Traditional recipes

Sweet Hospitality Group's 'Holiday Spirit'

Sweet Hospitality Group's 'Holiday Spirit'

Sweet Hospitality Group, the premier concessionaire and caterers for on- and off-Broadway and private clients nationwide, has been adding its dramatic, delicious touch to theaters, parties, and events for nearly 30 years. In honor of the upcoming holiday season, their mixologist has created "Holiday Spirit," a unique cocktail that will have most anyone singing and dancing like Neil Patrick Harris at the Tony Awards in no time!


  • 2 Ounces 10 Cane Rum (or Bacardi)
  • 3 Ounces cranberry-fig shrub*
  • Ginger beer (or ginger ale)
  • Seltzer
  • 1 Ounce Ruby port

For the Cranberry-Fig Shrub

  • 1 Cup water
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 2 Cups unsweetened cranberry juice
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 10 dried black mission figs, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 Cup balsamic vinegar

The 29 Best Champagne Cocktails Worth Throwing a Party For

Champagne isn't just for celebrating (though it's great for that, too).

Though champagne is great to celebrate with, it's also so much more than that. The New Year's staple is a great base for spritz, or a margarita, or an adult punch, or any number of cocktails&mdashnot to mention, the classic mimosa (a personal favorite). It's time to see champagne in a whole new light, from two-ingredient recipes to more complex options. Allow me to present 29 champagne cocktail recipes from some of the world's best bartenders and champagne brands. Whip these out the next time you want to impress guests&mdashor just treat yourself. (Hot tip: Sub in prosecco instead of champagne if you're on a tight budget.)


8 oz. Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka

Orange slices, mint for garnish

Stir together pomegranate juice and Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka in a large punch bowl. Stir in champagne. Add orange slices and Arils. Serve garnished with mint and fruit. Serves 11.


45 ml Tullamore D.E.W. Original

2 Dash Angostura Orange Bitters

2 Barspoons White Granulated Sugar

30 ml Green Tea (Strongly Brewed)

In a shaker, add sugar, bitters, and green tea. Stir to dissolve sugar.
Add apple liqueur, Tullamore D.E.W., and ice. Hard shake and strain into a coupe glass. Top with chilled champagne and garnish with a fan of apples.

Courtesy of Tullamore D.E.W.


1 ¼ Cups chilled pomegranate juice

1 Bottle Mezza di Mezzacorona

1 Fresh pomegranate, seeded

Combine 1 ¼ cups of chilled pomegranate juice, 1 ½ oz of Cointreau Liqueur, 1 bottle of Mezza di Mezzacorona, ice, fresh pomegranate seeds and cranberries in a punch bowl. Serve in wine glasses.


1/2 oz. Rosemary Honey Syrup

1.25 oz. Ardbeg 10-Year-Old Scotch Whisky

Combine Ardbeg, lemon, and rosemary honey syrup in a shaker and add ice. Shake and strain into a coupe. Top with 3 oz. Chandon Brut. Garnish with rosemary & lemon peel.

*Rosemary Honey Syrup Recipe:

1/2 cup Fresh Rosemary Leaves, roughly chopped

2 cups Honey, clover or other mildly flavored

Pour honey and water into a saucepan and place over very low heat. Add rosemary leaves and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes, until mixture is fragrant. Remove pan from heat and let cool for 5 minutes. Using a fine mesh strainer, carefully pour the honey through a sieve. Discard the rosemary leaves. Let mixture cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Transfer rosemary honey to an airtight container. Add a sprig of fresh rosemary to the honey. Store at room temperature for 24 hours, then place in the refrigerator.


2 oz. Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel

3/4 oz. Honey Water (1:1 Honey to Water)

Add Mount Gay Rum Black Barrel, Fresh Lime Juice, Honey Water and Mint Sprigs to cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Fine strain into chilled coupe. Finish with float of Champagne and garnish with Mint Leaf.

Courtesy of Mount Gay Rum


3 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

Shake Cointreau, tequila, and lime juice with ice, and strain into a chilled flute. Top with Champagne and bitters. Garnish with a red rose petal.


1 1/2 oz. Oban 14 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Fresh Mint Sprig for garnish

Combine Oban 14 Year Old, peach puree, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain contents into a Coupe glass. Fill to top with champagne and garnish with fresh mint sprig.


1 oz. The Botanist Gin &ndash approx. 2 tablespoons

¼ oz. Fresh Lemon Juice &ndash approx. 1.5 teaspoons

½ oz. Lavender Syrup* - approx. 3 teaspoons

3 ¼ oz. Champagne &ndash approx. 6.5 tablespoons or 100ml

Combine all ingredients in a champagne fluteTop up with Champagne Garnish with sun-dried meyer lemon and edible flowers as garnish such as lavender blossom, violas or elderflower

*Lavender Syrup Recipe:

3 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers

Combine water and sugar in a pot and stir well so the sugar doesn&rsquot stick to the bottom. Bring to a low to medium simmer for 10 minutes ensuring all of the sugar crystals are dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in lavender flowers. Let flowers steep for 1 hourStrain syrup and discard flowers. After use store in the fridge to maintain freshness

Courtesy of The Botanist Greenhouse Pop-Up at Rosewood Sand Hill


3 dashes of grapefruit bitters

Chill 15 mL Aperol and three dashes of bitters and pour over ice in a large white wine or cabernet-style glass. Top with Ice Impérial and garnish with a grapefruit twist.


2 oz. Aviation American Gin

1/2 oz. Freshly pressed lemon juice

In a pint glass, muddle raspberries and mint. Next, add the spirits & mixers (through simple syrup). Then, fill with ice & shake vigorously. Finally, ffinely strain into an ice filled glass. Top with Brut Champagne. Garnish with a large mint sprig stuffed lemon wheel


1 1/2 oz. Talisker 10 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Combine Talisker 10 Year Old, fresh lemon juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well. Strain contents into a Flute glass. Fill to top with champagne and garnish with a twist.


1 tsp. St. George Pear Brandy

6 oz, chilled demi-sec Champagne

Coat the inside of a Champagne flute with pear brandy, then fill with bubbly. Garnish with thin slices of fresh pear. Festive, elegant, easy!

Courtesy of St. George&rsquos Spirits

1 oz. Nolet&rsquos Gin

1 oz. Giffard Pamplemousse

Combine the Nolet&rsquos Gin, Giffard Pamplemousse, Lillet Rosé, and Aperol, and pour into an AP wine glass. Next, add the Chandon sparkling wine. Top with regular ice and gently stir. Garnish with a grapefruit peel.

Courtesy of CATCH Hospitality Group


2 oz. of Seagram&rsquos Pineapple

Garnish with strawberry and citrus peel

Add everything to a shaker except the champagneShake then strain into champagne glassTop with champagne and garnish with strawberry and citrus peel.

Courtesy of Beautiful Booze


1 ½ parts St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur

Fill a tall Collins glass with ice. Add Champagne first, then St-Germain, then Club Soda. Stir completely and then garnish with a lemon twist.


1 bottle Health-Ade Pomegranate Kombucha, chilled

2 oz. Pomegranate Juice, chilled

2 oz. St. Germaine LiqueurPomegranate seeds/pariels, optional for garnish

In a pitcher, combine the Health-Ade Pomegranate Kombucha, champagne, St. Germaine, and pomegranate juice.Gently stir the drink and adjust the flavors as necessary to suit your taste.Add in pomegranate seeds to the mixture and allow to float on top.Fill four glasses with ice, and pour the cocktail over the top.Garnish with additional pomegranate seeds and edible flowers for fun.

Courtesy of Health-Ade Kombucha


1 1/4 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice

1 tsp. Elderflower Liqueur

Prepare fresh pomegranate juice, if necessary.* Stir all the ingredients over ice to chilled, and strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a food-grade rose petal or other edible flower if roses are not available. Serve and enjoy!

Courtesy of POM Wonderful


3 wheels English cucumber

In a mixing glass, muddle Hendrick's Gin, lemon, simple syrup and cucumbers. Ice, shake well and fine strain into a flute. Top with Champagne.

Courtesy of Hendrick&rsquos Gin


1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

1 tbsp. Luxardo Amaro Abano

Stir the cherry juice, Maraschino, bitters and Amaro in a mixing glass with ice. Strain into a cocktail coupe and top with Champagne. Garnish with a sprig of thyme.


Pour Chambord into a flute glass. Top with champagne. Finish with the raspberry.


2 0z. Red Brussel Sprout Extract

Build lemon juice, ginger syrup and vodka into shaker. Shake and strain into coupe glass. Top with champagne. Float Jägermeister and red Brussel sprout extract on the top of the drink. When combined with the citrus, the extract changes from blue to ultra violet.


1/2 oz. Patrón Citrónge Orange

4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

3 dashes Angostura Bitters

3 oz. Champagne+ Orange peel for garnish

Stir together tequila, Citrónge, and bitters in a chilled champagne glass. Top with cold champagne or sparkling wine. Garnish with a long twist of orange peel.

Courtesy of Patron Extra Anejo


Muddle 6 raspberries or .5oz Raspberry LiquorShake and strain over ice and top with sparkling wine. Garnish with lemon peel and raspberries.


2 oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice

Combine grapefruit juice, lime juice, and tequila in a glass. Stir and add ice. Pour in champagne and gently stir again. Add fresh Grapefruit and orange slices and rosemary spring for garnish.

Courtesy of Tres Agaves Organic Blanco Tequila


Peels of 3 lemons and 1 orange

Juice of the peeled lemons and orange

1 liter of strong, unsweetened tea (preferably green tea)

Muddle sugar and citrus peels in the bottom of a large punch bowl.Let sit for about 2 hours (Optional but will add flavor.) Stir in the juice of the peeled fruit, tea and Maker's Mark Bourbon leaving the citrus peels in the bowl. Top the punch bowl with champagne just before serving. Stir gently. Ladle into serving glasses over ice and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Courtesy of Maker's Mark Bourbon.


1/2 oz Moet & Chandon Champagne

Pour NOLET&rsquoS Silver, lemon juice, and Grand Marnier into a mixing glass with ice. Shake well. Strain into a Champagne flute. Top with Champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Courtesy of NOLET's Silver Gin


20 ml Hysterie Liqueur-Passion Fruit, Curry Leaf, Turmeric Powder

30 ml Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut

Combine all ingredients together-Let rest overnight, coffee filter strain-Serve over ice block into a martini glass-Top up with Perrier-Jouet Champagne

Courtesy of Scarfes Bar at Rosewood London


1 oz. Finlandia Grapefruit vodka

1/2 oz. St Germain Elderflower liqueur

2 oz chilled Q Grapefruit Mixer (Tony uses Q specifically for its VERY high carbonation levels and its drier, less sweet flavor profile &ndash it&rsquos sweetened with organic agave nectar rather than sugar or high fructose corn syrup)

In an ice-filled large wine glass add Finlandia Grapefruit and St Germain, stir to chill. Spritz with chilled Q Grapefruit and champagne, stir once. Garnish with white edible flowers and slices of Ruby Red grapefruit.

Courtesy of Tony Abou Ganim, Libertine Social House in Las Vegas, NV.


3 parts Jägermeister spritz batch

1½ parts Champagne/sparkling wine

Build in wine glass, add 5 or 6 ice cubes. Garnish with thyme, star anise, and orange zest.

Created by Brian Prugalidad at Campfire Restaurant in Carlsbad, CA.

For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter.

“I love to bake a warm loaf of bread before my friends and family come over for the holidays, because it makes your house smell amazing when they walk in the door," says Elizabeth Stein, CEO of Purely Elizabeth. "A slice of this Apple Streusel Bread is perfect with your morning coffee, as an afternoon snack, or even as dessert paired with some ice cream.” A trick for making it perfect? “When making the caramel drizzle, I would make sure to use a creamy nut butter, so you get a smooth consistency that matches a classic caramel texture,” she adds. For the complete recipe, check out page 15 of her 2020 Purely Holiday magazine.

“This carrot soufflé recipe is inspired by Chasen’s, which was an iconic old Hollywood restaurant," Jonathan Grahm, CEO of Compartés Chocolatier, explains. "This is a unique carrot dish, made with brown sugar. I use cornflakes and butter to create the amazing, crunchy sweet topping. The bottom of this soufflé is creamy and fluffy — tastes almost dessert-like.” For a version based on Chasen's dish, try this recipe.

20+ Tasty Holiday Cocktails Sure to Get You in the Festive Spirit

&lsquoTis the season to enjoy festive traditions, and what's a better way to celebrate than by making a creative cocktail? Whether you&rsquore attending an Ugly Christmas Sweater party over Zoom or hosting Chanukah dinner at home with your intimate family, these delicious drinks will be sure to get you and your loved ones in the holiday spirit(s). What's better, playing bartender has never been easier. You can whip up a batch of many of these delicious drinks in two shakes.

No matter what you&rsquore celebrating, you'll love our range of recipe offerings here. Craving the warming wallop of a hot toddy? Or maybe the tart, sophisticated tickle of a champagne cocktail? We've got you. These 23 holiday cocktails will keep the party going all winter long.

If you're looking for more great drinks to fill your glass, check out our apple cider cocktails, coffee cocktails, classic cocktails, and decadent hot chocolate upgrades (yum).

5 Festive Cocktails to Close Out the Year

The year – and decade – may be coming to a close, but we wanted to leave you with some fun and festive cocktails to celebrate with on New Year&aposs Eve (or any time of year, really!). Several local Fairfax County mixologists and bartenders have selected some of their favorite holiday cocktail recipes to share with you.

If you give these a try, be sure to share your photos and reviews with us on social media using #FXVA and @VisitFairfax.

Happy New Year to you from all of us here at Visit Fairfax!

Christmas Bourbon Ramble Assaggi Osteria & Pizzeria (McLean)

2 oz. • fresh cranberry juice

Combine ingredients. Add a dash of ginger and top with fresh cranberries.

Keep the holiday spirit flowing with this fresh and festive cocktail from beloved McLean staple Assagi Osteria. Try your hand at home, or order for indoor/outdoor seating or takeout! 

The Krampus Trummer’s Restaurant (Clifton) by Stefan Trummer

1 oz • housemade chestnut orgreat

1 • splash of simple syrup

The Krampus is a dark, mean demon who tortures children who misbehave around Christmas. In Austria, the Krampus goes door to door seeking out the bad kids and taking them with him. St. Nicolas follows, rewarding well-behaved children with gifts. The cocktail is strong and a bit mean - yetꃞlicious - in honor of the Krampus.

Jingle Juice Maggie McFly’s (Springfield)

2.5oz •Mt. Defiance Rum (Middleburg, VA)

Combine rum, ginger beer, and cranberry juice. Stir. Top with champagne and garnish with orange slices.

Don&apost miss Maggie McFly&aposs Happy Hour where you can enjoy some food and drink specials from Monday - Friday, 3-6 pm.

Cranberry Sauced 2941 Restaurant (Falls Church) by Nikki Drake

Image courtesy 2941 Restaurant

1 oz • Pratt Standard Cranberry Orange syrup

1 • dash orange bitters (we suggest Regan’s)

In a shaker, combine all ingredients except Cava. Shake with ice and double strain into a coupe. Top with Cava. Garnish with cranberry skewered on a sprig of rosemary. Cheers!

Warming Toddy Cocktail Mount Vernon Inn (Mount Vernon) by Oliver Pluff

1.5 oz • George Washington’s Straight Rye Whiskey® per mug

1 • Lemon Ginger Hot Toddy Kit

1. Open the toddy kit and fill provided spice bag with about 1 tablespoon of spices, then securely tie with provided string.

2. Steep spices in boiling water for 5 minutes, then remove spice bags from the pot.

3. While spices are steeping, prepare your mugs by adding 1 teaspoon (more or less to taste) of honey and one shot of whiskey.

4. After removing spice bags, carefully pour the steeped liquid into each mug and stir with a cinnamon stick (provided in the toddy kit).

George Washington’s Straight Rye Whiskey and the Lemon Ginger Hot Toddy Kit available from the Shops at Mount Vernon.

Want more recipes? Did you miss our favorite Apple & Pumpkin beverage recipes here? Check out several other chef favorites here. Take a Chocolate Safari through Fairfax County restaurants. Want to make reservations at these or other Fairfax County restaurants? Check out a list of options here. Want more holiday and winter fun ideas? We&aposve got that too. 

Share your favorite recipes or show off your fab creations in the comments below or on social media using #FXVA and @VisitFairfax.

Related Articles

“A lot of bars dress up to look holiday-centric, but nobody really gets into the spirit like this in San Francisco,” Luciano says. “It’s just Union Square and shopping. We wanted to create an experience.”

You can create similar experiences at home by whipping up a punch bowl of The Alembic‘s Tequila Eggnog. Bartender Zakai Arnowitz has been perfecting his nog over the years, and this one, which features sherry and Curaçao in addition to freshly grated nutmeg, might be his best yet.

“The sherry has this really nutty quality and I think tequila works well with that,” he says, adding that the orange flavor in the Curaçao is also a great match for tequila. “I’ve had tons of people tell me it’s the best eggnog they’ve ever had.”

Now Arnowitz and the other cocktail wizards are sharing their recipes:

Tequila Eggnog

1½ teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg

6 ounces tequila reposado

2 ounces dry Curaçao (The Alembic uses Pierre Ferrand)

In a stand mixer, beat the eggs until smooth, then slowly add the sugar, beating until it dissolves. Add nutmeg and pour in the liquids, mixing until fully incorporated. Refrigerate overnight. Serve in a large punch bowl.

— Recipe courtesy of Zakai Arnowitz, The Alembic, San Francisco

Pecan Flip

5 ounces Amontillado sherry

1/2 ounce Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale

Shake everything in a cocktail tin filled with ice. Double strain into a glass coupe and top with cinnamon.

— Recipe courtesy of Shaher Misif, Deck the Halls, San Francisco

Blood Orange Sparkler

Celebrate with a Blood Orange Sparkler from Nick Mautone’s “Holiday Cocktails.” (Courtesy of Lauren Volo)

3 teaspoons sweet vermouth

750-milliliter bottle sparkling wine, chilled

Blood orange, cut into ¼-inch slices, for garnish

Using a sharp knife, cut off and discard the ends of the blood orange. Stand it upright on a cutting board and slice the rind and white pith off the fruit using a gentle downward sawing motion, cutting away as little of the flesh as possible. Discard the rinds.

Cut the fruit crosswise into ½-inch slices. Divide the slices evenly among six wineglasses. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon sugar into each glass and muddle to extract the orange juice. Add ½ teaspoon vermouth to each glass and stir.

Divide the sparkling wine evenly among the glasses, stir, garnish each with a blood orange slice and serve.

— Excerpted from “The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cocktails” by Nick Mautone (Workman, 2017)

Pumpkin Cider

Twelve 1-inch cubes pumpkin or butternut squash

64 ounces fresh apple cider

12 ounces Calvados or applejack

Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

Nick Mautone, author of “The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cocktails,” is the managing director for New York’s iconic Rainbow Room.

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter, sugar and pumpkin. Sauté the pumpkin, turning it regularly, until the sides have become slightly caramelized, about 8 minutes. If you feel the pumpkin becoming soft, remove the pan from the heat to avoid overcooking.

Stir in the cider and spices. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring regularly, until hot. Remove the cinnamon sticks. Stir in the rum and Calvados. Ladle into coffee cups or Irish coffee mugs, sprinkle nutmeg on top and serve.

— Excerpted from “The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cocktails” by Nick Mautone (Workman, 2017)

Fa La La La La, La La La La

1 ounce Cardamom Vanilla Syrup (see recipe below)

2 drops orange flower water

Add all ingredients except the club soda and lemon to a cocktail shaker and dry shake (i.e., shake without ice). Then fill the shaker with ice and shake well.

Double strain cocktail into a Collins glass with two ice cubes. Top with soda. Zest lemon over top of glass and serve.

Cardamom Vanilla Syrup

Note: This makes about 70 ounces of infused simple syrup. To divide the recipe, simply use equal parts sugar and water, and add cardamom, vanilla and orange peel to taste.

2,000 grams (about 70 ounces) sugar

60 grams green cardamom pods, crushed and opened

1 whole vanilla bean pod, split open

Peel (no pith) of two oranges

In a pot, bring the sugar, water, crushed cardamom pods and split vanilla pod to a boil simmer for 7 minutes. Remove pot from heat and add the orange peel. Let cool, then let rest for at least 6 hours or overnight. Strain and bottle.

Additional items to consider:

Need a baking set that offers reliability, value, and performance all at once? Opt for this chic rose gold 3-piece set that will leave you blushing.

Sick of heavy knives that are uncomfortable to use? Turn to this 15-piece lightweight set that's perfect for slicing, dicing, chopping, and carving. Plus, it even includes a hollow handle block that will look sharp on any kitchen counter. View Deal

This strong, non-rust 3-piece wire whisk set will be an everyday essential in any kitchen. Made of highly durable steel, the included 8", 10" and 12"inch whisk is lightweight and even easier to use. View Deal

9 Classic Cocktails You Should Know How to Make, According to Pros

Bartenders, bar managers, and chefs share the cocktails that drink-lovers should commit to memory.

Perhaps over the past year, when going to an actual bar hasn&apost always been possible, you&aposve filled out your home bar. You may have already mastered a few classic cocktails, but if you&aposre looking to round out your repertoire, try getting some inspiration from the pros. That way you can impress guests when it&aposs safe to have people over again (and you can impress yourself any night of the week).

We spoke with bartenders, bar managers, and chefs about the cocktails they think everyone should have in their repertoire. Here&aposs a great place to start:


"It is such a great classic with three simple ingredients. However, most people just don&apost get it right. Some shake it when it should be stirred and some others can&apost get the specs right. When it comes to making a great cocktail, measuring is very important." — Roberta Scampoli, Bar Manager at Dirty Habit DC


"I would definitely say you&aposve got to learn how to make a classic daiquiri. I like mine with aged Jamaican rum. It&aposs delicious, easy, refreshing, and still sophisticated. The perfect warm weather drink for any occasion." — Gerald Addison, JBF Semifinalist and Co-Owner/Co-Executive Chef of Bammy&aposs

"For a lot of people, including myself as a kid, a sweet blended daiquiri, usually flavored (virgin strawberry daiquiri was my vacation drink of choice) is what people think of when they hear the name. But a true daiquiri is a balanced and dry cocktail that showcases rum, our favorite spirit at Rolo&aposs. The world of rum is wide and runs the gamut between dry, funky and grassy like the Agricole&aposs of Martinique and the Clairin&aposs of Haiti, all the way to the super-rich aged demerara Rums of Guyana that have brown sugar and molasses flavors. They&aposre also consistently the best value spirits out there. Some of the best Rums cost a fraction of a mid range whiskey. A daiquiri is just three ingredients: rum, fresh lime, and a touch of sugar to balance the citrus. The key is all in the finesse and balance and that&aposs why it&aposs a great one to learn. At Rolo&aposs, we make our daiquiri with a house rum blend that combines a whole range of rums to create a kaleidoscope of flavors, paired with just enough turbinado sugar syrup to balance the lime flavor. You can play with the styles of rum forever. If you&aposre using a richer sweeter rum, cut back on the sugar. If you&aposre using a dry, grassy rum blend, maybe use a touch more sugar to balance." — Ben Howell, beverage director and partner at Rolo&aposs in Queens, NY

'Nut' Your Average Eggnog: Why You Should Make Dairy-Free Nog This Year

Nothing says "Happy Holidays" quite like a cup of eggnog. It's spiced, it's sweet, and if you've been naughty, it's spiked. We can perfectly remember the sticky, mouth-coating taste of the store-bought jugs of our youth. It's a tradition we look forward to every year, but we've also got to admit: We usually max out at a few sips. "It's like drinking straight crème Anglaise," says Claire Saffitz, Bon Appétit assistant food editor, who developed a recipe for a lighter, dairy-free nog sweetened with agave.

A traditional eggnog is custard-like in consistency, made with egg yolk, sugar, nutmeg, cream and/or milk, and a spirit like rum or bourbon, if you're in that kind of mood. It's rich and creamy and holds a special place in our hearts. But when you consider the fact you're casually sipping on custard, it loses a little of the appeal. So when Saffitz was tasked with creating a party-friendly nog recipe for this year's holiday season, she decided to play around with tradition. The new nog is made with DIY nut milk from cashews and hazelnuts, and is given a big flavor boost with the addition of cinnamon, star anise, cloves, and orange zest (purists can rest easy freshly-grated nutmeg still makes an appearance as a garnish). A generous cup of rum goes into the mix because, well, why not? Because nog tastes better when served from a punch bowl—that's a fact—this punch should be served with a ladle and finished with soft, dreamy peaks of sweet meringue.

Although you can use pecans or almonds in place of the hazelnuts, the cashews are a must. Their meaty texture and high fat content mimics the cream in a traditional eggnog, giving the drink body and heft without all the dairy. Saffitz had originally intended on developing a horchata-style drink, but ultimately nixed the rice, which gave it a gritty texture. Still, inspired by the Mexican influence, Saffitz swapped out sugar for agave syrup, which also dissolves easier in liquid than granulated sugar. Saffitz prefers spiced rum to liven things up, because the flavors complement the cinnamon, star anise, and cloves.

Switching dairy for nut milk not only makes this drink vegan-friendly (skip the meringue topping, if that's your aim), it adds an earthy sweetness to the punch that makes up for the lack of sugar. And while you can certainly purchase nut milk—we're big fans of the homemade version—if you're going to make a homemade nog, you might as well go all the way.

We know a thing or two about the perfect steak, but it's not all we hang our hats on. Whether you're in the mood for chicken, fish or lighter vegetarian fare, we've got something to please every palate.

Stuffed chicken breast

roasted double breast, garlic-herb cheese, lemon butter

Garlic Crusted Sea Bass*

tender fillet, topped with a panko garlic crust & lemon butter

Sizzling crab cakes Entrée

three jumbo lump crab cakes, sizzling lemon butter

Watch the video: Dream Theater - The Spirit Carries On from Distant Memories - Live in London (January 2022).