Now That's a Mouthful

Episode 73: Cocktails for Festive Occasions.

Episode: 73: Cocktails for Festive Occasions.

Cocktails – especially during the holidays are a necessity! Crafting cocktails AND the booze-free mocktail is easy, festive, and fun in your kitchen or at your bar. We make things simple, and give you all the happiness you need, want, and deserve this holiday season. PLUS give you a few sure tips to beat that hangover!

Everyone should have a go to cocktail that’s made with bubbles, whether that cocktail is a straight-up boozy bubbly drink or a sparkling soda infused with flavor. BUBBLES can mean anything from Prosecco to champagne to sparkling wine, to sparkling water, club sodas and even now – those sparkling fruit juices. The recent trend to add carbonation to our favorite fruit drinks is an easy and great way to add flavor to any drink, keep the calories AND the sugar low, and make your favorite cocktail recipe sparkle!

Perfect at a holiday brunch, or when welcoming guests - for an aperitif, or just to indulge when you relax. Try the TWINKLE – a Floral festive flute of bubbles is usually served with a delicate lemon garnish or a sprinkle of edible glitter!  It gets its flavor from an elderflower liqueur – that you probably know by the brand name – St. Germaine.  This drink is just FUN – it’s a combination of vodka, the St. Germaine and topped off with some proseccoLose the booze and use elderflower juice, or sparkling sodas with a floral and bitter note, like grapefruit or pink grapefruit; apricot or even peach.

The VENETIAN SPRITZ gets its flavor from Aperol, which is one of the most common and widely available bitter liqueurs – it’s got a pleasant bitter or burnt orange kind of taste.  Aperol, Prosecco, and Soda Water, with a garnish of a skewered olive and slice of citrus. Take a look at our picture – it’s festive with a little snack attached.  If you have Aperol on hand, make the APEROL BETTY, another spritzy drink that is especially refreshing in summer. It’s the same as the VENETIAN SPRITZ, then add some orange and grapefruit juices and top off with prosecco. One liqueur, goes from season to season!

bitter fruit juices like grapefruit OR pink grapefruit, citrus (yes, orange, lemon and lime) and cranberry, pretty much rule the world of mixology. That counterpoint between sweet and bitter really helps to focus flavor AND the aromas on your palate.

PINK AND GRAPEFRUIT JUICE COCKTAILS pop up in a MOCKTAIL called the BLAYLOCK, or punch up the flavor – and the color – in the PINK TEQUILA FIZZ OR the GRAND PRIX. While naturally fresh squeezed juice is great, there are plenty of 100% real fruit juices available in the markets – just make sure you’re not buying a super sweetened juice cocktail – just go for the straight up 100% pure fruit juice.

The BLAYLOCK is a combination of PINK GRAPEFRUIT AND LEMON JUICES, a HONEY SIMPLE SYRUP and SELTZER, this gorgeous pink punch gets a heady aromatic note from the hard spice Star Anise! On the boozier side, there’s the PINK TEQUILA FIZZ, which is similar to the BLAYLOCK only it’s crafted with tequila, lime juice and then uses pomegranate arils for a holiday festive garnish.

Our REINA PUNCH uses a red peppers infused hibiscus tea simple syrup instead of fruit juice to add flavor. This is a RED WINE PUNCH with layers of tequila, pinot noir and rosemary . In our BONUS EPISODE – IN THE TEST KITCHEN host Cherie Krause and I tested the REINA PUNCH just to confirm this recipe was the real deal….!

A pitcher of the GRAND PRIX turns coffee, pink grapefruit juice, and Campari into a drink that tastes like a raspberry chocolate truffle. Pretty and pink, your guests will never guess the ingredients! Add our BLOG|CAST EPISODE 68 COFFEE: MORE THAN A GREAT BUZZ to your holiday playlist and see exactly why it’s a great idea to layer in that flavor of bitter when crafting cocktails.

Rosemary gets wrapped into the REINA PUNCH, and there’s a the whole brand of MOJITO COCKTAILS built around muddling MINT! Don’t have a muddler? You can bruise and infuse that flavor with a shaker, like in our OLD CUBAN cocktail. You shake the mint with golden rum, lime, a simple syrup and then top it off with something sparkling.  And yes, those simple syrups are must make – must keep in your refrigerator additions to these cocktails. Here’s the great thing though… they’ll last! Longer than recipes will tell you. Just sayin’!

Our THREE AND OUT that uses vodka, honey, lemon juice a dried chile pepper and is topped off with a pilsner, or the HUNGRY HUNGRY HIPSTER – which essentially replaces the champagne in your mimosa with … well, what else? The Champagne of Beers.

Sparkling Waters when combined with things like coffee, a shot of apple cider vinegar – or yes, even for that hair of the dog – a little bitter liqueur, or some leftover bubbles, can get you on your way to feeling human faster than you think.

LEMON SPARKLING WATER is great in your bar, but it also gets you rehydrated fast, and the bracing citrus will give you that snappy pep to get you moving. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR – 1 tablespoon + a full can of sparkling water (try peach or apricot) and a lot of ice cubes can put your stomach at ease and make your head feel less cloudy. A SHOT OF ESPRESSO over ice and orange sparkling water, or a COLD BREW with a shot of coconut sparkling water works wonders. A MAKESHIFT MIMOSA with a bit of bubbles and orange (or citrus) flavored sparkling water will do the trick. GRAPEFRUIT SPARKLERS + a shot of bitters (like Aperol or Campari) will get you going and feeling like yourself in no time.
(You’re welcome!)

Just commit to trying a new cocktail every once in a while – for any holiday or celebration – or even for no reason at all. It’s fun – share the experience – responsibly – with some friends.  And we’ll get you the rest of the way there with all the ideas and recipes to get you started. You can find more ideas and recipes on our RECIPES PAGE at

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These RECIPES are referred to in this episode. You can find more information on our Cookbooks Page.