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12 Days of Cocktails: Day One

Posted on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014


I am definitely the kind of person who is all in for the holidays. If I could spend the holidays dressed like Will Ferrell from the movie Elf and go around asking people for hugs without getting arrested, I would do it. But hey, candy cane isn’t running through my veins, I’m human and the stress of the holidays certainly gets to me.  The pressure of throwing a party can make me morph into some weird Incredible-Hulk-Grinch as fast as you can jingle a bell.  But this year, I’m going to take it easy with my holiday season mantra: stress less. I want to really enjoy the wonderful company around me instead of fretting about creating a perfect party.   I really tried to evoke this spirit of ease when I came up with the recipes for the 12 Days of Cocktails. I wanted to use seasonal ingredients, and unique combinations that would make these cocktails stand out without overcomplicating things. I’ve also thrown in some party tips and variations to each recipe so that you can tailor each one to your tastes. Having the freedom to play around with these recipes will keep things interesting and relieve you from the anxiety of following an exact recipe.  I can’t wait to see how you all like these recipes and how you make them your own. Don’t forget to post photos and tag them #21cSundaySchool for a chance to get half off on the next Sunday School and feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions, concerns or if you just want to say hey. So cheers to you, friends, and all the beautiful gatherings you’ll attend and host and from the entire 21c family – we wish you and yours a most happy holiday!


There is something about bubbly cocktails that just makes me feel so glamorous and fancy. Bubbly cocktails are not only so versatile but so easy to prep.  You can create syrups ahead of time and totally transform an already delicious beverage.  For this particular cocktail, I use blood oranges, which are one of my favorite winter citrus fruits.  When creating cocktails, I’m always thinking about balance.  Bubbly cocktails have this bad reputation for being overly sweet, so to help anchor this cocktail I’ve added orange bitters, and Cocchi Americano, a slightly bitter Italian aperitif. To the syrup I’ve added an herb and a spice to create depth of flavor.

2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup blood orange juice (about 4 blood oranges)
¼ cup of sage leaves (about 16)
8 all spice berries

METHOD: In a medium sized pot, over medium heat add sugar and water. When sugar has dissolved, add blood orange juice and peels from the blood oranges.  Slightly break open the all spice berries, with a muddler or flat side of your knife. Add berries and sage leaves. Stir to incorporate ingredients, bring up to a boil, and then reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Strain and stow syrup in the fridge.

GLASSWARE: coupe or flute
GARNISH: Sage leaf

1 oz blood orange syrup
½ oz Cocchi Americano
3 dashes orange bitters
4 oz Prosecco

INSTRUCTIONS: Build in glass, in order of ingredients listed.

PARTY TIP: To save time, set all your glasses out and pre batch your cocktails by adding all ingredients into the glasses except for the Prosecco.  Pour Prosecco into the glasses as your guests arrive for a quick one step cocktail. Easy for the host and who doesn’t like being greeted at the door with a cocktail.

WITH A TWIST: Change out the citrus or play around with the bitters you use for this cocktail.  Try traditional Angostura bitters for a slightly more herbaceous flavor or Rhubarb bitters if you’d like it slightly sweeter.

NO PREP RECIPE: Don’t have time to make the syrup but still want to serve a citrusy fizzy treat? Try the classic cocktail The Aperol Spritz.   Aperol is an Italian apéritif similar to Campari but is slightly sweeter and not as bitter.

GLASSWARE: rocks glass or wine glass
GARNISH:  orange slice

1 ½ oz Aperol
3 oz Prosecco
Splash of soda water

Instructions: Build in the glass in order listed, add ice last.

Another wonderful reason sparkling cocktails are great for parties is that they pair beautifully with food.  We love this combination so much that this month’s Fork and Bottle dinner is titled Poppin’ Bottles and will highlight these sparkling stunners.  Starting today through Saturday 12.20.14, Metropole will feature a special 4 course menu with sparkling pairings, so pop on in and we’ll chat about cocktails and all things fancy! Learn more…

 Cheers and bubbles!

Your neighborhood bartender,
Catherine Manabat