Festive Holiday Cocktails

The holidays wouldn't be complete without festive holiday cocktails. But rather than serving your guests a glass of wine, you can make the evening more special with a festive, holiday-themed drink.

In The Early Show's "Five-Minute Cooking School" Wednesday, in conjunction with specialty home furnishings retailer Williams-Sonoma, cookbook author and cooking teacher Tori Ritchie for hot and cold beverages alike, and even some non-alcoholic options. They're easy to prepare, even for people who don't regularly mix drinks.

Ritchie showed co-anchor Hannah Storm her methods, at the Williams-Sonoma flagship store in Manhattan.

RECIPES

Cranberry martinis: Ritchie shows the basic tools you need to make this drink. You don't have spend a lot for basic bar tools. The tools she calls for to make this one are a cocktail shaker, chilled martini glasses, and a tray for carrying the drinks. She shows how to combine the ingredients, the importance of shaking, then straining the results into glasses that have already been chilled.

The traditional martini is given a holiday hue with a splash of cranberry juice. Shaking the ingredients vigorously in a cocktail shaker as instructed below helps to chill and blend the contents thoroughly.

Ice cubes
1 cup vodka
1/4 cup dry vermouth
1/2 cup cranberry juice
8 cranberries, frozen
4 lemon zest twists

Put 4 martini glasses in the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Just before serving, fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. Pour in the vodka, vermouth and cranberry juice. Cover with the lid and shake vigorously up and down for about 10 seconds. Strain into the chilled glasses, dividing evenly. Garnish each glass with 2 frozen cranberries and a lemon twist. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese (Oxmoor House, 2004).

Virgin Cosmos: Who said that all great beverages have to have alcohol? This is a great, delicious drink, especially for guests who are driving back home. Ritchie advises preparing this one in a shaker like the martini drink, but it's sometimes easier to prepare a large batch using a beautiful pitcher. She shows how easy it is to decorate the rims with festive, colored sugars made for this type of drink.

Cranberry juice is featured in a nonalcoholic version of the cosmopolitan, replacing the usual vodka with fresh tangerine juice. It's a perfect drink for the winter holidays. Shaking the ingredients vigorously in a cocktail shaker as instructed below helps to chill and blend the contents thoroughly.

Ice cubes
1 cup cranberry juice
1 cup fresh tangerine juice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
4 lime zest twists

Put 4 martini glasses in the freezer to chill for at least 30 minutes.

Just before serving, fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice. Pour in the cranberry juice, tangerine juice and lime juice. Cover with the lid and shake vigorously up and down for 10 seconds. Strain into the chilled glasses, dividing evenly. Garnish each glass with a lime twist. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese (Oxmoor House, 2004).
  • Brian Dakss

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