Easy cocktails for your holiday parties

Cranberry Kir Royale (4 servings)

2 cups frozen cranberries, plus ½ cup for garnish

¼ c sugar

2 T orange juice

1 t orange zest

1 bottle champagne

Add cranberries, orange juice, zest and sugar to a large pan over medium heat-until berries break down slightly and liquid is syrupy. Pour into a blender and process – be careful because hot liquid expands when you blend it. Strain and discard any solids and set aside to cool.

Pour 2 tablespoons of cranberry orange syrup into the bottom of 4 chilled champagne flutes. Add a few cranberries and top each glass off with champagne.

Blood Orange Sparkler

1½ oz vodka

1½ oz. orange blood orange puree

Top with club soda

Garnish with a blood orange wheel or slice.

Chocolate Mint Martini

1.5 oz green crème de Menthe schnapps

1.5 oz Light crème de cocoa

1 oz cream

Shake on ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with dark chocolate shavings or mini candy cane. This is a pale green cocktail so it makes a good holiday visual.

Whiskey Brûlée

Made with equal parts whiskey, ginger beer and orange juice, the real stand-out in this cocktail is the garnish. A brûléed orange slice, made by dusting a thin orange slice with sugar on both sides then searing in a pan, adds a bit of sweetness and a rich scent to be savored with every sip.

1 part whiskey

1 part ginger beer

1 part orange juice

Serve over ice and garnish with brûléed orange wheel.

Snowflake Martini

.75 oz Kahlua coffee liquor

.75 oz Godiva chocolate liquor

1.5 oz dark rum

3 oz 2% milk

Shake on ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with white and dark chocolate shavings

Pumpkin Martini

1 oz Vanilla vodka

1 oz Baileys irish cream

.5 oz cinnamon schnapps

.5 oz Kahlua coffee liquor

Shake on ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a light dusting of nutmeg

Hot Buttered Brandy (batch recipe)

1.5 gallons apple cider

1 liter brandy

1.5 tbsp fresh ground nutmeg

1/8 cup whole cloves

1 lb melted butter

Warm cider with nutmeg and cloves. Heat slowly until its steams but don’t let it boil. Add brandy and butter and pour into warmed glass mug. Garnish with cinnamon stick