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12 Days of Cocktails: Day 11

Posted on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016



As the frenzy of the holiday season reaches its brink, its nice to stop and take a moment to soak it all in. Yes, the holidays can be stressful, but there is so much holly jolly festiveness to make up for it.  Amidst the chaos there is something about snuggling up with a warm beverage and hitting the pause button, even if it’s just until I get to the bottom of the cup.  It’s good to stop, reflect and really be in the moment.  I love a nice, piping hot cocktail that warms you from the inside out.  The best part of these cocktails is that they’re as easy as putting the kettle on.  You have enough on your plate so for today, let’s just warm our hands and souls with a holiday in a mug.

The thing I love about tea cocktails is that there are so many awesome flavor profiles all in a tiny little pouch that make for some really interesting cocktails. You can make a tea simple syrup but just adding equal amount of sugar to water and then using the simple syrup to brighten up an Old Fashioned, or dress up a lemonade. My favorite tea to use during this time of year is chai. I’m about that chai life.  You can also use tea to infuse spirits. The infusion typically take 24 hours or less, especially if you’re using a black tea base like chai. There’s still plenty of time to make this before the big show.  For today’s recipe I do a riff on the classic Hot Toddy and also an easy take on a Moscow Mule.


Glassware: Snifter

Garnish: Orange Peel

1 ½ oz Watershed Bourbon

Honey to taste

Splash of grapefruit juice

4 oz Chai Tea

Build in the glass in order that ingredients are  listed. When you add the hot chai tea, stir. The heat from the tea will help break up the honey.


Glassware: Collins glass or highball

Garnish: lime wedge

1 ½ oz Chai infused Watershed Vodka

2 oz apple cider

2 oz non-alcoholic ginger beer 

Build in the glass. If you build this without ice the carbonation from the ginger beer will mix the cocktail for you. Then add ice. No mixing necessary.


1 750 ml bottle of Watershed Vodka

3 bags of Chai Tea

In an airtight container, preferably glass, add all ingredients and seal.  Allow to infuse room temperature for at least 24hours and up to 72. Make sure to taste the vodka as it infuses and strain once it gets to your preferred flavor profile. Strain and pour back into old vodka bottle. You can keep it out room temperature or store in the fridge.


You can easily make the Reindeer Games in to a punch. To create the Barbara Chai-Sand into large batch you can serve it out of a crock pot on low and garnish with slices of orange and lemons.

So I know you still have presents to wrap and parties to attend, but take a moment cozy up and sip on some relaxation. You deserve it!

Your neighborhood bar geek,

Catherine Manabat