Mix up a holiday cocktail

The State (Columbia, S.C.)December 3, 2013 

A couple of weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to be a judge in the American Harvest Bartenders’ Challenge at City Roots urban farm in Columbia, S.C.

It was great fun for me and the other judges to be able to sample some creations from area bartenders featuring American Harvest vodka. After some serious deliberation, the winner of that contest (taking first and second place in the judges’ category) was Kristian Niemi of Bourbon and Rosso. Niemi’s Hayride (a mixture of pecan-infused American Harvest, Strohe Jagertee, and a syrup of Lazy Magnolia Jefferson Stout, maple syrup and orange bitters) took first place, and his Adrian Balbos (rosemary-infused American Harvest, cherry liqueur, cherry preserves and Fizz 66) placed second.

Joshua Streetman of Motor Supply won the people’s choice vote with his Harvest Aviation: American Harvest, Shady Grove Farms lemons and homemade maraschino cherries.

After the imbibing was done, I asked the bartenders to share their recipes for some holiday cocktails. Here are their offerings for the season.

The Turkey Dickel From chef Adam Cooke of Blackberry Farms, who has been working on the menu at Restaurant 17 at the new Hotel Domestique in Travelers Rest, S.C., where this drink is on the menu. 1 ounce George Dickel No 12 (white label) 1 splash Tim Burton’s Maple Syrup 3 dashes bitters 2 ounces hard cider Orange twist and candied cranberry, optional garnish

COMBINE all ingredients, except hard cider, and shake with ice cubes. Fine-strain into a chilled flute, top with hard cider and (optional) garnish.

Yield: 1 drink Seasons Greetings 4 to 5 ounces eggnog 1 ounce Meukow Vanilla Cognac 1/2 ounce Belle de Brilliet Pear Cognac Whipped cream Orange zest Grated nutmeg

RIM a standard Irish coffee glass with sugar. Steam eggnog. Add Meukow Vanilla cognac and Belle de Brilliet Pear Cognac to the glass and top with the steamed eggnog. Top with whipped cream and garnish with orange zest and fresh nutmeg. Consume.

Yield: 1 drink The Honeyed Cranberry Tart Fresh orange wedge 1/4 ounce honey Cinnamon Sugar 1 1/2 ounces Prichard’s cranberry rum 1/2 ounce ginger-infused vodka (see note below) 1/2 ounce apple cider Cranberries Orange twist

MUDDLE one orange wedge with the honey and a pinch of cinnamon and sugar. Add Prichard’s cranberry rum, ginger vodka and apple cider and shake. Pour over fresh ice into a rocks glass and garnish with frozen cranberries and an orange twist.

NOTE: How to infuse vodka: Finely grate 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger and add to one 750 milliliter bottle of unflavored vodka. Allow to infuse at least overnight.

Yield: 1 drink

You’re Nerdy Hot 4 to 5 ounces hot chocolate 1 ounce UV Whipped Cream Flavored Vodka 1/2 ounce Goldschlager Whipped cream Cinnamon Chocolate sprinkles

RIM a standard size Irish coffee glass with sugar. Steam you favorite hot chocolate. Add Goldschlager and UV Whipped Cream Vodka to the glass and top with the steamed hot chocolate. Add whipped cream and dust it with cinnamon and chocolate sprinkles. Consume.

Yield: 1 drink

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