Monthly Archives: December 2011

Happy New Year!

Wishing you a safe and very happy New Year! Cheers and I’ll see you in 2012!

(Oh, and in case you need it, here’s a Bloody Mary recipe to take the edge off tomorrow 😉 )

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Sparkling Original Cinn Punch

I love the combination of flavors in this Sparkling Original Cinn Punch, as created by coworker, Laura. At the forefront of this recipe are cinnamon, apple and vanilla, all accented with a bit of sparkling apple cider. If you’re looking for a last minute drink to serve for your New Years Eve bash, this may just be your new favorite punch recipe!

Sparkling Original Cinn Punch

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle Hiram Walker Original Cinn cinnamon schnapps
  • 2 (750 ml) bottles of sparkling apple cider
  • 1/2 (1L) bottle of spiced rum

Add all ingredients to a punch bowl with large ice block, adding sparkling apple cider just before serving. Garnish punch bowl with sliced apples. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top of each individiual glass.

Another great quality to this punch recipe is that you won’t be spending a whole paycheck to purchase the ingredients. Most of these items cost under $10 per bottle, including Hiram Walker’s Original Cinn that was included in Serious Drinks’ Best Budget Spirits of 2011.

Ring in the new year with this great Sparkling Original Cinn Punch!


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Peppermint for the Holidays

Hiram Walker Candy Cane cocktail

Peppermint is a ubiquitous, commonplace flavor associated with the winter holiday season. To get in the spirit of the season, I tried combining peppermint schnapps with another all-natural Hiram Walker flavor that remind me of  December – pomegranate schnapps.

Behold the Candy Cane Cocktail, an extremely mint-forward cocktail whose bright red color is reminiscent of holiday lights dangling from trees and rooftops. I garnished mine with a piece of peppermint brittle  because, well, the candy canes in my apartment seemed to mysteriously “disappear”…don’t you hate when that happens?! Here’s the recipe:

Candy Cane Martini

  • 1 part ABSOLUT® Vodka
  • 1½ parts Hiram Walker® Pomegranate Schnapps
  • 1½ parts Hiram Walker® Peppermint Schnapps
  • ¼ part Simple Syrup

Shake and strain into martini glass, garnish with mini candy cane or mint leaf.

But this drink is nowhere near my favorite expression of the uses for peppermint schnapps. My Cocktail Connection features a few of my favorite cocktails using Hiram Walker’s Peppermint Schnapps, such as the Peppermint Patty.  If you’re looking for a peppermint cocktail fix, that would be my preferred drink of choice.

Peppermint is also a great ingredient to use in a variety of hot beverage during the cold winter months. If you have a favorite Hot Drink that uses Peppermint Schnapps, or a selection of other Hiram Walker flavors, you can enter your drink to the Hot Drink contest of The Quest, Hiram Walker’s search for the country’s greatest cocktail recipes as submitted by consumers. For your chance to win one of two prizes, VISA gift cards valued at up to $500, enter your recipe on Hiram Walker’s website or Facebook page by December 31.

Cheers and enjoy what time remains of this holiday season!

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Holiday Season Shines Brighter With Cosmo Variations

Topping up a cocktail with a bit of champagne is an easy solution to make a holiday cocktail feel more festive, as with this Sparkly Cosmo cocktail recipe.

Yesterday, while out for a office holiday lunch, someone ordered an ABSOLUT Citron Cosmopolitan. It was then I had a realization — a Cosmo would not typically be a drink I associate with a lunchtime drink of choice, but it dawned on me that this really was a perfect cocktail for the occasion. Bright, citrusy, and with just the right hint of sweetness, the Cosmopolitan really is a delightful choice for a holiday cocktail.

To further develop upon this concept, I uncovered some unique twists to this classic and universally recognized cocktail. It’s a fun and festive way to flex your cocktail muscles and take  a new recipe idea for a spin (you know, to ring in the new year!). As such, we’re featuring the White Cosmopolitan and the Sparkly Cosmopolitan.

I like this White Cosmo for its simplicity in utilizing white cranberry juice in place of the cranberry juice that gives the cocktail its all-too-familiar pink hue. What I think really ties this drink together is the zest of the orange peel, giving it a crisp citrus burst.

White Cosmopolitan: 

  • 1 1/4 Parts White Cranberry Juice
  • 1/2 Part Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Part Hiram Walker Triple Sec
  • 1 Peel Orange

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange.

What more can I say to tease you up for this drink? A bit of champagne bubbly-ness in this Sparkly Cosmo can be just the trick to make a holiday cocktail festive and memorable!

Sparkly Cosmo: (pictured above)

  • 2 Parts Cranberry Juice
  • 1 Splash Lime Juice
  • 1 Part Hiram Walker Triple Sec
  • Champagne (I like the Mumm Napa Brut Prestige or Brut Reserve)
  • 1 Slice Lime

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add ABSOLUT Citron, cranberry juice, lime juice and triple sec. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Topup with champagne. Garnish with lime. (Cocktail Culture note: Be sure to grab your larger 8 oz cocktail glass for this one so you have room for ingredients and to top up with the champagne!) 

Hope these cocktails brighten your season with a bit more holiday cheer, enjoy!

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Take the Edge Off With a Bloody Mary

Luis Martinez of The Patio (McAllen, TX) displays his trophy for creating the ABSOLUT Best Bloody in America.

It’s about this time of year, between all the holiday parties and New Years festivities, that the phrase Hair of the Dog never rings more true (well, unless you happen to be in New Orleans in July when a bunch of other bartenders are in town – but that’s a whole different beast!).

The Bloody Mary cocktail has certainly cemented its place at the top of the list of Hair of the Dog libations. But what makes for the best version of this tipple with so many variants and taste preferences?

ABSOLUT VODKA and recently culminated this search through the National Online ABSOLUT Best Bloody in America Recipe Contest. At the program’s inception, 50 bartenders from 50 states were narrowed to a round of finalists where, in a November live finale, Luis Martinez of The Patio in McAllen, TX earned the crown for the ABSOLUT Best Bloody in America.

Want to give Martinez’s recipe, ABSOLUT Akita Maria, a try? Below is the recipe. Just make sure to have the ingredients on hand before deciding you want to make this drink at home! 😉

ABSOLUT Akita Maria: (created by Luis Martinez, The Patio, McAllen, TX)

Judging the nine ABSOLUT Bloody Mary finalists at a live NYC finale were Julie Reiner, Dale DeGroff, Ben Robinson and Allen Katz.

  • 2 parts ABSOLUT VODKA
  • 4 parts tomato juice
  • ½ part lime juice
  • 1 part fresh orange juice
  • 1 small minced basil leaf
  • 1 pinch onion powder
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • ½ part teriyaki sauce
  • ½ part soy sauce
  • Fingertip-size wasabi paste patty
  • 1 dash sriracha spicy red chili sauce
  • 3 pinches shaved ginger root
Mix all ingredients with the exception of ABSOLUT VODKA, tomato juice and lime juice in a shaker tin and lightly muddle them together. In a highball glass rimmed with sea salt, add ABSOLUT VODKA over ice. Add the muddled ingredients and top with tomato juice and lime juice. Garnish with spicy pickled asparagus.

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Caramel Apple Macchiato

Going through my recipe database of hot drinks, coupled with the all-too-typical 2:00 afternoon lull, it has become increasingly prevalent that our office needs an espresso machine. After taking imagined espresso machine for a test spin, I’ve already picked out the first hot cocktail I’ll be mixing up. It’s the Caramel Apple Macchiato, which uses Hiram Walker’s seasonally apropos Caramel Apple Liqueur. Here’s the recipe:

Caramel Apple Macchiato:

  • 3/4 part Hiram Walker Caramel Apple Liqueur
  • Fill with hot espresso

Serve ingredients in an espresso cup and top with frothed milk.

This is just one of many examples of drinks that can be created and submitted by cocktail enthusiasts in the current cocktail contest for The Quest. In this segment of The Quest, the theme is “Hot Drinks” and entries can include any range of hot beverages (cider, coffee, espresso, hot chocolate) in a cocktail with Hiram Walker liqueurs, brandies and schnapps. You may have a chance to win one of two top prizes for your most outstanding of cocktails – Visa gift cards valued at up to $500. You can learn more and submit your drink by December 31st by visiting The Quest on the web or on Facebook.

In the interim, it’s time for me to make another cup o’ Joe. Go, go, caffeine rush!


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Holiday Cocktail Planning

‘Tis the Season!

Not sure when it sneaked up, but we’re in the home stretch of 2011. I suppose I should start to figure out my New Years plans. Contrarily, I also don’t know when or how my December calendar got so entirely booked with various holiday gatherings leading up to Dec. 31, though I’m certainly not complaining!

As a guest most gracious for the invites, it’s time to come up with a gift for the party hosts and hostesses. And, in my personal opinion, I think it’s far more fun to show up with a few ingredients to make a festive cocktail rather than any ol’ stocking stuffer.

Below are some fun and festive cocktail suggestions for your upcoming holiday parties, that won’t break the bank either.  The Hiram Walker Original Cinn and Caramel Apple liqueurs will run you about $10 each for a 750ml, while you can also find a quality Applejack, Dark Rum and Spiced Rum in the under $20 price range.

  • The team at My Cocktail Connection featured the Cinnful Sparkler in their fall issue of ZEST Digital Magazine.  The sparkling cider to finish off this cocktail really gives it an elegant and festive holiday feel.
  • The Cocktail Hacker himself gives the Old Fashioned a new twist with the Spiced Cider Old Fashioned, a drink that imbues many winter-warming properties: Applejack, Caramel Apple and Barrel Aged Bitters.

Enjoy giving these two drinks a taste over the next few weeks – they should fit in nicely for the spirited season!



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