Inga's Holiday Cocktails

make merry with these custom holiday cocktails from Inga Witscher of WPT's Around The Farm Table

by Inga Witscher, photos by Ty Randerson

Inga Witscher
Inga Witscher

Entertaining friends and family during the holidays is one of life’s great pleasures. There is no better time to whip out the cocktail shaker or put the kettle on and turn ordinary booze into merry cocktails. You don’t need a fully stocked bar to impress your guests or give Aunt Barb the buzz she needs to make her interesting. This time of year I like to trade in my martinis for Manhattans and warm up post-milking with a hot toddy. No matter how you celebrate the season, these cocktails will be the perfect compliment. – Inga Witscher of Wisconsin Public Television's Around The Farm Table

Christmas Punch

Be careful: This one can sneak up on you. For a festive alternative to plain old ice cubes, freeze water in a Bundt pan to form a pretty ice ring. If you’re feeling extra fancy, add some cranberries or lemon slices to the pan before freezing.

INGREDIENTS

3/4 cups sugar
The peel from 3 or 4 lemons
4-5 sprigs of rosemary, crushed with your hand to release the oils
3/4 cups lemon juice
4 cups water
1 cup pineapple juice (or a bit more if you like)
1 bottle dark rum

DIRECTIONS

Add the sugar, lemon peel, and rosemary to a mason jar. Shake like crazy for about 5 minutes. Let sit in a sunny window for at least 3 hours or up to 8.

Add lemon juice to the mason jar and shake until the sugar dissolves. Strain lemon juice mixture into a punch bowl. Add water, pineapple juice and rum. Serve chilled.

The Hot Toddy

Just the right amount of whiskey and warm water to warm you and your guests up on a cool evening. Makes one drink.

INGREDIENTS

2 ounces whiskey
1 spoonful of honey
Squeeze of lemon juice
Hot water

DIRECTIONS

Add the whiskey, lemon juice, and honey to a mug. Fill with hot water.

Mom's Hot Buttered Rum

A tradition in my family during the holidays. Hold off on the rum and make mocktails for the kiddies.

BATTER INGREDIENTS

1 lb. brown sugar
1 lb. butter
3 cups vanilla ice cream, softened
A bit of fresh grated nutmeg
Cinnamon is also a nice addition. A tablespoon should work.

TO MAKE BATTER

Cream the butter and sugar together stir in ice cream. This mixture freezes well.

TO MAKE DRINK

Add a heaping tablespoon of the batter to a mug. Mix in 2 ounces of dark rum and top it off with boiling water. Stir to combine.

Classic Manhattan

A perfect accompaniment to a classy evening. Makes one cocktail.

INGREDIENTS

2 parts whiskey
1 part sweet vermouth
A few dashes of bitters
Maraschino cherries for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add everything but the cherries to a cocktail shaker. Shake until it’s good and cold. Strain into a cocktail glass.

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