Holiday Cocktails & Mocktails: 7 Recipes for Entertaining

From now till New Years Eve, there are several occasions to break out the cocktail shaker and raise your glass.  For all your holiday gatherings and entertaining, here are some festive recipes – 4 cocktails, 2 mocktails and a (spiked) punch – to bring your party good cheer.

Alexander Baby
4-5 ice cubes
2 measures dark rum
1 measure cremé de cacao
1/2 measure double cream
grated nutmeg

Put the ice cubes into a cocktail shaker and pour the rum, cremé de cacao and cream over the ice. Shake the drink then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle grated nutmeg on top. Serves one.

– Recipe from All Shook Up: Party Drinks and Cocktails by Hamlyn

Christmas Punch
2 cups chilled pomegranate juice
1 cup chilled cranberry juice
8 oz. (1 cup) vodka
8 oz. (1 cup) Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
1 cup chilled club soda
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 6 lemons)
1/2 cup simple syrup

Combine pomegranate and cranberry juice, vodka, Cointreau, club soda, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a punch bowl. Fill glasses with cranberries frozen in ice cubes, and serve. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.

– Recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine, December 2009.

Mulled Cranberry Sipper
32 oz. cranberry juice
2 qt. water
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 (5-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp. whole cloves

Bring all the above-listed ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard solids, stir in 1 cup of orange juice. Serve warm or cooler. Garnish with lemon rind twists. Makes about 3 1/2 quarts. Non-alcholic.

– Recipe from Southern Living magazine, November 2012.

Hot Dixie Chocolate
2 oz. bourbon
2 oz. good-quality semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
2 tbs. heavy cream
1/2 tbps. vanilla
1 tsp. sugar

Finely chop the chocolate and set it aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the milk is very hot but not boiling. Remove from heat, pour the milk mixture over the chocolate pieces in a bowl, and let stand for a minute or two or until the chocolate has melted. Add the bourbon, stirring well to combine. Serve steaming hot in a heat-resistant glass.

– Recipe from Cocktail Parties with a Twist: Drinks + Food + Style by Alexandria and Eliot Angle

Sweet -N- Sassy
powdered sugar
2 oz. white cranberry juice
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. raspberry syrup
3 raspberries for garnish

Rim a martini glass with powdered sugar and set aside. Pour juice and raspberry syrup into a mixing glass and shake. Strain into the martini glass. Garnish with raspberries on a skewer. Serves one. Non-alcholic. 

– Recipe from Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-to-Be by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen

Coffee Amaretto
hot black coffee
1/2 measure Amaretto di Saronno
1/2 measure Tia Maria or Kahlúa
whipped cream
amaretti biscuits, to serve

Put some very hot, black coffee into a mug or heatproof handled glass and add Amaretto and Tia Maria or Kahlúa. Stir well then spoon whipped cream on top. Serve with amaretti biscuits. Serves one.

– Recipe from All Shook Up: Party Drinks and Cocktails by Hamlyn

Sunset Tea
200 ml / 7 oz. freshly-brewed Indian tea
1/2 measure golden rum
1 measure Cointreau
2 measures fresh orange juice
orange slices stuck with three whole cloves
cinnamon sticks

Pour the tea into 2 heatproof glasses. Put the rum, Cointreau and orange juice into a small saucepan. Place it over a low heat and bring the mixture to just under a boiling point, stirring constantly. Pour immediately into the glasses with the tea. Garnish with a slice of orange stuck with 3 cloves and a cinnamon stick. Serves two.

– Recipe from All Shook Up: Party Drinks and Cocktails by Hamlyn

Next time you’re at your local HPB, check out the magazines and cookbooks for many more tempting recipes to take home and try.  Happy holidays!

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

Holiday Entertaining Recipes & Cookbook Giveaway

Throw open your doors to family and friends for gatherings and feasts filled with holiday cheer. To help inspire you, here are some sweet and savory recipes for your holiday entertaining. Find these featured cookbooks in your neighborhood HPB store or online at HPB Marketplace. Be sure to read through to the end for details how you can win a cookbook!

As my family gathers around at grandmother’s house on Christmas morning, the first thing to disappear are the Piglets in Blankets. Here’s how to make them. Unroll an 8 oz package of crescent roll dough. Cut into four strips about 1/8 inch wide. Wrap one strip of dough tightly around each mini sausage. You can also cut the dough into triangles and roll them croissant-style, if you wish. Place wrapped piggies on baking sheet or pan, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 8 hours. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Just before baking, whisk 1 large egg with 2 tsp water. Brush the dough with egg wash. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until golden brown. Serve hot out of the oven.  Makes about 4 dozen.

– Recipe from Parties and Projects for the Holidays by Martha Stewart

Whip up a batch of crisp and flaky Rugelach cookies for your Chanukkah party. Start by mixing in a bowl 4 oz unsalted butter and 4 oz white cheese (none of that low-fat business, full-fat farmer’s cheese). Beat in 1 tbsp sugar, 1 egg, and 1/2 tsp salt. Fold 2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour into the creamy mixture until the dough can be worked with the hands. Knead and shape the dough into a ball, then cover and chill for at least 2 hours or overnight. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Divide dough into 6 equal pieces. On a floured surface, roll out each piece until the dough is about 1/2 inch thick. Then brush with a little melted butter. Sprinkle golden raisins and chopped walnuts (or substitute raisins for chocolate chips, if you prefer). Sprinkle dough with a touch of sugar and cinnamon. Cut the rounds into 8 to 10 wedges. Roll the triangle from the large end towards the tip (resembling a croissant). Place on baking sheet. Brush the tops with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 to 30 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool before serving. Makes 48 to 60 cookies.

– Recipe from Jewish Food for Festivals and Special Occasions by Marlena Spieler

After an evening out singing Christmas carols, warm up with this treat – Spiced Hot Chocolate. Mix together in a saucepan 3-3/4 cups of mil, 7 oz of dark chocolate (at least 70% solid cocoa) broken into pieces, 2 tsp sugar, and 1 tsp allspice. On medium heat, whisk until it’s simmering. Remove from heat and pour into heatproof glasses or mugs. Garnish with a whole cinnamon stick and a dollop of whipped cream. Serves 3 to 4.

For a beverage suitable for your holiday cocktail party or for ringing in the new year, try a Gumdrop Martini. First, rub the rim of a chilled martini glass with the wedge of a lemon, then dip the glass edge in a saucer of superfine sugar. Shake over ice cubes 2 measures of lemon rum, 1 measure of vodka, 1/2 measure of Southern Comfort whiskey, 1/2 measure of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp dry vermouth. Strain into prepared glass and serve with a toast!
– Drink recipes from The Bartender’s Guide by Parragon Books

In the family-tradition of Half Price Books, we love have a good time — especially so around the holiday season. In the words of founder Ken Gjemre: “We’re going to eat and drink some. We’re going to party more. We’re going to shop more. We’re going to remember friends, family and children. And we’re going to be nice to one another. Now what’s wrong with that?”

Tell us about your favorite holiday tradition or family recipe! Enter yours in a comment below and you’ll be automatically entered to win a FREE cookbook. Three lucky winners will receive a selected cookbook from Half Price Books. Winners will be randomly selected at 3pm CST on Friday, December 9. Don’t forget to share this with your friends so they can enter to win a free cookbook too!

Eat, drink and be merry.

— Meredith

 

UPDATE: Congratulations to our winners – Laura Olson who shared her “Holly” cornflakes recipie; Daria Schaffnit who told us about grandma’s cookie factory; and Megan Miller who shared about her tradition to make gingerbread men. You’ve each won a free cookbook! To claim your prize, drop us a note at besocial@hpb.com with “Cookbook Giveaway” in the subject and include your mailing address in the body. This giveaway is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated.

On the Menu: Summer Recipies for Your July 4th Cookout

What’s cooking, America?! It’s 4th of July weekend and time to bust out the charcoal for a cookout! Whether you’re hosting an Independence Day backyard bash or an indoor dinner party, here’s a menu to inspire you and get your taste buds salivating.

4th of July Party Menu

  • Crunchy Lemon Pepper Wings
  • Smoked Deviled Eggs
  • Fresh Watermelon Lemonade
  • BLT Burger with Asparagus
  • Potatoes in the Embers
  • Cob Roasted in the Husks
  • Homemade Rocky Road

Start with some finger-food appetizers like Crunchy Lemon Pepper Wings. They have lots of zesty flavor without being spicy (for hot wing wimps like me). Deviled eggs are always a crowd pleaser but when you smoke them, it adds a detail that will make your guests rave about your skills in the kitchen. Slice up a watermelon and serve up a juicy wedge on the side of a glass of lemonade or your favorite cocktail. I suggest Watermelon Margaritas on the rocks with sugar-rimmed glasses. After all, we’re celebrating our nation’s independence! 😉

 
Next, fire up the grill for BLT Burgers with Asparagus, served with lettuce, tomato and other fixings. It’s a hearty and flavorful entree with the chopped canadian bacon mixed and cooked into the hamburger patty. Take a break from the traditional potato salad and try out a recipe for Potatoes in the Embers with some woody flavor, perfect for a cookout. Add a side of fresh corn on the cob roasted in the husks, which is especially mouth-watering if you season them with fresh ground black pepper, garlic and rosemary.

And last but not least, finish off your feast before the fireworks with Homemade Rocky Road, a classic American ice cream. Plenty sweet and extra nutty with macadamia nuts, hazelnuts and almonds in the mix. Now, go eat, drink and be merry. Happy 4th of July! Enjoy!

Where to find these tasty recipies:

Appetizers: Wings: More Than 50 High-Flying Recipes for America’s Favorite Snack by Debbie Moose (p 36) and The Kansas City Barbecue Society Cookbook by Ardie A Davis, Check Paul Kirk and Carolyn Wells (p 28).
Entree: Best Ever Barbecue: A Collection of Over 100 Essential Recipes by Love Food (p 14).
Sides: Beer-Can Chicken and 74 Other Offbeat Recipes for the Grill by Steven Raichlen (p 242, 255).
Dessert: Ice Cream: Amazing Ices, Sherbets, Sorbets, Bomes and Iced Desserts by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (p 75).

Check your local HPB for these cookbooks or shop hpb.com to shop our online HPB Marketplace.