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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 5

Posted on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015


I don’t know how every year the holidays manage to sneak up on me, especially considering that Christmas decorations go up right after Halloween. But here we are, a week away from Christmas Eve, and I’m left thinking, “What? No way, how did this happen?” One day I’m going to be the kind of person who has all of their shopping done and presents wrapped by now, one day, but not today. With that in mind, I wanted to make sure I created at least one cocktail for y’all that had no extra prep added, but just requires mixing booze together in a glass. Because sometimes that’s about all the energy we can muster when it comes to making a cocktail. The great thing is that it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice an ounce of deliciousness. Today’s cocktail is a spiced and seasonal take on a classic Negroni. A wonderful thing about classic cocktails is that they have withstood time and trends are a great starting point to get creative and create unique twists on flavor profiles that reflects the season. A classic Negroni is equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari. I find that Campari can be a bit polarizing, especially when serving to a crowd with guests who have never tasted it before. I swap out Campari with Cocchi Americano, the less bitter, more botanical cousin. Rather than using sweet vermouth, I use Watershed Nocino, a take on a traditional Italian liqueur that is made with Ohio black walnuts, cinnamon, clove and vanilla. It has a beautiful balance of sweetness and spice. Another great thing about this cocktail is that even though it’s three different types of spirits, it’s still a low proof cocktail so it’s a wonderful and thoughtful thing to serve to your guests especially if you know they’re party hopping.

GLASSWARE: rocks glass
GARNISH: orange peel
1 oz Watershed Bourbon Barrel Gin
1 oz Cocchi Americano
¾ oz Watershed Nocino

METHOD: Add all ingredients to a mixing glass. Stir and strain onto fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish. Relax. You can also serve this cocktail up in a coupe or martini glass.

PARTY TIP: You can make a large batch of this ahead of time and have your guests serve themselves at your party. The biggest thing to remember when batching cocktails, especially ones that are all booze: DON’T FORGET THE WATER. Water is one of the most important ingredients to a cocktail. When a cocktail is stirred or shaken it adds water for dilution and also body. If you’re not planning on mixing every cocktail to order it is of the utmost importance you add water to a large batch of this cocktail so that it stays balanced. The general rule is that shaken cocktails add about 20% water and stirred cocktails about 10%. So that means that this particular cocktail is 2.75 oz of spirit and when stirred around a .25 oz of water is added to the cocktail. So if you were to convert the ounces in this cocktails to cups and make a double batch for your shin dig it would total 5 ½ cups of booze. So following the 10% water rule you would add about ½ a cup of water to your large batch. I know it sounds like some twisted SAT problem, but I promise I only try to do math if that means there is a balanced cocktail waiting for me on the other side. Once you have your ratio figured out, add all your ingredients to a large pitcher and mix. I like to keep my pre-made cocktails in glass jars with pour spouts for easy pouring. I keep them on ice in a large metal bin and boom my guests can serve themselves at their leisure. You can also prep a glass full of orange peels right before your party and place next to your premade cocktails, you know just to keep that garnish game on point!

Cheers friends, and here is to easy cocktails and to the people who love them.

P.S. We got this holiday thing! WE CAN MAKE IT!

Your neighborhood bar geek,

Catherine Manabat