Tis The Season To Tip Your Cup: Deliciously Inventive Holiday Beverages

Creamy eggnog spiked with a jigger of rum; jewel-toned mulled wine; spicy, heartwarming apple cider—the holiday season beckons friends and family to gather round and tip a cup to the joys of togetherness and celebration.

For that little extra sparkle this year (the one that will elevate your punchbowl to holiday stardom), three accomplished mixologists have each invented a fancy, fresh take on a traditional winter-kissed libation.



Makes about 9 nine five-ounce portions; can be extended by doubling or tripling portions

3 cups water

1 cup sugar

12 cloves

2 cinnamon sticks

1 whole nutmeg, crushed

1 lemon peel

750ml Oregon Syrah

¼ cup Oregon pot-distilled brandy

Simmer the water with sugar, cloves, cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and lemon peel in a stainless steel pot for 10 minutes. Add wine and simmer another 5 minutes, making sure not to boil mixture. Remove from heat, add brandy and stir well. Strain and serve.



Makes about 9, 6-ounce drinks

225 ml Eau de Vie de Pomme

150 ml Winter Spice Simple Syrup

750 ml Veuve Clicquot Champange

For simple syrup: place one cup sugar and one cup water in large saucepan over medium high heat. Add 2 cloves, 1 cinnamon stick, 2 allspice berries, and one pinch orange zest. Bring to a boil, and simmer on low heat for three minutes until the sugar dissolves and the syrup takes on the flavor of the spices. Let cool.

Combine brandy with syrup and stir. Add ice-cold Veuve Clicquot and mix gently together. Serve in classic stemware with a thin slice of fresh orchard apple from a local farmer.



Makes about 10, 6-ounce drinks


1 1/4 cups half and half

1 cup whole milk

6 egg yolks

Combine ingredients in medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, while bringing to a simmer. Simmer and stir until custard coats spatula. Remove from heat and strain custard to capture large pieces of coriander. Pour into a shallow dish and cool.

To assemble, chill martini glasses then rim each with cocoa powder. For virgin drinks, place 4 ounces of base in a shaker glass and fill with ice. Shake for 10 seconds, then pour immediately into chilled glass. For full-strength cocktails, place 4 ounces of base in a shaker glass with 1 ounce dark rum and 1 ounce brandy. Top with ice and shake for 10 seconds, then pour immediately into chilled glass.

Garnish drinks with white and dark chocolate curls.


Premium fixings turn this well-heeled classic into a showstopper.

“The Pacific Northwest has some wonderful micro-distilleries and a growing wine industry that can be compared to some of the best regions in the world,” says Chris Dennett, owner/operator of Elements Tapas Bar & Lounge in Medford. He recommends choosing syrah from Wooldridge Creek, Abacela Estate and Del Rio and pot-distilled brandy from Portland’s Clear Creek Distillery.

Serve from a punch bowl. Offer Irish coffee mugs, inviting guests to dip rims in lemon juice then in a cinnamon-sugar mixture before filling. (About three parts freshly ground cinnamon to one part sugar.)

“The glass mugs illuminate the rich, deep red color of the drink,” says Dennett. “But be careful serving it— heat makes alcohol reach the bloodstream faster, and the added brandy gives this drink a real kick.”


Kelley Swenson, mixologist extraordinaire at Portland's Ten01, creates an apple cider cocktail featuring Eau de Vie de Pomme — a handmade, artisan-distilled apple brandy by Clear Creek Distillery in Portland. The brandy, along with a touch of citrus and spice, and the best sparkling wine available, turns this tried-and-true holiday cider into something extraordinary.

For teetotalers or sophisticated young adults, fill a separate punch bowl with half the spiced simple syrup and a dry non-alcoholic sparkling cider. "Pay close attention to their apple garnishes, making sure that your nonimbibing guest looks just as fabulous holding that drink as the others," says Swenson.


When concocting this rich, exotically spiced version of eggnog, chef Bob Neroni (owner of EVOO — Cannon Beach Cooking School, Catering, Specialty Foods and Wines) visualizes the end product.

"People are savvier about food and beverages these days — they're looking for the special extra effort that makes their parties sparkle," says Neroni.

To elevate his Wintry Eggnog Brandy Shake, Neroni replaces traditional nutmeg with the earthy flavor of ground coriander. He then rims classic martini glasses in cocoa powder before filling, and tops with white and dark chocolate curls.

"I love edible, functional garnishes like chocolate curls, candied orange and lemon peels and organic rose petals," he says. "They give your beverages that extra punch."

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