Five Cocktails to Celebrate the Holidays

We asked five of Canada’s top bartenders to share with us their favourite drink to enjoy this holiday season.

The Dominion (Canada’s Next Great Cocktail)

Developed by Katherine Boushel, of the Atwater Cocktail Club, Montreal

Photo: John Cullen

“Spending time with loved ones and savouring special moments together were at the core of the Dominion’s inspiration. Its versatility allows for the use of seasonal products, such as cranberry or partridge-berry jam, and by using rosemary, the cocktail will fit nicely with many more festive dishes.”

1½ oz Lot No 40 Canadian rye whisky
¾ oz ginger, sliced into rounds
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz McGuinness or Meaghers cherry brandy
1 tbsp blackcurrant jam
Sparkling apple cider
Fresh rosemary, for garnish
Pinch of sea salt

Directions: Muddle the ginger in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, lemon juice, salt, cherry brandy, whisky, jam and a sprig of rosemary. Shake. Strain into a Collins glass over ice. Top with cider. Garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

Pablo Nuevo

Developed by Kaitlyn Stewart, of Royal Dinette, Vancouver

“This cocktail tastes like winter in a glass. It’s got the smell of burnt sugar and cinnamon right on the nose, followed by the warming flavours of rum and pear together. The egg whites make it creamy and decadent, perfect to cozy up with beside a roaring fire.”

1½ oz Zacapa rum
¾ oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz pear sake
½ oz cinnamon syrup
1 egg white
3 dashes Angostura bitters
Cinnamon sugar, for garnish
1 cinnamon stick, for garnish

Directions: Dry-shake the ingredients, without ice, so that the egg whites froth. Add ice and fine-strain into a coupe glass. Dust the top of the cocktail with cinnamon sugar, and melt the sugar with a torch just before serving. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Marconi #3

Developed by Molly Superfine-Rivera, of Marconi, Montreal

Photo: Isa Tousignant

“I like offering a lower-alcohol cocktail for the holidays, because people love to drink lots this time of year, and this way they can and still feel good. The Marconi series is all based on sherry, because I have a passion for it and want to expose people to it. This one is warming and nutty – it’s what I drink after my shift.”

1½ oz Tío Pepe Extra Dry Fino sherry
¾ oz Punt e Mes
¾ oz Lustau vermouth
1 dash walnut bitters
Grapefruit zest
Star anise, for garnish

Directions: Stir all ingredients vigorously. Strain into a coupe glass. Express the oils of a grapefruit zest overtop, discard the zest. Garnish with star anise.


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The Snow Thrower

Developed by Alana Nogueda, of Shameful Tiki Room, Toronto

“I was inspired by a classic cocktail called the Fog Cutter for this one, but I called it the Snow Thrower because this is Canada, after all. The Fog Cutter is a very summery tiki cocktail, so I wanted to do a wintry version. Instead of orange juice I went with the apple cider, then added cinnamon, allspice and an addictive infused sherry.”

2 oz apple cider
1½ oz aged rum
1 oz lemon juice
½ oz gin
½ oz brandy
½ oz allspice syrup
½ oz apple-cinnamon-infused Amontillado sherry
Apple slice coated in sugar and cinnamon, for garnish

Directions: Start by infusing a bottle of Amontillado sherry with two red apples and six cinnamon sticks in a Mason jar. Let sit for two days. Make the allspice syrup by mixing sugar and water with ground allspice. Shake the rum, gin, brandy, apple cider, lemon juice and allspice syrup with crushed ice. Pour into a Collins glass, ice included. Float the infused sherry on top. Garnish with an apple slice coated with sugar and cinnamon, torched just before serving.

The Smoking Prince

Developed by Chris Gama, of Clementine, Edmonton

Photo: Isa Tousignant

“This beautiful purple cocktail makes a great hangover drink because it’s smoky from the mezcal, deep and tart. It would work really well for a big Christmas or Boxing Day breakfast because it pairs beautifully with the smokiness of bacon; but it would also be a really good after-dinner drink to pair with those darker flavours of Christmas desserts like fruit puddings or pumpkin pies.”

1 oz tequila
¾ oz blackcurrant syrup
½ oz lime juice
¼ oz mezcal
Sea salt, sumac and Korean chili powder, for garnish

Directions: Make the blackcurrant syrup by mixing blackcurrant jam with simple syrup. Rim a short glass with sea salt, sumac and Korean chili powder. Shake all the other ingredients together, pour into the rimmed glass over ice cubes. Drink with a straw.