Up your seasonal party cocktails with original recipes from leading mixologists.
Michael Martensen and Jason Kosmas are young guns who have helped pioneer the craft cocktail scene in the Lone Star State.
Martensen is behind the cocktail programs at both The Cedars Social and Bar Smyth, as well as several others, in Dallas, and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of the city’s drinking scene (he’s been known to recite historical Prohibition-era anecdotes).
Kosmas, now based in Austin, mixed drinks at Dallas hot spots Neighborhood Services Tavern, Bolsa, and Village Marquee Grill & Bar before helping launch The Eighty Six Co. to create new brands of spirits. He also co-wrote Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined.
“Holiday cocktails are all about time, place, and occasion,” Kosmas says. “Whether with friends or family, a cocktail is a cherished moment to share in Texas.” Here’s to that.
This Texas-inspired tequila “Old-Fashioned” (pictured above) is deep and layered. Jason Kosmas prefers to use Rio Star grapefruits, which are the pride of Texas and have their season in the winter. This sipper is all about tequila with sweet and spice notes shining through.
2 ounces The Eighty Six Co. Tequila Cabeza
¾ ounce honey syrup (1 part honey, 1 part water)
¼ ounce anise, absinthe, or pastis
3 dashes grapefruit bitters
1 Rio Star grapefruit twist
1 star anise pod
Combine all ingredients except grapefruit twist and anise pod in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Pour into rocks glass with ice. Garnish with grapefruit twist and star anise.
Santa’s Little Helper
This “eggnog” is made with fresh apple cider in place of cream. Kosmas based the recipe on a forgotten Southern-style eggnog which was enjoyed without alcohol in the mid- to late 1800s.
1½ ounces Caña Brava rum
4 ounces fresh apple cider
1 whole egg
1½ teaspoons sugar
Nutmeg and cinnamon, freshly grated
Crack egg into a cocktail shaker and add cider, rum, and sugar. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with nutmeg and cinnamon.
Kosmas’ holiday “smash” combines flavors from throughout the holiday season into one drink.
1½ ounces Fords Gin
1½ ounces Berentzen Apple liqueur
¾ ounce lemon juice
1½ teaspoons sugar
10 whole fresh cranberries
2 thin slices of fresh ginger
Muddle ginger, cranberries, and sugar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Pour in remaining ingredients. Add ice and shake vigorously. Pour unstrained into a rocks glass.
The Bell Rock
“Jameson and mezcal is a fun pairing,” Michael Martensen says. “As is honey, strawberries, and black pepper. So, I figure, why not all five and make them sing together? This is a great cocktail for the holidays with light smoky notes combined with rich honey and fresh fruit.”
1 ounce Del Maguey Vida mezcal
1 ounce Jameson Irish Whiskey
½ ounce lemon juice
½ ounce honey syrup
Black pepper, freshly cracked
Muddle the strawberry in a cocktail shaker. Then add the rest of the ingredients except the black pepper. Shake hard, and then strain over ice into an Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with black pepper.
The Run Over
“The holiday flavors for me are spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice,” Martensen says. “Bitters has all of these. Sherry adds a nice nuttiness to the drink while drying it out, and the bourbon and brandy sweeten it nicely. It’s all about balance with this cocktail.”
1 ounce W.L. Weller 12 Year bourbon
½ ounce applejack brandy
¾ ounce manzanilla sherry
1 bar spoon simple syrup
2 dashes angostura bitters
Put everything except the orange rind in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir for 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the orange rind.
Read more about our picks for holiday cocktails here.
From the November/December 2013 issue.