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H. Joseph E: I like wine based cock- CHAI SOUR Designed by Debbi Peek, The Bristol, Chicago ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ 1½ oz. Patrón Reposado tequila 1 oz. chai tea syrup* 1 oz. fresh orange juice ¼ oz. fresh lemon juice 1 egg white 4 drops Bitter Truth Jerry Thomas bitters ■ Dry-shake (approximately 10 times) all ingredients without ice in a Boston shaker. Add ice; hard-shake. Strain into a coupe glass and top with 4 drops of Jerry Thomas bitters. * For the chai tea syrup, steep ½ cup of Rare Tea Cellars chai tea in 2 cups hot water for 5 minutes. Strain over a tea strainer to remove leaves. Add 1 part granulated sugar to 2 parts tea. Stir until sugar is dissolved. tails because they are festive. Also, the bridge to food pairings becomes psychologically easier for customers when they can place the wine with the food and then connect to the rest of the cocktail. B.A.: Can you share any tips on how to best execute a signature cocktail at a holiday party? Josh P: Plan ahead; mise en place is the key to a successful cocktail party. Make sure you have all of the ingredients and tools before the guests arrive. Batching your cocktails for a large group can cut down greatly on the time you spend bartending at your own party. Finally, ask your bartender cousin visiting from out of town to work the party. Debbi P: I think it’s best to go simple! A holiday punch is perfect for a holiday party. You don’t even need ice. Take a small mixing bowl, fill it with water and freeze. Place the ice block inside your punch bowl and your punch will stay cold all night long. H. Joseph E: I always recommend batching recipes for parties so that you can spend your time enjoying the party instead of working. Punch bowls are the obvious easy solution, but another is to pour your batches into decorative bottles and leave a little tent note card that directs them to add three or five ounces of the batch to a shaker of ice, shake it and serve themselves (plus any garnishing directions). This makes it fun for the guests as well. Debbi Peek from The Bristol in Chicago squeezes lemons for her Chai Sour. that are tasty with food? Jon P: Winter-themed sparkling wine cocktails go perfectly with food. I do a pear/vanilla, as well as a spiced cranberry sparkling cocktail. Josh P: A Negroni topped with spar- kling wine is a great aperitif cocktail with appetizers. Manhattans are great with ham and turkey. Tom & Jerrys are a favorite with dessert. B.A.: What are your holiday cocktail dos and don’ts? Jon P: Just offer your favorite cocktails and make a variation by substituting one or two ingredients for something seasonal. Josh P: Only serve a couple of great cocktails; quality, not quantity. Your guests will appreciate two amazing cocktails rather than 20 poorly-made options. Also, offer a non-alcoholic option, which can be more than just a soda. Be sure to practice and taste your cocktails before you serve them. Don’t try to cut costs by using low-quality spirits. If you wouldn’t keep it after the party, don’t serve it at the party. Finally, don’t spend all day slaving over the bar. Be prepared so you can have fun with your guests instead of working a bar shift for free. Debbi P: Keep the flavors light and fresh. This makes it easier to drink more than one. If you offer heavy or thick cocktails, your guests may have only one and feel full. H. Joseph E: Make it fun, and don’t take it too seriously. Ask your guests ahead of time what they may like to have. Be sure not to skip a step in any of the recipes you read; you’ll end up with a cocktail that’s less than it was intended to be. Also, don’t make the recipe too potent. The festive energy will have people drinking more than normal, so tone it down. Finally, don’t forget to invite me! ALMOND TEA TODDY Designed by Jonathan Pogash From menu at Bookmarks Lounge in NYC ■ ■ ■ ■ 1 oz. Plymouth Gin ½ oz. Combier orange liqueur ½ oz. almond syrup 3 oz. hot orange spice tea ■ Add ingredients to a hot toddy mug and stir. Allow tea bag to infuse in hot water for approximately 2 minutes. Garnish with an orange peel. PINEAPPLE-BLOOD ORANGE INFUSION Designed by Bridget Albert from Market-Fresh Mixology ■ 3 pounds blood oranges (peeled and sliced into wedges) ■ ■ ■ 2 whole pineapples (peeled and cubed) 10 mint sprigs 2 750 ml. bottles vodka ■ Layer fruit and mint into 3 quart glass infusion jar. Add vodka. Save liquor bottles. Let rest for 7 days at room temperature. Using a funnel and sieve, strain back into vodka bottles. Store in refrigerator. december 2010 / the tasting panel / 89

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