Category Archives: Beverages

A Twist on New Year’s Bubbly – Cocktails

champagne With only about a day left, I thought I’d put my little two cents in on that oft-written about bubbly beverage of choice for New Year’s Eve bacchanalias.

With so much out there about what champagne to get, I’m not going to go there, but if you need help picking a bottle, the Seattle P-I ran a decent primer on sparkling wines . And your local wine proprietor can definitely help.

What I’m blogging about today are champagne cocktails.

You can stick with one recipe for the night, or try what I did for a party a few years back: let your guests mix a variety.

I searched out a bunch of champagne cocktail recipes and picked out ones that matched the contents of my liquor cabinet. With each recipe, I created little drink stations around the house. I created standard-sized paper recipe cards for each, pasted it on nifty-looking stock paper, colored little pictures on it (I was in some kind of weird crafty mood) and stuck it up on the wall above a collection of ingredients, cups and napkins.

It worked out perhaps a little too well. One thing to note: definitely have your guests get a cab or a designated driver or they’ll be sleeping on your sticky floor or in odd, uncomfortable positions on your living room chairs.

Here are a few of the favorite cocktail recipes from that party:

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Good Drinks to Get Stuck In the Snow With

In the past week, I’ve found plenty of folks are using all that time at home, stuck in the snow, as a good excuse to take in a nip here, and a nip there. The couple times I passed by a liquor store, one in Seattle and one in Bremerton, people have definitely decided a bottle is among their necessary snow provisions. I’m not judging, I’ve had my own share of hot-buttered rum and cocoa spiked with peppermint schnapps.

I tried calling the state liquor control board to see if there was any spike in sales, but I haven’t heard back yet. So, I decided instead to share a few warm drink recipes I found online.

Plus, I felt this was a good excuse to share a really cute snow/drink photo I saw in our reader-submitted photo gallery.
Misty Winter Warmer


It makes four quarts, and brews up in a 30-cup coffee maker

1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves
4 cinnamon sticks
2 quarts cranberry juice
46 ounces pineapple juice
2 cups Canadian Mist whisky
4 1/2 cups water

Place the brown sugar and spices in the pot basket of a 30-cup coffee maker. Add juices, water and whisky to the pot. Brew like coffee and serve hot, right from the pot. How easy is that?

Bourbon Furnace


After you’ve been out romping in the woods, and while the kids are slurping up hot cider, here’s a little concoction that the grown-ups can enjoy.


6 oz. hot apple cider
three whole cloves
one stick of cinnamon
1 1/2 oz. bourbon

Pour cider and bourbon into a stemmed mug. Garnish with cloves and cinnamon. Serve immediately.

Hot Baked Apple Toddy


2 oz apple whiskey
1/4 baked apple
1 tsp honey
hot water
cinnamon stick for garnish

1. Place the baked apple into a warm Irish coffee glass.
2. Add whiskey and dissolve sugar in the mix.
3. Top with hot water and stir.
4. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

A Warm, Creamy Cup of Cocoa

CocoaI had mentioned on Twitter this weekend that I was going to make some real hot cocoa, not the kind that you mix up with water (though that can be really good if you pour in enough Irish Cream). And very kindly, rkruzan from Kitsap shared a great recipe with me.

So last night, as I enjoyed our newly hung lights and took photos of my Christmas tree and listened to the Vince Guaraldi Trio (think Charlie Brown, courtesy of another Twitter suggestion), I tried the recipe. The result was a lightly sweet, creamy and ultimately comforting concoction. The whip cream topping adds a nice little change to it. I should have been more patient about whipping my cream, so you’ll see there isn’t a nice dollop in my photo, but it sure still tasted pretty good.

Without further wait, here’s the recipe as shared:

Patient Hot Chocolate
The recipe is easy. Making it requires patience. Even when sped up, it can take a while, but to me it seems to taste better when made slowly and patiently. The recipe uses Abuelita, a dark chocolate with large sugar crystals and cinnamon. It is incredibly flavorful without being too sweet. To top it off I use a homemade whipped cream with a special touch.

For the cocoa:

Cocoa1 quart saucepan
a metal or wooden whisk
1 round of Abuelita chocolate (in most ethnic food aisles, 6 in a box)
milk enough for 4 mugs

For the topping:

1 cup of cold whipping cream
1 tablespoon of sugar
1 tablespoon of Kahlua


Place one round in the pan, leave whole. Slowly melt just under medium heat. This chocolate doesn’t puddle out like chocolate you’re used to. It will hold it’s shape, but soften. Check for softness often. When you can press the whisk through it, adStirring cocoad 1/2 cup of milk and begin whisking it. Bring the temp up as you whisk but do not boil, if it starts to bubble, back it off a little.

You need to whisk frequently, the large sugar crystals in this chocolate will dissolve and smooth out as the milk warms but you want to keep it moving.

When there are no large pieces and it no longer has a gritty feel, stir in the rest of the milk and bring up to serving temp. This can take about 20 minutes overall.

To finish, add all three ingredients together and use a handheld beater to make the whipped cream. Add just a dollop on top of each hot cup. Enjoy.