Okay, it’s been a week – I know. We met up with the one and only Kaiser Penguin last Friday and headed out to the Repeal Day Ball. Washingtonian has some coverage of it over here, and we got to run into a lot of people that we know and got to meet all kinds of new people as well, including LeNell Smothers, Tony Abou-Ganim and Jeffrey Morgenthaler.
(I tried to think up something witty to say there but alas, it was not to be. What I will say is that I made his eggnog recipe the other day and it was damn delicious. Of course, I also saw his coverage of Repeal Day and man, I need to learn how to pose for the camera like he’s learned so well to do…)
But enough about that. If you missed it, you missed out, ha ha! It was quite possibly the most fun party I’ve ever had in DC.
Back on topic. Earlier this week I was logging in to work where my browser, be default, goes to www.msn.com for whatever reason (possible reasons: I’m too lazy to change it, it is IE after all, PopCap.com would be too obvious). There they had a link to “95 Chic Cocktail Recipes for the Holidays”. Me being me, I felt compelled, after viewing a few of them, to go through and comment on EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM just for you, our loyal readers.
And because I’m such a nice guy, I’ll put it after the cut.
First off, a definition. I use the term “marketing cocktail” a lot in here. What do I mean by that?
What I consider a marketing cocktail involves the following aspects: It usually has a cute name that doesn’t identify the drink well (or at all), it’s made using very specific ingredients (or, at least, main liquor) by brand, and it is extremely unlikely that it is in any well-used bartending guides. A marketing cocktail may, over the years, become a mainstay of the cocktail world, but right now is used for advertisers to say: “Look at these cool drinks we make with our great stuff in exotic, cool bars”, for people to say: “It’s so cool to drink this drink” and for bartenders to say: “What the #%*! did you just order?!” and curse marketers.
Note that many bartenders will also specify brands, so as to make sure the drink tastes the same as when they make it, so telling what’s “Use OUR brand” versus “It needs to taste like this” is a matter of my own, personal judgment. And no telling if the bartender is paid by the companies involved…
Given that this IS “95 Chic cocktails” – alas.
- The Dijon Sidecar – basically a sidecar replacing the triple sec with creme de cassis. Interesting. I like the idea, might have to try it some time.
- Warhol Crush – this is right out of a Martini & Rossi press release I’ve already covered. I guess it looks Christmas-y with the rosemary and the red and stuff.
- Gingerbread apple cocktail – thank you for calling it a martini! It has vanilla vodka in it, so the cool kids might beat me up for saying this, but hey (whispering) it might be kind of tasty.
- Bailey’s Spiced Coffee – Bailey’s + pear flavored liquor, layered. Sure, whatever. Sounds like a marketing cocktail to me.
- Hot Buttered Rum – a classic recipe. Appropriate for the season.
- Bolshoi Basil – A number of these look like they were provided by Russian Standard Vodka (as they all call specifically for that vodka and, to me, appear to be marketing cocktails). Why vodka and basil in the winter?
- Cointreau Teese – definitely a marketing cocktail, leveraging Dita Von Teese and Cointreau. I have to admit, however, that I keep thinking “what if you used creme d’violette…”
- Bonbon of the Vanities – Another from Russian Standard, what’s with the crazy proportions (.85 oz? 2.7 oz?) and it’s basically “let’s dump a bunch of stuff together” kind of drink. And is it holiday themed or what?
- Banana Caipirinha – I hate bananas with a passion. Don’t see what this has to do with the holidays, either.
- Royal Fusion – More Russian Standard, more wacky proportions, more Greek references, no holiday references. Marketing cocktails unite! Form of…
- Grown Up Grape Soda – the slightly more rare “hotel” marketing cocktail, it appears. Where’s the holiday connection again?
- Mocha Nog Punch – at least this one has a holiday connection. It might be an MC but, then again, I tend to overly guess at that when vodka (aka poser fluid) is involved. (And this might be good! But it’s probably going to be made using store bought eggnog, ick. Maybe this would make the eggnog passable…)
- Basil Gimlet – this sounds really good. But am I missing something, and is basil a traditional holiday thing? I am confused.
- The Kasbah – another Russian Standard marketing cocktail with no connection I can tell with the holidays. Seriously. How much of this guide did the editors just cut and paste from press releases?
- The Flash – from the same place as the Basil Gimlet, I tried not to groan too loud when I saw “organic simple syrup”. Again, it sounds good, but what holiday connection does it have?
- Smoked Anise – this sounds really … weird. I’d like to try it, I think. And it seems kind of holiday to me, maybe it’s the garnish of a star anise.
- Bloody Martini – well, they say it’s perfect for holiday brunches, at least they tried! No attribution to the recipe, so maybe it’s a marketing cocktail from Belvedere (given the requirement for Belvedere Cytrus, too), but it might not be too bad.
- Bourbon Crusta – well, a really classic cocktail. It doesn’t seem holiday-ish, but for some reason, when I think about it, I think it’s the garnishing that makes me say “hey, I could see this at a holiday party.”
- Sweet Tail – another thing about marketing cocktails: putting one brand in all-capital letters. Yet another thing: describing in florid sales talk about how the liquor tastes. Since I’ve never had or even heard of “BULLDOG GIN” I have no idea if I could make this or how it’d taste. Again, to me, it screams “we didn’t bother to look at the cocktails, we just cut-and-paste”.
- Depaz Hottie – clearly a marketing drink (brand name in the name of the cocktail, usage of Depaz brands only in the ingredients) but it does evoke a holiday feel. And it’s not like you can go wrong with those ingredients.
- Lillypad – Another “I don’t know what this has to do with the holidays” drink but interesting idea – however, Lillet Rouge? Makes me think it’s a marketing one, who drinks Lillet Rouge? I thought it was always “Lillet Blanc, Dubonnet Rouge”. But maybe it’s good.
- Kiwifruit Lychee Sparkler – Kiwi and Lychee? A brand name kiwi something in the ingredients in all caps? Should I put a certain passage into my AutoText a la TMQ?
- French Martini – called thus because it’s…uh…vodka, Chambord, and pineapple juice? WHY CALL IT A MARTINI?! And blah blah blah “no holiday connection that I can see” blah blah.
- Cappucino Up – Probably a marketing cocktail. No real holiday connection. On the other hand, probably goshdamn delicious.
- Depaz Winter Mojito – well, see #20, but hey – it has winter in the name, too, and cranberries in it. So one for, one against.
- Mad Bellini – okay, it’s a Bellini variation. So…?
- Velvet Edie – See #2.
- Tinsel Bellini – marketing cocktail, no holiday connection except name, no connection really to a Bellini except champagne. Why not call it the “Kir Tinsel” or something?
- The Cavitini – a vodka martini, no vermouth, is called what class? That’s right. Straight vodka. Like the difference between the Gibson and the martini, this one is just garnished differently.
- PAMA Pine – Marketing cocktail with a holiday connection. And this one calls for 8 OUNCES OF LIQUOR! SERIOUSLY.
- Home Made Coquito – very interesting drink with a Puerto Rico/holidays connection. I wonder if it’s advertised by the people who make the “La Abuelita Coquito” mentioned below it…
- Wild Apple Pie – marketing cocktail. Straight American Honey with a garnish and rim. The flavors are vaguely holiday.
- The French Kiss – ignoring the lack of holiday, I’d make that for a lady who didn’t know what she wanted in a drink…
- Sazerac – possibly probably my favorite cocktail. I don’t see why it’s a holiday one, though.
- Sweet Standard – marketing cocktail. Says it’d be good by the fireside in winter. Okay.
- Chambord Manhattan – OH MY GOD A DRINK WITH BITTERS. Honestly, this one sounds like a legitimate Manhattan variation, though see Sazerac as per: holiday connections. Maybe just the Chambord is (which would explain #33).
- Cozy PAMA Cider – marketing cocktail with a winter/holiday connection. Okay.
- Eggnog – clearly the Mount Gay advertising version of eggnog. More cooking required than Morgenthaler’s. Might be better for large groups.
- Belvedere Sparkle – marketing cocktail, limited holiday connections (cranberries, I guess, and it’s red). Next.
- Versailles Cocktail – 1. RIM IT WITH WHAT?!?! 2. Probably a marketing cocktail. 3. WAITAMINUTE isn’t this a sidecar? IT IS ONLY WITH TOO MUCH LEMON JUICE. 4. Definitely a marketing cocktail, then.
- G’Vine Frost Bite – marketing cocktail, winter themed name, … lemon pepper zest?! Eh. Whatever floats your boat. Or bite. Whatever. (Given that I’ve greatly enjoyed black pepper gin rickeys, it’s really not that big a deal, and is probably tasty.)
- Cranberry Spice – huh. Neat idea. See cranberry re: holidays.
- Rum Butter Cider – I will ignore the Bols Butterscotch, or more importantly, my feelings on it. Sounds like a solid holiday idea. Very precise ingredients, but I wonder if that’s more the person who makes it wanting to keep it straight.
- Bohemian Cocktail – if I remember correctly, see #2.
- The Marie Claire Cocktail – okay, so this whole list is courtesy of Marie Claire, and I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this one is made FOR the magazine. I have to say that I like the idea of it and might actually consider making it. And it has bitters! Yay! However, past that – no holiday theme to it.
- La Roma – no real holiday theme, and one of my pet peeves – “juice of one lime” is maddeningly imprecise to me. That’s probably the big difference between bloggers and most bartenders – they are more likely to free pour and use counts, or use “1/2 lemon” or whatever, while bloggers often meticulously measure everything out.
- Absinthe Frappe – mmmmmm, tasty. I think more summer than winter on these but with the Kubler absinthe it kind of looks like snow! Also, this is an old school cocktail.
- The Flirtini – Hee hee hee, can I have one of those flirtinis? OH MY GOD it’s almost midnight we have to cheer and then kiss! (retch)
- French Bulldog – see #19.
- Raspberry Chocolate Cheesecake Martini – NO
- Cranberry Dram – holidays: has cranberries. Marketing cocktail: Probably not. Delicious: Quite possibly, I love me some allspice dram.
- Mexican Cosmopolitan – Holidays: no (well, splash of cranberry juice, but since they’re naming it after the Cosmo I’m DQ-ing that. My blog, my rules). Marketing cocktail: Maybe, let me check my Agavero material when I get home…nah, I’m too lazy.
- Mexican Coffee – But I’m getting very suspicious. Hello…Agavero.
- Delicious Night Blackberry Martini – NO NO NO.
- Bailey’s Cherry Cafe – Holidays? I’m not feeling it. Marketing cocktail? Probably. “Maraschino cherry juice”? Red food dye + high fructose corn syrup that has had reconstituted cherry balls soaking in it.
- Passion Potion – We jumped from 52 to 53 to…here…maybe?
- Crouching Tiger – Guess where my dragon is hidden? Sorry. No holiday connection, and – dunno. Sorry.
- Royal Pomme Punch – this one sounds disturbingly good…oh, it’s from PDT! Cool. The punch thing could work for parties, I guess, and it’s red. And bubbly.
- Spanish Cobbler – this in no way, shape, or form represents a holiday cocktail. But in summertime I bet it’d be good!
- Marnier Chocolate Bonbon – Another sign of marketing cocktails is often a lack of attribution to its creator. This one has that as well – but, to be honest, sounds pretty tasty.
- Ave’ Martini – okay, I get the joke. Cute name. I don’t know with the rest of it, however.
- Banana Flip – another PDT one, ewwww bananas, and whatever on the holiday connection, again, I don’t see it.
- Cinnamon Fig Martini – OH COME ON GUYS IT’S NOT EVEN CLOSE TO A MARTINI.
- Black Pearl – Scotch + Apricot + Pomegranate Sour syrup (what is that, even) does not equal HOLIDAYS.
- Brandy Bird – looks like a marketing cocktail, but they included how it fits in to the holidays and, well, I guess that’s about it. Interesting to have what is basically a shooter on here (so it appears).
- La Canne Creuse – I’m guessing marketing, given that the only specific ingredient is Pernod Absinthe, but it does seem like a pretty traditional cocktail. Again, though – for the holidays?
- Diamonds & Pearls – created by Charlotte Voissey (le sigh) and using Hendrick’s, so unfortunately – well, you know. But it doesn’t sound bad. Or Christmas-y.
- G’ingle Bell – marketing cocktail with a holiday related name and I really want to know what the G’vine Nouaison is! I like G’vine gin a good bit.
- The Ginger Caipirissima – Heh. Okay. Sure.
- Ginger Jubilee – maybe ginger is a holiday spice? I guess it is…that doesn’t mean EVERYTHING with ginger in it is a holiday thing, though.
- Hennessy Sidecar – marketing version of a classic with too much lemon juice.
- Winter Wonderland – a tasty sounding drink from a well-known bartender.
- Kahlua Mayan Passion – such a marketing cocktail that it has marketing speech at the bottom. Again, nothing with the holidays.
- Kobe Punch – I mean, I guess, holidays = parties = let’s have punch, and you have no idea how much I wanted to type “panties” in there at some point.
- Ginger Drop – AUGH WITH THE GINGER AGAIN. And nothing else, really.
- Merry Christi – am I losing my holiday buzz? Yes, this one works…the name is a play off the vodka it’s made with, too, and I’m starting to feel stabby. Only a few to go!
- Ginger Soju – (sobs uncontrollably)
- NAVAN Orchid Martini – (crawls into the fetal position under his desk)
- Vanille Bourbon – (pulls himself back up to his chair) … huh, that doesn’t sound bad…
- Cozy Cafe con Crema – (twitches) What’s “1 espresso” and how much is a “touch of Kahlua”?
- Chandon Fizz – calls for a specific kind of champagne but seems like an okay drink. Still – holidays people.
- Ruby Sipper – I wonder if they meant slipper. Sigh.
- Yuletide Punch – I only suggest it as a marketing drink thanks to the fact that they use the whole name of Sobieski, but other than that, seems to be fairly ok.
- Somerset Sidecar – another variation of a classic, this one by a fairly well-known bartender (see #72), and inspired by a holiday tradition. Okay.
- Spicy Pear Mojito – (head hits desk) IT DOESN’T EVEN USE *#%)!-ING RUM! IT HAS VODKA!
- Teddy Tini – (tears are flowing again) another chocolate martini sort of kind of drink hiding lots (over 3 oz) of liquor.
- Wall Street Crush – reminds me a bit of certain variations of the Old Fashioned, but with Marie Brizard Grand Orange, which I think is a triple sec (correct me if I’m wrong).
- The Pama Kiss – NO NO NO NO NO.
- Belvedere Tangerine Twist – at least it’s not called a martini.
- Minted Memory – ooo, a Pimm’s drink just in time for TDN tonight. And it’s Pimm’s night.
- White Russian – Obviously the “Russian Standard Vodka” version, and they carefully layer it. But why, for the love of Lebowski? And, like the previous one…two…three…four…five…six…seven…drinks, how does it relate to the holidays?
- Chambord & Champagne – Isn’t this just a Kir Royale?
- Purus Organic Rasputini – OH DEAR GOD NO
- Santiago Sun – Might be tasty, but kumquats + falernum do not equal holidays.
- Love on the Rocks – no, it’s straight Agavero on the rocks. What are we, back in the #50s?
And dear lord, is it over? IT IS!
So here’s the deal: Delish seems to claim the holidays cover Thanksgiving through New Year’s. That’s okay, though this wasn’t posted – or, at least, it wasn’t advertised as posted on MSN – until after Thanksgiving.
What’s Thanksgiving like, if we’re being gracious? Turkey, football…pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, etc.
Christmas is often more of the same, plus sweets and the such. Hanukkah – well, I don’t know.
One may argue that any cocktail that contains champagne can be considered a New Year’s cocktail but I call shenanigans on that.
And the thing is, it could just be “hey, these are the ‘hip’ and ‘cool’ and ‘radical’ cocktails out in the world right now” kind of thing, since it is “chic cocktails”, but they specifically listed it as “95 spirited drink recipes perfect for the holidays.” You would think, then, that they’re designed for the holidays, not just random ones like the Warhol ones or various tropical drinks.
So I’ve counted. Some drinks, like Sidecars and the bourbon crusta, are not specifically holiday drinks, but have that “feel” to me – I think the sugared rims help, but whatever, I’m willing to be open. I’m thinking of the big three holidays here (that I know, personally) Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, but Thanksgiving I’ll be tougher on. If I’m trying to have a holiday party, which of these would I have?
I did a rough count and tried to be generous. I counted 34 that I’d consider a “holiday” drink, and that means 61 weren’t.
But hey – 95 cocktails for the holidays sounds better than 34, I guess!
And if I think about it – the drink I’m making for a Christmas party is apple cider, applejack, Irish whiskey, and allspice dram, plus bitters. But I did try to include “apple” drinks in with the holiday ones…