It's almost Christmas, I can't believe it! We have so much going on this weekend! With family in town, all the baking, cooking and preparing for family meals that needs to happen, and the cleaning, I've barely had time to think about anything else. That said, I wanted to make a cocktail for the blog this week that everyone can enjoy for the holidays and was easy to put together with ingredients most people have around the house this time of year.
This week's cocktail is a favorite of mine. I designed it a few years back for a Christmas event I did with The Macallan in New York. It's light, refreshing, and so easy to make. This drink falls into the "Smash" category of drinks. The Smash is a drink category that most closely resembles a Julep. In fact, the rule of thumb is, every smash is a julep, but not every julep is a smash. Typically it contains a base spirit, herbs, fruit that is in season, sugar, and ice.
For this smash, I decided to use cranberries as my "fruit that is in season". I had a bunch of them left over from a cocktail event I was catering that was cancelled due to the snow here in Portland. - P.S. Portland shuts the f@ck DOWN when it snows!! They have zero ability to take care of the roads here, so you just have to suck it up and walk, or stay inside, unless you have a vehicle with 4-wheel drive. - I turned a bunch of my leftover cranberries into syrup, but still had a lot of fresh ones as well.
Using the fresh cranberries and muddling them into the drink gives a snappy bite to the cocktail, and I prefer it to using a syrup in this drink. The muddled basil adds a mellow herbaceous quality to the drink that I just love. I think it's a great alternative to the heavy cocktails that you typically find this time of year (are you sensing a theme here?). I hope you'll try it out and let me know what you think.
The Holly & The Ivy
- 2 oz Macallan Fine Oak 10 Year (Highland Park 12 is also a great option)
- 1 oz Lemon Juice
- 1 oz Simple Syrup
- 5-6 Fresh Cranberries
- 2-3 Fresh Basil Leaves
Muddle all ingredients except whiskey in a mixing glass. Add whiskey, shake with ice and double strain into an old fashioned glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a basil sprig and 2 cranberries.