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‘Tis the season for dynamic cocktails


Mixed drinks have never gone out of style, but in this day and age, the bar for the home cocktail game has been set even higher, thanks to Mad Men and the rise of the craft cocktail. It’s become pretty standard to offer just one or two cocktails, rather than trying to stock your home bar with a selection wide enough to please a crowd, but why not skip the humdrum and make something new and exciting? Each of these cocktails go beyond the standard party fare, but are easy peasy to prep and execute. We’ve also selected drinks that use some of the same liquors and gear, in case you’d like to try offering more than one drink without purchasing a bevy of bottles and equipment.



Sherry is a secret weapon of those who know how to use it, and this drink is no exception. Plus you’ve probably never served guests a cocktail as Instagram-friendly as The Golden Boy.



The Golden Boy

Gear and glassware:

Mixing glass, ice, long spoon, strainer, coupe or martini glass



1 ounce Amontillado sherry

Half a tablespoon of simple syrup

2 drops Angostura bitters

Pinch of edible gold dust*

5 ounces dry Cava

Lemon twist


*Find it in the cake decorating section of your local craft or party store



Combine the sherry, simple syrup, bitters, and gold dust in a mixing glass over ice. Stir gently and thoroughly. Strain into a martini glass, top with chilled Cava, and garnish with a lemon twist.



Pimm’s, widely enjoyed by folks in the UK in the warm weather, is underutilized here in the US. Dress it up for the cold weather with a cinnamon infusion.



Cold Weather Pimm’s Cup

Gear and glassware:

1-liter airtight jar, mesh strainer, saute pan, Collins glass



1 ounce Pimm’s infused with cinnamon
(see recipe below)

1 ounce London dry gin

4 ounces ginger beer

Garnish of your choice



Place ice in a Collins glass. Add the Pimm’s and the gin, and then top with the ginger beer. Stir briefly and garnish.


For the cinnamon infusion:

3 cinnamon sticks

1 liter Pimm’s liqueur

Place a dry saute pan on medium heat. Once warm, add the cinnamon sticks to toast them. Once they become aromatic, remove from the heat to cool. Use your hands or a knife to break the sticks up. Combine the sticks and the Pimm’s in an airtight container and store on a counter for three days, shaking every so often.  Strain the cinnamon sticks out before using.



The Cranberry Cobbler is a respectable grown-up kind of cocktail, but also perfect for those who shy away from stiffer drinks.



Cranberry Cobbler

Gear and glassware:

Saucepan, sieve, 1-liter airtight jar, shaker, muddler, rocks glass


½ ounce cranberry simple syrup (recipe below)

2 ounces London dry gin

1 ¾ ounce Oloroso sherry (can substitute Amontillado)

3 cranberries

Fresh mint sprig




Add cranberries to a shaker and muddle. Add cranberry cordial, gin, sherry, and ice. Cover and shake until chilled, about 15 seconds. Add fresh ice to a clean rocks glass. Strain the drink into the glass and garnish with a mint sprig.


For the cranberry simple syrup:

2 cups cranberries

2 cups raw sugar

2 cups water

Gently bring the sugar and water to a boil, gently, in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir frequently until sugar dissolves, Add cranberries. Simmer until the skin on the berries begins to split. Mash the berries gently while cooking 5-7 minutes on low. Remove from heat and cool thoroughly. Using the sieve, strain the cranberries out and discard. This syrup can be kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator for one week.



Buffalo ex-pat Tony Rials, who is currently working Tulum, Mexico, was kind enough to offer up this food-friendly spin on the classic Old Fashioned, made with Raicilla, another agave distillate, which, he notes, offers flavors of “wet stone, damp earth, guava, quince, and sour lemon.” A perfect pairing against seasonal flavors like squash and cranberries.



Jalisco Old Fashioned

Recipe courtesy of Tony Rials

Gear and glassware:

Mixing glass, mixing spoon, rocks glass


¾ ounce of Raicilla

1 ¼ ounces Reposado Tequila

1 teaspoon agave syrup

Dash of Angostura bitters

Orange peel or slice




Combine bitters and agave in mixing glass. Add tequila, Raicilla, and ice and stir rapidly to chill. Garnish with an orange peel or slice. 



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