Cocktails, Mocktails, and Holiday Traditions!

How many of you have a go-to drink and rarely deviate? For me, it is either a Moscow Mule, Kentucky Mule, or a Gin and Tonic (with three limes). They’re classics and I KNOW that I like them, they’re easy to make, and available almost everywhere. But, when you’re hosting a holiday gathering, let’s be honest, we all want to be the “hostess with the mostess”. Am I right? No boring drinks here (unless that’s what you want). I want to be the host that thinks of everything. The hostess who’s presentation is stellar. The hostess that has a cocktail menu that is clever, fun, and festive and leaves the guests thinking, “where did she come up with that cocktail recipe!”  Well, for those special occasions I usually turn to Pinterest or Blogs.  But, now that I’m an official blogger, I’m here to help you ladies find the perfect recipe! I’ve stirred up some fun cocktails and mocktails that will leave you with the title of HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTESS! You can thank me later!

Not Your Ordinary Mule!

I’m taking your traditional mule and giving it a slight holiday twist. First, the Mexican Christmas Mule, which swaps the traditional Vodka for Cinnamon Tequila (soooo good). The second is a Festival of Lights Mule that adds cranberry, a splash of pomegranate, and rosemary for a fun twist on the old classic.

Jose' Cuervo Cinge Mexican Mules

Giant Moscow Mule Mug and Jose' Cuervo Cinge Tequilla

Mexican Christmas Mule:

  • 2 OZ Cinnamon Tequila (I use Jose Cuervo Cinge Cinnamon Tequila – it’s unlike anything you’ve tried)
  • 4 OZ Ginger Beer (we use Crabbies original Ginger Beer but….Cock and Bull will work too)
  • ½ lime juiced
  • Serve on ice and stir with a cinnamon stick (leave in the drink to add extra spiciness)
  • Garnish with a lime wedge

Moscow Mule Variations Cranberry

Festival of Lights Mule:

  • 2 OZ Vodka
  • 4 OZ Ginger Beer (again… Crabbies original)
  • 1 OZ Cranberry Juice
  • 1 OZ Pomegranate Juice
  • ½ lime juiced
  • Sprig of Rosemary muddled
  • Serve on ice
  • Garnish with a frozen cranberries, Rosemary, and a lime wedge

Moscow Mule Variations Using Cranberry and Crabbies Ginger Beer

Did Someone Say Pomegranate?

Who else loves mimosas? To be honest, I didn’t used to but over the last few years, I’ve become a huge fan. I mean… champagne and juice... you can’t go wrong with that, right?  Now, I’ve tried them with your traditional orange juice, I’ve also had them with pineapple, cranberry, and guava juices but I hadn't EVER tried them with pomegranate. I’m not sure why I was blown away by the thought of adding pomegranate juice to champagne, but I was.

POM Mimosas

Anyway, for those of us busy, trying to “do it all” or “half-assing” it (which is the zip code I seem to live in), this simple cocktail looks festive, tastes amazing, contains few ingredients, and requires NO bar tending skills. Guests serve themselves, customizing their champagne to juice ratio. I love this idea! Meanwhile, you can focus on mingling with family and friends instead of being tethered to the bar.

Mimosa Variations With POM Juice

POM Mimosas

  • Champagne (I used Ruffino Prosecco but any bubbly will do)
  • POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Rosemary sprig for a garnish

POM Mock-mosas (for the little’s)

  • Welches Sparkling Rose' (non-alcoholic)
  • POM Wonderful pomegranate juice
  • Pomegranate arils (some kids do not like the arils but my son LOVES them)

Mimosa Variation With Pomegranate

Baby Its Cold Outside

For those who enjoy a good hot boozy beverage, I’m here to help! Though I’m not a huge fan of hot chocolate (too sweet), I make an exception for this one EVERY TIME! In addition, it’s easy to severe up a kid approved version, so everyone is equally happy!

Adult Hot Cocoa With Peppermint

Holiday Boozy Hot Coco

  • Steven’s hot chocolate mix – prepared according to instructions
    • If you’re a little “extra”, you can make the hot chocolate from scratch, but girl, I don’t have time for that nonsense so premade it is!
  • 1 oz. Peppermint Schnapps
  • 1 oz. Bourbon (we use Makers Mark but any old bourbon will do)
  • Garnish rim with crushed candy canes or red decorative sugar
  • Top with whip cream

Kids' Hot Cocoa With Peppermint

Kids Peppermint Coco

  • Steven’s hot chocolate mix – prepared according to instructions
  • 1-2 drops Peppermint extract (more or less according to taste)
  • Top with whip cream and garnish with a candy cane

 You Had Me At Sangria!

Turn a traditional sangria into a fun holiday punch. You can make it ahead of time and simply serve in a large punch bowl or pitcher. I'm a fan of white wine, but you can easily make this with red wine. I'll supply information for both.

Holiday White Wine Sangria

'Tis The Season Sangria

Mix all ingredients except the sprite into a pitcher a day ahead of time. This will allow the fruit and cinnamon sticks to marinate and add flavor to the sangria. Make sure to muddle some of the fruit in the pitcher. This will help with flavor. 

  • 2 bottles of your favorite white wine (I used Chardonnay) 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Triple Sec
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 2 apples cubed
  • 1/2 cup cranberries sliced in half and muddled 
  • 1/2 cup whole cranberries
  • Juice from 1 orange
  • 1 cup pomegranate or cranberry juice
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1-2 cups Sprite (mixed in right before serving) 

Holiday Red Wine Sangria

Santa's Holiday Red Wine Sangria

Santa's Red Sangria 

  • 2 bottles of your favorite red wine (a good Cabernet works well) 
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Triple Sec
  • 1/2 cup spiced rum
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 oranges, sliced
  • 2 apples cubed
  • 1 lime peeled & sliced
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 2-3 star anise
  • 1-2 cups club soda (mixed in right before serving) 

Holiday Baking Extravaganza

Holiday Baking Traditions

I met my husband back in October 1994 (yes…we are high school sweethearts). Our first Christmas together I vividly remember because coincidentally, our grandparents lived two houses away from one another! That Christmas, we would bounce back and forth between houses – eating, opening presents, goofing around, etc... It was that Christmas I was introduced to the Dunford’s family traditions, which included Humbug Hash and Dunford Danish Donuts. Both of these delectable treats were amazing. In fact, so amazing that I devoured my weight in both, thus was too sick, and overfull for dinner.

Fast forward to 2002, two years into our marriage when I was finally bold enough to ask his Aunt for the recipe. She was kind enough to share the family secret and from that point on, every Christmas, I am a Danish Donut producing factory. Though I cannot share the secret family recipe, (after all…it took me eight years to get my hands on it), I will provide a great gingerbread recipe that is a close dupe for Dunford Danish Donuts. What’s important is that you have fun with it. Create your own twist and traditions with this recipe. Today, I’m lucky to have a fabulous son who begs me to make them and… wants to be in the kitchen to help. I know these days will fade as he gets older, which is why it’s important to me that I carry on this tradition as long I can. Then hopefully, someday, I can pass down the recipe to his wife who will carry the torch proudly.

Family Holiday Baking Traditions

Gingerbread Nuggets

  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  1. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer
  2. Add the egg to the butter and sugar mixture
  3. Once mixed, add the molasses to the mixture
  4. While the butter mixture is being mixed, combine all dry ingredients into a bowl, stir well so that all of the spices are disbursed evenly throughout the flour
  5. Slowly add the dry ingredients into the bowl with the butter/sugar mixture. I highly recommend using a KitchenAid or a large mixer as the dough gets very stiff.
  6. Once combined, the texture should resemble playdough. Essentially, not sticky and easy to roll into logs. If the dough is sticky, add more flour until the desired texture is achieved.
  7. You’ll need room to work, so make sure to clear a large area and dust it with flour.
  8. Grab a piece of dough (about a handful) and roll it into a log. Press the ends into a square and slightly flatten. The log should be roughly a half an inch thick. They can be a bit thicker but any thinner will result in a crunchy ginger nugget!
  9. Once the gingerbread log is the correct thickness, simply cut into nuggets. I usually cut them into 1 ½ to 2 inch pieces.
  10. Arrange on a greased pan and bake for 10 minutes. If they are smaller and thinner than what was described above, then bake for 8 minutes. If thicker, bake for 11-12 minutes.
  11. Store in a sealed container or cookie jar.
  12. Enjoy!

Family Baking Together

Baking Traditions for the Holidays

Holiday Family Baking Traditions

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