Here are some cocktails we've featured in the past on Embury that are fairly easy to make and shouldn't burden you with too much more last minute shopping or preparation.
First up is the champagne cocktail, The Lord Ottenbottom (that's the Lord himself above, right) which is simplicity itself--Demerara sugar cube in a flute, dashed with Peychaud's Bitters (Angostura will do) and Orange Bitters, to taste--about 4 dashes per should do it. Garnish with an orange twist. The only tricky thing to secure here might be the orange bitters--but you can make a great champagne cocktail with just the sugar and bitters. Check out the original post here:
A tad more complex is the Carte Blanche (above, in punch form)--Hedrick's, lime juice, bubbly, muddled cucumbers and, again, orange bitters. Somehow orange bitters seem to work really well at holidays. Original post here.
The Carte Blanche:
1 1/2 oz. Hendrick's Gin
3/4 oz. Lime juice
1/2-3/4 oz. Simple syrup
3 Cucumber wheels
2 dashes Regan's Orange Bitters #6
Brut sparkling wine (Jim prefers Cava, as we were doing Ottenbottoms already we used a dry proseco with no ill effect)
In a mixing glass place 2 cucumber slices, lime juice, simple syrup and orange bitters and muddle well. Add Hendrick's Gin and ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with sparkling wine, garnishing with the third cucumber wheel. Serve.
Brandied Cherry Bourbon Sours are easy to make--and if you can't find the time to make your own batch of brandied cherries look for better bottled or tinned cherries at your better grocery store, and soak them in some brandy for a couple hours--bit ghetto, but your guests need not know.
BRANDIED CHERRY BOURBON SOUR (Adapted from John Byrd's Meyer Lemon Whiskey Sour recipe)
2oz. Basil Hayden's Bourbon
A light .5oz. of simple syrup (the brandied cherries bring plenty of sugar so go easy on the simple.)
Juice of 1 Meyer Lemon
Shake and strain
Garnish with brandied cherry (don't be afraid to throw in some extra juice) & orange slice
1 lb. Bing Cherries, pitted
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 vanilla bean, split in half
1/2 cup brandy
Combine sugar and water in sauce pan. Scrape seeds from vanilla pod into sugar mixture and add pod as well. Bring mixture to a boil. Add cherries and 1/4 cup brandy and simmer for ten minutes. Remove cherries with a slotted spoon and reserve. Simmer liquid in saucepan until syrupy and reduced to about 1/2 of a cup. Pour syrup over reserved cherries and let cool. When cherries are cooled, stir in remaining 1/4 cup brandy.
Brandied cherries can be kept covered and refrigerated for several weeks. Flavors will improve with time. Sarah Hodge.
And the bourbon and champagne number The Seelbach will get your guests happy, and fast. Just don't serve too many before eating. Original post here.
THE SEELBACH (from Gary and Mardee Regan’s New Classic Cocktails)
1 oz bourbon
1/2 oz Cointreau
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
7 dashes Angostura bitters
5 oz Champagne
Pour the liquor and bitters into a Champagne flute and stir. Add Champagne and stir again. Garnish with an orange twist.
Lauren Clark of Drink Boston offers this slight, very sensible variation on the Regans' recipe: I prefer to stir the liquor and bitters lightly over ice and then strain them into the Champagne flute before adding the Champagne. It makes a pleasantly chilled drink that is not so cold or watered down that it dulls the spirits’ character.
And on the eggnog tip, Jeffrey Morgenthaler is obsessed with the stuff--check out his recipes here.