5 cozy winter cocktail recipes from Dallas bartenders

5 cozy winter cocktail recipes from Dallas bartenders

Celebrating the holidays will look different in 2020. There’s no way around it. But this doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in humble festivities. In fact, you deserve to fervently — and safely — follow your heart’s desires for simply making it through this Grinch turd of a year. Build a gingerbread replica of the Leaning Tower of Dallas and then knock it down. Wrap yourself in gold tinsel and jog down Commerce Street belting “Run Rudolph Run.” Guzzle a mug of rum-laced eggnog and then dial up your favorite city council member and tell them you love them.

A handful of Dallas bartenders are adding to the merriment by graciously offering up some of their favorite winter recipes. The pandemic may have put the kibosh on lavish parties, but there’s still fun to be had. If Kevin McCallister can swing it, so can you.

Gingerbread White Russian from Stephanie Welch of Thunderbird Station
Gingerbread White Russian from Stephanie Welch of Thunderbird Station(Catherine Downes)

Stephanie Welch of Thunderbird Station, Singlewide

“I love baking, and gingersnaps are something that I make every holiday. I started playing around with some of those flavors and ended up landing on something gingerbread-y and creamy. It makes me think of being a kid and when you would build a gingerbread house and try to sneak pieces.”

Gingerbread White Russian

1 ½ ounces vanilla cognac

1 ounce Kahlua

½ ounce Ginger Spiced Simple Syrup (recipe follows)

Shake and pour into a rocks glass over ice. Top with a floater of heavy cream. Garnish with a sprinkle of allspice

Ginger Spiced Simple Syrup: Add 1 cup dark brown sugar to 1 cup water and bring to a boil, stir until dissolved. Add 4 ounces cut and peeled fresh ginger, 1 ounce cinnamon sticks, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon cloves and ¼ teaspoon allspice and boil for 2 minutes. Turn heat to low and let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for at least 30 minutes. You can store your syrup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month.

OG Eggnog from Heather Poile of Lounge Here
OG Eggnog from Heather Poile of Lounge Here(Catherine Downes)

Heather Poile of Lounge Here

“I didn’t really start celebrating holidays until my adulthood because I was once Jehovah’s Witness. The first time we celebrated Christmas as a family, we went all out and did everything we thought everybody else had been doing the entire time. We made Christmas cookies and fruitcake from scratch. It was probably my favorite Christmas. I’d never liked eggnog growing up. Even though we didn’t celebrate the holidays, we would get the eggnog when it was in season. Every time I tried it, I thought it was so gross — it was thick and way too sweet. But when I became a bartender, I started picking up all this literature on original recipes, and I found the recipe for eggnog, and made it, and it was the first time I liked it.”

OG Eggnog

1 egg 

1 ounce heavy cream

1 ounce honey 

1 ½ ounces brandy or rum 

¼ ounce vanilla liqueur

In shaker tin, shake all ingredients together vigorously for 1 minute. Then shake with ice for 1 minute. Strain into rocks glass with or without ice. Grate cinnamon and nutmeg over drink.

In the past decade, independent coffee shops have blossomed in Dallas-Fort Worth. The largest local company is Ascension — and it's still the largest even after slicing nearly half of its portfolio, mid-pandemic.
Lucano Corretto from George Kaiho of Jettison
Lucano Corretto from George Kaiho of Jettison(Catherine Downes)

George Kaiho of Jettison

“Whenever I have a holiday dinner with my mother’s side of the family, we finish with coffee. That’s how I came up with the base of this drink. Amaro, a type of herb liqueur made in Italy, is typically drank by itself after dinner, so I combined the two together. I picked Amaro Lucano because it’s my favorite amaro, and also a very good digestif, which will be your great friend after a big dinner. For coffee, I used Dallas roaster Tweed’s blend called Timepiece, which uses mostly Brazilian coffee. It tastes great on any occasion.”

Lucano Corretto

6 to 7 ounces of coffee, hot or cold

1 ½ ounces Amaro Lucano

¼ ounce orange liqueur

Pinch of lime, squeezed

Combine everything and stir.

Hot cocoa bombs from Life is Sweet in Keller
Sour de Santos from Las Almas Rotas
Sour de Santos from Las Almas Rotas(Catherine Downes)

Ryan Victor of Las Almas Rotas

“I love a good ol’ fashion classic sour, and so I wanted to work in that format. To make it seasonal, I played on some different holiday flavors. I think it ties in all those baking cookies at Grandma’s house sort of flavors. I never grew up to be a baker, but I was always underfoot, all day long, when my grandmother was in the kitchen.”

Sour de Santos

1 ½ ounces Gracias a Dios espadin

½ ounce apricot liqueur (here we’ve used Rothman & Winter’s Orchard Apricot)

Bar spoon’s worth of Allspice Dram (St. Elizabeth brand)

3 drops chocolate mole bitters

3 drops cinnamon tincture

1 egg white

¾ ounce fresh lemon juice

¾ ounce simple syrup

Dry Shake: Combine all ingredients in a shaking tin without ice and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Add ice to the shaker. The ingredients should almost but not quite cover the ice. Shake again for 20 seconds, strain into an Old Fashioned glass over ice.

Cinnamon Paloma from Kayla McDowell of Bowen House
Cinnamon Paloma from Kayla McDowell of Bowen House(Catherine Downes)

Kayla McDowell of Bowen House

“I always liked grapefruit and cinnamon together for any holiday flavors because it’s not overly Christmas-y. I wanted to start with a Paloma, something that everyone is used to and comfortable with drinking. It’s really light and refreshing in the summer, but I wanted to make it more wintery. The cinnamon goes really well with the grapefruit soda, and the egg white adds a lot of body to it. I wanted to put it in a pint glass because at home, no one has Nick and Noras or small coupes or Collins glasses.”

Cinnamon Paloma

2 ounces blanco tequila

½ ounce fresh lime juice

½ ounce Cinnamon Simple Syrup (recipe follows)

1 egg white

Grapefruit soda

Combine tequila, lime, syrup, and egg white in a shaker tin with ice. Shake well and double strain into a pint glass. Add ice and top with grapefruit soda. Garnish with a cinnamon dusted lime wheel.

Cinnamon Simple Syrup: Bring 1 1/2 cups water to a low boil, add 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 6 cinnamon sticks. Stir to dissolve sugar, simmer on low for 10 minutes. Cool, strain out cinnamon sticks.

Rebel Without A Claus is a rum cocktail at the Tipsy Elf, a Christmas-themed pop-up cocktail bar in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas.

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