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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 1

Posted on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015


It’s the holidays everyone, and I don’t know if it’s just me, but don’t you feel like this time of year is like holding onto a piece of dental floss that is being pulled by a mack truck? Just me? Sweet. For me, there is always this sense of being overwhelmed between all the parties, cooking and ugh baking, cocktail making, parking lot sitting, bell ringing, and ugly sweater picking. I mean, it can be a bit much. This year I promised myself that I would really try and stop and enjoy the moment, and try not to live in this place of “I just need to get through this” because at the end of the day this time of year is about togetherness and celebrating with loved ones whatever it is we hold dear. I celebrate gratitude and the fact that I get to break bread and clink glasses with amazing, lovely people and for that I will always raise a glass or three. For this year’s 12 Days of Cocktails, I bring you cocktails that are a cinch, fun and a little outside the Christmas box. I promise that over the next 12 days we’ll learn that cocktails don’t have to be a big Macy’s parade production, and can still be delicious and interesting. I want this to be as delightful and stress free of an experience as possible. These cocktails can be served for your big holiday party, or served just for you to unwind after a long day of holiday madness. I will share some helpful tips for serving these cocktails at parties and how you can tailor them to suit you just right. These recipes aren’t meant to keep you boxed in, but are meant to inspire you to be creative have fun. Because without fun, what are we doing people?


When I was thinking about the recipes for this series, I really wanted to have a variety of cocktails, those that were a bit overindulgent and naughty and some that were light and nice. For today’s cocktail, I wanted to share a recipe that is versatile and can be made as naughty as you’re feeling for your holiday party. It’s very easy to overindulge during this time of year, so it’s nice to have the option to serve something on the lower proof side especially when you know your guests will be party hopping. This is a fun and festive take on the classic Mimosa. I love serving mimosas with beer rather than bubbles, because beer can still be fancy! But feel free to experiment with whatever mixers you like. This is also a great cocktail because it can be served during the day for a brunch party or dressed up for an evening affair.

Glassware: Belgian Tulip, Champagne Flute, or Red Solo Cup
Garnish: Rosemary Sprig or a high five
5oz beer (Lager or Session IPA preferred, MadTree Lift, Rhinegeist Cougar or BlankSlate Lesser Path recommended)
2 oz orange grapefruit syrup

METHOD: Start with syrup and then pour beer over. Ice optional, but make sure to add last.

2 cups orange juice
2 cups grapefruit juice
1 cup sugar
7 star anise
2 tbsp crushed whole allspice berries
6 sprigs of rosemary

METHOD: In a medium sized pot over medium-high heat, add orange, grapefruit juice and sugar. Once sugar has dissolved, add rosemary, allspice berries, and star anise. Bring mixture up to a boil, and then lower heat. Simmer for 25 minutes. Take the pot off the heat, allow mixture to cool, and then strain. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge. Should keep for about 2 weeks.

PARTY TIP: You can pre-batch this cocktail and make it into a giant punch. Garnish with orange slices and whole star anise. You can also put different types of beer in large steel bucket on ice and have the syrup in glass bottles with pour spouts. This way your guests can experiment with different types of beer with the syrup. This makes it fun and interactive and a great excuse to have more than one!

LIKE A VIRGIN: This syrup makes an excellent soda, just add soda water for the kids or adults who don’t partake in the sauce. You can pre-batch the soda and just add a sprig of rosemary to the bottles without booze so your guests won’t mistake which is which.

WITH A TWIST: Add a shot of gin, like Watershed Distiller Four Peel, or Bourbon barrel-aged gin for the guests who are feeling a little naughty, we like to refer to it as a Cheermosa cocktail 2.ohhhh. Bourbon or Rye would also make a delightfully devilish addition to this cocktail. If you’re not into beer, by all means use a sparkling wine. Not into bubbles? This would be great with an apéritif wine like Lillet Blanc, or Cocchi Rosa.

I’m so excited to share these cocktail recipes over the next 12 days and I hope that they bring some fun into the madness of the holidays. I hope that whatever you choose to celebrate during this season you do so with your whole heart and I raise my glass to you and your loved ones!

Cheers, and here is to being in the moment

Your neighborhood bar geek,
Catherine Manabat