Foolproof Holiday Cocktails

Just like baking and cooking, mixology is most often based on ratios and scientific formulas.  Luckily when making cocktails you don't have to worry about humidity or air pressure like when baking a soufflé.  Following the often used 3:2:1 ratio you can make a drink that tastes like you know what you are doing.  A few details to make note of:

1.  Use a spirit (Rum, Vodka, Whiskey, Bourbon) that is 40% ABV (alcohol by volume) or 80 proof.  Making your own infusions is the best way to go.  Infusing vanilla, cinnamon, toasted almonds, mint, or orange zest in a spirit for 3-10 days is easy.  Taste the infusion every other day or so and remove spices when you get the flavor you like, strain with a coffee filter or cheesecloth.  You can also use a nice bourbon, whiskey or rum that already has a great flavor profile if you don't want to infuse.    

2.  Use a liquor that is 20% ABV or 40 proof.  Kahlua, peppermint schnapps, chocolate or coffee liquor and many others work well.  

3.  Use a mixer that adds creaminess or a velvety mouth feel.  Cream, coconut milk, pasteurized egg whites and egg nog are all good options.   *You should only substitute this ingredient for citrus (lime, lemon, orange) if you are using liquors that do not contain cream or dairy.  

 From left to right: vanilla vodka with macadamia liquor and splash of cranberry juice, Brandy with Frangelico and egg white topped with nutmeg, spiced rum with kahlua and cream served warm.  

From left to right: vanilla vodka with macadamia liquor and splash of cranberry juice, Brandy with Frangelico and egg white topped with nutmeg, spiced rum with kahlua and cream served warm.  

1.5 ounces Spirit or Infused Spirit

1 ounce flavored Liqour

.5 ounce cream, egg white or coconut milk etc.   

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail or cordial glass.  Optional: top with fresh spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, or vanilla powder.   Bitters also add a nice touch to many variations of this recipe.

For a non creamy version of these recipes: replace the .5 ounce cream/egg white etc. with a splash of Cranberry, Apple Juice or White Grape Juice.  Shake well with ice and pour into chilled glass.  

*Do not use citrus juice or acidic ingredients in this recipe.