocktails

Jennifer Boudinot is the co-host of the Who Knew? podcast and the co-author of Dangerous Cocktails: Adventurous Recipes for Serious Drinkers. We mixed and tasted some wintertime cocktails while Jen shared tips and tricks for holiday entertaining. 

By
Kara Rota,
December 28, 2016
Episode #132

Jen joined the Clever Cookstr to talk about wintertime cocktails for holiday entertaining, and shared some tips and tricks for mixing drinks from her new book, Dangerous Cocktails: Adventurous Recipes for Serious Drinkers.

1. When we think of mixed drinks, it's easy to immediately think of juice and soda. But don't forget that water itself can be an important mixer to balance and enhance other strong flavors. That's the case in a hot toddy.

2. "Bonded," or high-proof alcohols, like bonded bourbon, have gained popularity. When makers ferment the mash to make whiskey, less water is added to bonded whiskeys, so it's more concentrated. Not only does it make drinks stronger, but some bartenders like that the different tasting notes are amplified. Try high proof rum or bourbon in eggnog this season.

3. Ever see a bartender run a twist of orange peel around the rim of a glass? Your nose picks up that essence every time you go to take a sip of your drink, and it's one of those little pro tricks that's worth adopting at your home bar. 

4. You don't need a full liquor cabinet full of every possible option to throw a great party and mix inventive cocktails. Buy a few basics that you like, and a few things to experiment with that you're less familiar with, like Campari or flavored bitters.

5. Be adventurous and don't be afraid to experiment. Make a cocktail for yourself first to make sure your flavors are balanced, then make a big batch so you don't have to spend all night mixing drinks for your guests.

6. Party ice! Embed fresh herbs or edible flowers in ice cubes to make them festive, and put your ice in a colander over an ice bucket so bottles don't get submerged in water as they melt. 

Here are two cocktails Jen loves to serve to fortify spirits and bring cheer all winter long. We tasted them on set, so I can tell you firsthand—they're both dangerously delicious!

Bee's Knees 1½ ounces gin ¾ ounce honey ½ ounce lemon juice Lemon peel garnish Shake with ice until cold and blended. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon peel. Old Oscar 1½ ounces bonded bourbon ½ ounce ancho reyes chili liqueur ½ ounce Amaro Montenegro ½ ounce campari 3 dashes chocolate bitters Orange peel garnish Stir with ice until cold and blended. Strain into double rocks glass with ice. Garnish with orange peel. 

Check out The Book of Dangerous Cocktails and listen to the whole episode with Jennifer Boudinot in the top right hand player or on iTunes or Stitcher. If you enjoyed Jennifer's insights, don't forget to check out our other podcast, Who Knew?, where she and Bruce Lubin share household tips and lifehacks.

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