As much as we love a festive glass of bubbly at this time of year, there is something special about having a well thought out and stunning cocktail in your hand at a holiday party. And let’s have some real talk for a minute here - sometimes we need something a little stronger than champagne during this crazy time of year. For when you’re not quite ready to serve your guests Fireball shots, we think that a bespoke cocktail is the perfect addition any holiday fete.
Cue: the experts. We sat down with the founder of Muddling Memories, a boutique experiential cocktail company, who walked us through his best hacks for serving cocktails at your next holiday party. Oh, and he created a bespoke cocktail for Bashed readers (and it’s freakin’ delicious).
So first things first, what makes a great cocktail?
A great cocktail really starts with balance. Finding the right balance of sweet, spice, sour, and spirit is no different than a well-composed dish at the dinner table. Much like with food, you always want to put love and soul into whatever you are mixing. I always start with flavor profiles that I love and then build from there. And want to know the best part of a great cocktail? Less chance of a hangover in the morning 🙂
What are the essentials that every hostess should have on-hand in their home bar?
I would say every home bar should have a good cocktail shaker, a jigger to measure what goes into the drink to keep consistency, a mixing glass, and bar spoon for spirit-forward classic cocktails, and bitters. Bitters are kind of like the “spice rack” of the bar. A vintage cocktail book is also a great addition in case you are unsure of what to make someone (and it also makes an awesome holiday gift).
What are your favorite hacks for creating and serving cocktails during the holiday party season?
A great decanter can make a $20 bottle of booze feel like a million bucks. My friends feel a little more special when I pour them a glass from a crystal decanter. I always recommend getting some sort of 2-inch ice molds for your drink so you can have quality ice that will not dilute your drink over time. Don’t have a cocktail shaker? Try using your protein shaker or a mason jar.
Why is it fun and festive to have a signature holiday cocktail at your soiree?
Nothing says fun with family and friends quite like a much-needed cocktail (especially needed during the holidays!). Traditions are a great way to bring family together and while we’re all used to the classic holiday foods, adding a cocktail at your party is a great way to “spice up” the old and try something new. I think creating a large punch is a fun idea to allow guests to be interactive and serve themselves. And let’s face it, your loving but awkward aunt will be much more tolerable after a few glasses of a holiday punch.
Tell us about Surviving The In-Laws, the custom cocktail that you created for Bashed readers!
This cocktail is full of flavors inspired by favorite holiday dishes such as peach cobbler, apple pie, and spiced cranberries. The drink is also really easy to make in a big batch, so you can spend less time prepping and have more time to devote to friends and family, which is really what this time of year is all about.
Surviving The In-Laws (a custom cocktail for Bashed readers)
25 ounces Spiced Rum (we prefer Sailor Jerry)
40 ounces Peach Nectar
20 ounces Fresh Apple Cider
24 ounces Ginger Beer
15 ounces Cranberry Juice
10 Lemon Wheels and 10 Orange Wheels, to garnish
Combine all ingredients into a punch bowl and fill with 2 ice trays full of ice. Stir all ingredients together and garnish with 10 lemon wheels and 10 orange wheels floating on top.