Monthly Archives: December 2010

Round Up the Bubbly!

Boy, how the days left in 2010 are just flying by!

I’m guessing by now you are stocking up on a few bottles of champagne (or cava, or prosecco, or whatever other varietal tickles your fancy…) in preparation for New Years Eve on Friday night. So why not take the guess work out of how to serve it with some of your favorite spirits?

For one, a simple Kir Royale (pictured) can do the trick! Combine 1 part of Hiram Walker Créme de Cassis with 4 parts chilled champagne in a flute and garnish with a lemon twist.

Additionally, here is an accumulation of some bubbly-inspired sips that have been included in Cocktail Culture posts this year and I hope will add some pop! to your New Years Eve bash. Feel free to click the links in the recipe name to go back to the original posts for more photos, inspiration, and to read reminiscent thoughts from the year in past.

Strawberry Kir

1 part Hiram Walker Créme de Strawberry
4 parts chilled dry white wine or champagne

Serve in a champagne flute. Garnish with a fresh strawberry.

The Dancing Scotsman (from Eastern Standard in Boston, MA)

  • 1 oz Blended Scotch
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice
  • 1 oz Honey Syrup (I made mine at 2:1 water to honey)

Shake with ice and strain into a coupe. Fill with sparkling wine and garnish with a flamed lemon twist dropped in.

Summer Gin Punch

5 parts Beefeater Summer Gin
1 part St Germain
1 part Maraschino
5 parts Chilled Green Tea
1 part Lime Juice
5 parts Prosecco

Add ingredients to Punch Bowl with Ice Block. Garnish with pineapple sticks, strawberries, lemon wheels, pink grapefruit wheels, mint sprigs.

The Crooner Fizz (by Lindsay Nader, PDT, New York City)

  • 2 oz Chivas Regal 12
  • .5 oz Chairman’s Reserve Rum
  • .5 oz lemon juice
  • .5 oz raisin syrup

Add all ingredients to a champagne flute and top with Perrier Jouet Champagne.

Wishing you all a very safe and Happy New Year! Cheers!

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Peppermint Patty Cocktail

Chocolate and mint are, without a doubt, a highly complimentary combination of flavors. In desserts, in cocktails, in dessert cocktails…

The spiced Hot Chocolate is a simple way to utilize that bottle of peppermint schnapps you have behind the bar; however, why not steer yourself in a slightly different direction? In place of those benchmark hot drinks we’ve been sipping on for the past few weeks, consider stirring up instead this chilled cocktail that is full of festive holiday flavors, such as the aforementioned mint and chocolate.

Peppermint Patty

* 2 parts Absolut Vodka
* 1 part Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps
* 1/2 part Hiram Walker White Creme de Cacao

Shake all ingredients and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a candy cane on the rim.

Enjoy this cocktail during the waning days of 2010 – you and your guests will surely be impressed!

Happy Holidays!

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Cider, Cookies, and Cinn – Oh my!

A few of the creative designs from the cookie decorating party. Well, before I ate them all...

We’ve moved from carrot cake to cookies in this quick cocktail post, as I thought to share with you a few photos from my friend’s annual Christmas Cookie Decorating Party. All the gals invited were asked to bring something to contribute to the party and, as per normal, I supplied some booze.

Spiked Apple Cider was our treat for the evening’s festivities (along with a great bottle of Australian syrah, but I digress…), and Hiram Walker’s Original Cinn was there for the fixin’. I added some muddling spices to the cider to start things off: allspice, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg… Once heated up and  ready to go, I added two parts Original Cinn, 1/2 part fresh lime juice, and a healthy pour of local, New England apple cider. I grabbed a few cinnamon sticks for a garnish and – Done!

Spiked Apple Cider with Hiram Walker Original Cinn

Most traditional Toddy recipes would call for another spirit, such as whiskey or brandy or rum, to be added to the drink, but I thought the high proof of the Original Cinn held up nicely with the warm cider. However, if you are looking for a drink with a few more complex flavors joining the party, the Hot Cinn Apple Toddy just may do the trick:

Hot Cinn Apple Toddy:

  • 1 ½ parts bourbon
  • 1 ½ parts Hiram Walker Original Cinn Schnapps
  • ½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • Fill with hot apple cider
  • Green apple slice dipped in hot caramel or cinnamon stick for garnish

Pour the bourbon, schnapps, and lemon juice into an Irish coffee glass or mug. Stir well. Fill with hot apple cider. Garnish with the green apple or a cinnamon stick.

Happy Holidays!

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Carrot Cake Cocktail

We’ve made it to the final home stretch before Christmas! But are you still searching for a cocktail to serve over the weekend?

Ryan, of the site Boozeblogger, offers up this dessert-inspired cocktail in his “12 Drinks of Christmas Series”, the Carrot Cake Cocktail. I decided to stir this one up for the office crew early in the week (we had all the ingredients on hand!) and I was surprised at how the warming flavors of cinnamon, butterscotch, and caramel came together so pleasantly in this drink. I probably should have been more generous with the garnish on top; it’s a lesson learned for the next go-around! Below are some of the shots from my mini photo shoot, but here’s the recipe (with a link to Boozeblogger’s site, so be sure to read the rest of the holiday series) as well so you can stir one up at home.

Carrot Cake Cocktail

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Happy Holidays!

Updated at 7:16 pm, 12/21/10


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How to ‘Spruce Up’ Hot Cocoa 101

A most festive backdrop in which to enjoy Hiram Walker's Peppermint Schnapps

The Facebook alert on my phone lit up about 11 pm EST. I had been tagged in a friend’s festive photograph – taken over 2500 miles apart –  of a Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps nip before his indulging in a peppermint hot chocolate.

And so my yearning began! After all, it is the season for peppermint schnapps and hot chocolate to join together for a delicious, warming treat. So for Friday’s Featured Cocktail to last you through the weekend, I thought I’d share a hot chocolate recipe easy to please the masses –  The Breath Mint Hot Chocolate!

Breath Mint Hot Chocolate

  • ¾ part Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps
  • ¾ part Kahlúa
  • 4 parts Hot Chocolate

Combine ingredients and serve in a coffee mug. Top with optional garnishes of fresh whipped cream, chocolate shavings, or peppermint candies.

Yup, it doesn’t get much simpler – nor tastier on a cold winter’s weekend – than that. But if you have other tasty variations, please feel free to share your recipes or links in the comments section and I’d be happy to share them in a future post!

Have a fantastic weekend!


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Waistline Woes

Photo Source Via Flickr

As if December wasn’t already brutal enough to our waistlines – what all with the holiday soirees, gift baskets, and over-indulgent foods –  why shouldn’t we go ahead and throw in another torturous foodie holiday? You know, just to spice things up!

Tomorrow, December 16, is National Chocolate Covered Anything Day. And it’s oh so unfortunate that a holiday that sounds so sweet on paper have such a sour reaction to my BMI. Sigh…

Rather than over-indulging with sweets, we may as well stick to a chocolate covered cocktail to pretend that we’re trying to watch the calorie intake this time of year! How does a Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cocktail sound? This two-ingredient cocktail is incredibly simple to stir up at home and will altogether fill the sweet tooth craving you’re deserving of during the holiday season.

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cocktail

Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass garnished with a fresh raspberry. My personal recco. is to be sure and drizzle some chocolate syrup inside the glass

Not to worry, self. The gym will still be there come January!

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Spiked Christmas Chai

The Spiked Christmas Chai - recipe and photo shared courtesy of Fashionably Bombed

Let it be known that your host at Cocktail Culture is a huge fan of chai. I’ve tried my hand at making  a few chai-flavored cocktails, but I suppose I should just leave those things to the experts and stick to the role I’m best at: taste tester!

The goofy and chic sisters at Fashionably Bombed are making a splash with their “12 Days of Christmas Cocktails” series, and day three featured one of my favorite flavor combos ever – chai! Considering that Katherine lived and studied in India for quite some time, I’ll take her recipe to be pretty authentic; add in a bit of booze (vodka, some Irish cream, and Hiram Walker Original Cinn, to be exact)…well, then you have yourself a delicious Christmas treat!

I know the recipe calls for vodka, but I’d be curious as to how this would taste with a brown spirit (I’m thinking bourbon…) in place of the vodka. Would it mask some of the chai flavor? Guess I know what I’m experimenting with this weekend, now… Enough blabbering, here’s the Fashionably Bombed Spiked Christmas Chai:

Spiked Christmas Chai (created by Katherine and Flannery Good)

1 cup water
1 cup whole milk
2 black tea bags
1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
5 cloves
5 cardamom pods (slightly crushed)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons vodka
1 tablespoon Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 teaspoons Hiram Walker Original Cinn cinnamon schnapps

In a saucepan combine water, milk, tea bags, ginger, cloves and cardamom pods.  Bring to a boil and stir continuously.  Turn stove to low and add sugar.  Keep stirring for 3-4 minutes until it’s a light brown color.  Remove from heat and strain.  Stir in vodka, Bailey’s and cinnamon schnapps.  Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Oh, this is gonna keep me nice and toasty through all 12 days of Christmas…



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Dr. Bamboo and the Garnet cocktail

Looking for a creative new way to look at peppermint schnapps? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

The seasonally-appropriate schnapps gains most of its popularity (or notoriety, take your pick) through a variety of shot recipes. However, the following recipe developed by Dr. Bamboo for a Thursday Drink Night calls for the use of peppermint schnapps…as a rinse!

Clocking in at 90-proof, I love this concept of using the Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps as a rinse to your cocktail glass. Plus, with a schnapps as flavor-packed as this one, it’s icy, minty zest still manages to make its subtle presence known.

Daring enough to be different? Give the Garnet recipe a try:

Garnet (created by Craig Mrusek, Dr. Bamboo)

1.5 oz. Rye (recommend a high-proof brand like Wild Turkey, Rittenhouse, etc.)
1.5 oz. Averna
.25 oz. Demerara simple syrup
2 dashes Regans’ orange bitters

Shake everything with ice and strain into a well-chilled cocktail glass that’s been rinsed with Hiram Walker Peppermint Schnapps.  Garnish with a pinch of ground cloves.

Looking for a simpler musing from Dr. B? Read his take on the Madras in his December column for Bar None Drinks. You’ll find my monthly contribution there as well.



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What I Drank on Thanksgiving

Take a guess at which drink I was shaking up for family and friends on Thanksgiving Day. No going back through my Twitter feed and cheating. Was it…

A) Walker Blackberry Cosmopolitan

B) My original cocktail, Autumn in New England

C) Margarita

The correct answer is “C”. I had about seven very thirsty patrons, not including myself, calling for margaritas during an impromptu cocktail hour at “it’s five o’ clock somewhere” o’ clock in the early afternoon on Thanksgiving Day.

As I’m setting up my “work station”, Mom approaches me with a blender and the following (slightly edited for language) conversation takes place:

“Mom, what’s that for?”


You can imagine my wide-eyed reaction.

“That’s not how you make a margarita.”

“But I like the frozen margaritas.”

“Why don’t I make you my version first and we’ll see if you like it more than your frozen kind?”

Recently, I’ve developed an affinity for the Dale DeGroff Margarita Recipe, as I picked up from a Darcy O’Neil post, but with one minor tweak. Rather than using the simple syrup that DeGroff calls for, I sub in agave nectar instead for a sweet, and, in my opinion, more flavorful margarita. Also, given the heavy volume of margaritas I was stirring up, I opted to use the more wallet-friendly Hiram Walker Triple Sec (read more about the Triple Sec Challenge here) in place of the Cointreau that DeGroff’s recipe suggested. Ok, I guess that’s really two tweaks, huh? Anyways, here’s how they all went down:

Dale Degroff’s Margarita Recipe (with a few SJ twists)
1½ oz Tequila
1 oz Hiram Walker Triple Sec
¾ oz Lime Juice
¼-½ Agave Nectar

Needless to say, the blender’s services were not needed the rest of the day. 😉

Cheers and Happy Thirsty Thursday!

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