5 small-batch cocktails to toast the holidays even if you aren't gathering

By Sharyn Jackson, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Entertainment News

1 ounce pastis

2 teaspoons lemon juice


4 teaspoons creme de cassis

Lemon peel, for garnish


Pour the pastis and lemon juice into the glass. Top with the cremant until it's around two fingers' width from the top. Pour in the creme de cassis, et voil ... ! Garnish with a twirl of lemon peel and you have a two-toned drink that's as hazy as holidays.


Serves 8.

Note: Aquavit is a grain or potato distilled aperitif often associated with Scandinavia, and often flavored with caraway and/or dill. Given Minnesota's healthy Nordic heritage, the spirit has long been celebrated as an opportunity to connect with the Old World. People in Minnesota are gifted in their ways of family, community and culture, and there is no cocktail better associated with that practice than the Bloody Mary, which stands on the Paul Bunyan shoulders of the Upper Midwest in triumphant glory. From "The United States of Cocktails," by Brian Bartels (Abrams).

For the Bloody Mary Mix:

3 cups tomato juice

2 ounces fresh lemon juice

2 ounces Worcestershire sauce

2 ounces Tabasco chipotle sauce

1 tablespoon steak sauce

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

2 teaspoons celery salt

For the Bloody Mary:


1 1/2 cups aquavit (or gin, tequila, or mezcal)

Garnishes: celery stick, lemon wedge, and olive or pickle


For the Bloody Mary Mix: Combine all the ingredients in a nonreactive container. Cover and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

For the Bloody Mary: Combine aquavit and 4 ounces Bloody Mary mix in a chilled pint glass with ice, briefly stir and add the garnishes.

Pomegranate Gimlets

Serves 6.

Note: What is it about drinking a cocktail in a martini glass that makes us feel so glamorous? This delicious gimlet was made for me by friends. They updated the classic cocktail with pomegranate juice and of course served it in frozen martini glasses because they really are glamorous. For simple syrup, shake equal parts cold water and sugar until sugar dissolves. From "Modern Comfort Food," by Ina Garten (Clarkson Potter).

1 1/2 cups gin, such as Tanqueray

1 cup pomegranate juice, such as Pom Wonderful

1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (6 to 8 limes)

1/2 cup simple syrup (see Note)

Pomegranate seeds, for garnish

6 lime slices, for garnish


At least one hour before serving, place six martini glasses in freezer.

Combine the gin, pomegranate juice, lime juice and simple syrup in a large pitcher. Fill a cocktail shaker half-full with ice and add the drink mixture until the shaker is three-quarters full. Shake for a full 15 seconds (it's longer than you think!). Pour the mixture into the frozen martini glasses and garnish with a teaspoon of pomegranate seeds and a slice of lime. Repeat with the remaining drink mixture and serve ice cold.

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