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Holiday Style

5 holiday drink recipes

Party-worthy cocktails from some of the Boston area’s top bartenders.

Dave Bradley
Dave Bradley

1. JACKSON CANNON / The Hawthorne, Boston

> The Hotel Commonwealth, 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 617-532-9150,


Makes 1

2 teaspoons ground coffee

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 egg

2 tablespoons salted rooibos syrup (see recipe)

2 ounces King’s Ginger

1 dash of Angostura bitters

Ice cubes

¼ cup seltzer

Combine the coffee and spices in a small bowl and set aside. In a shaker, shake the egg, rooibos syrup, King’s Ginger, and bitters, then add ice and shake drink again. Pour the seltzer into a chilled tall glass and top with the egg-syrup mixture. Add a pinch of the coffee and spices mix and serve (refrigerate the rest and use to top hot buttered rum). Note: This drink contains a raw egg.


HOW TO MAKE SALTED ROOIBOS SYRUP Steep 8 tablespoons loose rooibos tea in 2 cups of almost-boiling water for 5 minutes. Remove tea leaves, add 1 16-ounce bag of sugar, and stir until sugar dissolves. Add 2 (or more, to taste) pinches sea salt. Keep syrup in the refrigerator.

Dave Bradley

2. ADAM FOSS / Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen, Boston

> 604 Columbus Avenue, Boston, 617-536-1100,


Serves 10 to 12

Use Cortland, McIntosh, or Red Delicious apples.

3 apples, cored and sliced

1 cinnamon stick

3 vanilla beans, split

1 nutmeg, crushed with a mallet

1¼ liters bourbon

Orange bitters, for serving

Simple syrup, for serving, optional

Place apple slices into a large jar with a lid and add spices. Pour bourbon over apples, seal jar, and store in refrigerator to infuse for at least 3 weeks, shaking the mixture every 3 to 5 days. The morning of your party, strain the infusion through cheesecloth, discarding the solids. Serve straight up or on the rocks with a dash of orange bitters and, if desired, a splash of simple syrup.


INSTANT GLAMOUR You can make any plain liquor-based drink — rum and Coke, vodka and cranberry — holiday party-ready by adding a splash of liqueur (St-Germain is a good choice) or classic aperitif (Aperol, Lillet) or aromatic bitters.

Dave Bradley

3. ELIZABETH POWELL / ArtBar, Cambridge

> Royal Sonesta Hotel Boston, 40 Edwin Land Boulevard, Cambridge, 617-806-4122,


Serves 10 to 12

2½ cups spiced apple cider

2½ cups camomile tea

1¼ cups honey

5 ounces good brandy

5 ounces Laird’s Applejack

5 ounces Madeira

Freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg, for garnish

1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced, for garnish

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the cider, tea, and honey until warm. In a punch bowl, combine the brandy, applejack, and Madeira, then add the warm cider mixture and stir. Garnish with cinnamon, nutmeg, and apple slices and serve warm.

4. SAM TREADWAY / Backbar, Somerville

> 9 Sanborn Court, Somerville, 617-718-0249,

Dave Bradley


Makes 1

This is a twist on the classic cocktail Mamie Taylor, named after turn-of-the-last-century Broadway actress Mayme Taylor. Treadway’s preferred liqueur here is St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram. He uses Dewar’s 12-year-old Scotch for this drink, but another nice blended whiskey will do.

Ice cubes, for shaker and glass

2 ounces Dewar’s 12 Blended Scotch Whisky

¼ ounce St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

¼ ounce Laphroaig or another smoky single-malt whiskey

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Dash of Angostura bitters


Ice cubes

1/3 cup ginger beer

Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and add Dewar’s, Allspice Dram, Laphroaig, lime juice, and bitters. Shake until well blended. Fill a Collins glass with ice. Strain into the glass, top with ginger beer, and garnish with nutmeg.

5. VIKRAM HEGDE / Island Creek Oyster Bar, Boston

> The Hotel Commonwealth, 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, 617-532-5300,

Dave Bradley


Serves 10 to 12

4 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon white peppercorns

2 whole star anise

2 bottles fruit-forward red wine

1 orange, sliced into wheels

1 cup turbinado or demerara sugar

8 fresh sage leaves, tied into a sachet

8 ounces ruby port

4 ounces cognac

Freshly grated nutmeg or mace, for garnish

Place the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, peppercorns, and star anise into a dry saucepan and toast over medium heat, stirring frequently, until spices become aromatic, about 2 minutes. Stir in the red wine, orange wheels, and sugar and heat gently, stirring, until sugar dissolves and wine mixture is hot but not boiling, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and add the sage, port, and cognac. Let sit for 5 minutes, remove sage sachet, and ladle into warmed glasses or mugs. Garnish with grated nutmeg or mace.

HOT STUFF To heat glasses before serving, simply fill with boiling water for 1 minute, dump out, and fill with the wine.

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