CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As the holidays approach, many people plan to host parties, from intimate gatherings to large soirees. Wouldn't it be fun if you could wow your guests with some easy and interesting new drink concoctions?
The WV Style Team, in collaboration with the staff of the Bridge Road Bistro, has gathered up some of their new holiday favorites to provide you with the easiest ways to get your guests to sit up and take notice.
Brian Hutchison, bartender at Bridge Road Bistro, knows that everyone likes to try something new, especially around the holidays. He said the restaurant likes to change its drink specials four times a year to match the offerings to the seasons.
Hutchison also said you shouldn't be afraid to tweak your favorite holiday cocktail with flavored liquors and liqueurs.
"You can make almost anything with Bailey's Irish Cream. It is so delicious," Hutchison said. He also suggested modifying a cocktail with seasonal flavored vodkas. "Vanilla vodka and Grand Marnier are great for spicing up holiday drinks."
Bistro bartender Derek Palmer said his favorite holiday drink is traditional. "I like eggnog. You can always put brandy in it."
Your holiday drinks don't have to be complicated. You can stick with tradition, or you can mix up your favorite drink by adding holiday flavor.
Here are a few of the favorites from the WV Style Team and the bartenders at the Bridge Road Bistro:
Rosemary Champagne Cocktail
Submitted by Sarah Francke. "Here's a four-ingredient holiday drink recipe that is the simplest way to spruce up your favorite type of Champagne," Francke says. "Bonus: Most of these ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen." Serves 4 to 6.
1 ounce rosemary simple syrup per serving
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 large rosemary sprig
1 large bottle of Champagne
BRING the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan.
STIR until the sugar completely dissolves.
REMOVE from heat and add rosemary sprig. Let steep for two hours. Remove sprig.
COMBINE simple syrup and Champagne in the small pitcher (a large Mason jar also works).
ADD sprigs of fresh rosemary for garnish.
Submitted by Dennise Smith. "This is a Champagne-based cocktail that tweaks a classic Christmas drink, the Poinsettia," Smith says. "It uses pomegranate juice in lieu of cranberry, giving it a more intense ruby color and bigger fruit flavor. You can substitute pomegranate liquor for a bolder version, but reduce the quantity by 1/2 ounce or so to avoid making the drink too bitter from the alcohol." Serves 1.
1 to 2 ounces pomegranate juice
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
Cava, Prosecco or other sparking wine
Orange twist and pomegranate seeds for garnish
POUR the pomegranate juice and Grand Marnier into a champagne flute.
TOP with sparkling wine and add a few pomegranate seeds and an orange twist for garnish.
Candy Cane Martini
Submitted by Dennise Smith, originally published by William-Sonoma Kitchen. "This is a great holiday drink if you find too many of your other recipes are pink or bubbly," Smith says. "Skip the dessert and serve this cocktail with chocolate biscotti! Yum!" Serves 1.
1 ounce Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
1/2 ounce vanilla vodka
1/2 ounce peppermint schnapps
1 ounce half and half
Crushed candy canes for garnish
RIM a martini glass with crushed candy canes.