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Holiday drink recipes you need to try; Cider, hot chocolate, and spirits

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Take the traditional holiday flavors of cranberries or hot chocolate and give them an extra kick with a great cocktail recipe!

Todd took a trip to the Culinary Institute of Michigan to meet three students and plenty of spirits to make a lot of special holiday drinks that you can make at home.

Rosemary Infused Eggnog


  • Eggnog
    • 1 cup Whole Milk
    • 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
    • 2 Egg Yolks
    • 2 Egg Whites
    • 3 Tbsp. and 1/2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
    • 1/2 tsp. and 1/4 tsp. Nutmeg
    • 1 1/4 oz. Bourbon Whiskey
    • 1 Rosemary, small sprig for garnish
  • Rosemary Simple Syrup
    • 1/4 cup Water
    • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. Rosemary, minced


  1. In a small saucepan, combine ¼ cup of water and ¼ cup of sugar as well as the minced rosemary and stir until sugar starts to dissolve. Heat over low until the liquid starts to bubble and slowly simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and strain, reserve for later in the recipe.
  2. Meanwhile, gather and measure all remaining ingredients.
  3. Starting with a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 3 Tbsp. of sugar until the yolks lighten in color and turn frothy.
  4. In a separate, smaller mixing bowl, whisk the whites until foamy, add 1/2 Tbsp. of sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form meaning that they stand on their own. Move to the refrigerator until needed. Be sure to use a new whisk for the whites because any yolk will prevent the whites from whipping.
  5. Add the cold milk, cream, in with the yolks, whisk until incorporated. Next, add the bourbon and nutmeg and whisk until incorporated again.
  6. Add the egg whites into this new mixture and softly whisk until everything is combined. Transfer to glasses for service, garnish with a small sprig of rosemary and a sprinkle of nutmeg.

Gingerbread Syrup


  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Molasse
  • 1 tsp. Cloves, ground
  • 1 tsp. Allspice Berries, ground
  • 1/2 tsp. Black Peppercorns, ground
  • 1 tsp. Nutmeg, freshly ground
  • 2-3 Tbsp Ginger, ground
  • 1 Tbsp. Cinnamon, ground


  1. In a heat safe bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.
  2. Bring the water and molasses to a boil in a small sauce pan and then pour over the dry ingredients. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Cover the hot syrup and cool it to room temperature.
  4. Strain the syrup through a very fine mesh strainer to remove any spice debris.
  5. Once strained, the syrup is ready to use, it may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a month. Try adding it to everything from coffee, tea, whipped cream, or pancakes.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate


  • 2 Tbsp. Cocoa Powder, unsweetened
  • 1/2 Tbsp. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 pinch Kosher Salt
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp. Gingerbread Syrup (see above for recipe)


  1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the cocoa powder, sugar, and salt until well combined. Add a couple splashes of milk and mix until sugar and cocoa powder is dissolved or a paste with no lumps forms. Add remaining milk, vanilla extract, and gingerbread syrup.
  2. Heat until milk begins to steam, or small bubbles begin to form around the edges. Watch this closely to help avoid burning your delicious hot chocolate.

Christmas Mock-jito


  • 3 oz. Sprite
  • 4 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Simple Syrup
  • 3 Lime Wedges
  • 5 Mint Leaves
  • Garnish
    • Granulated Sugar
    • Red food coloring (for sugar)
    • Simple Syrup
    • Lime Wheel
    • Cranberries


  1. Color and mix the granulated sugar with red food coloring until it is a dark color. Be sure that you are not using red food coloring gel.
  2. Lightly coat the rim of the Collins glass with simple syrup and use the red granulated sugar.
  3. Stir sprite and cranberry juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Do not shake!
  4. Before pouring, place sliced lime wedges and 2 mint leaves into the glass and muddle them to bring out the flavors.
  5. Pour the mixed sprite, simple syrup, and cranberry juice into the Collins glass.
  6. Garnish with lime wheel, while being careful with the sugar garnish. Top with cranberries.

Cranberry Syrup


  • 1 cup fresh (or thawed previously frozen) Cranberries
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • 1 cup Cane Sugar
  1. In a small mixing bowl, crush the cranberries and cover with boiling water for 5 minutes.
  2. Strain the liquid into a small sauce pan.
  3. Reheat liquid to a simmer and slowly add sugar while stirring continuously.
  4. Once sugar has been completely dissolved, cool and store in a squeeze bottle or storage container and refrigerate until use.

Santa's Little Helper


  • 2 oz. Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Lime Juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Cranberry Syrup (see above for recipe)
  • 3 oz. Sprakling Wine
  • 1 Lemon Twist
  • 4 sugared Cranberries


  1. Combine the gin, lime juice, and cranberry simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with 1 cup of ice, and shake.
  2. Strain into a champagne flute.
  3. Pour 3 oz Sparkling Wine (Prosecco suggested) down inside of glass and stir gently.
  4. Garnish with a lemon twist and four sugared cranberries on a pick.

Salted Caramel Cider


  • 6 oz. Apple Cider
    • 4 cups Cider
    • 1 tsp. Cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup Caramel
  • Whipped Cream
  • Caramel Drizzle
  • Coarse Salt


  1. Combine all apple cider ingredients in sauce pan.
  2. Heat until boiling.
  3. Remove from heat and store in craft at bar

Serving directions:

  1. Fill mug almost full of cider.
  2. Top with whipped cream.
  3. Drizzle with caramel.
  4. Sprinkle with salt.

Apple Hazelnut Cider


  • 8 medium diced apples
  • 4 Tbsp. Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Brown Sugar
  • 8 Whole Cloves
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 4 cup Water
  • 3 oz. Hazelnut Syrup
  • 1 1/2 oz. Applejack Brandy (optional)


  1. Peel, core, and medium dice Granny Smith Apples. To preserve the color, soak the apple in cold water and lemon juice until ready to use. 1cp water to 1 Tbsp. lemon juice.
  2. In a large sauce pan, reduce the apples, spices, vinegar together to a thick consistency.
  3. Add the water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes.
  4. Strain the cider and stir in the Hazelnut Syrup. (The apple mix can be saved to puree for a spread for Apple Butter or an Apple Jam/Jelly).
  5. The cider can be served hot or iced.
  6. Garnish with Sliced Apples.

Ginger Cider


  • 3 oz.  Apple Cider
  • ½ oz.  Coconut Syrup
  • ¼ oz.  Caramel Syrup
  • 1 oz. Michigan Dew Vodka
  • 1 ½ oz. Brix Ginger Beer Soda
  • ½ oz. Chambord
  • Garnish
    • 3 Candied Ginger pieces
    • 1 Lime Wheel


  1. In a shaker filled with ice, shake the first 4 ingredients together for 10 seconds.
  2. Strain into a stemless wine glass filled with ice.
  3. Add the Brix Ginger Beer Soda.
  4. Slow pour the Chambord into the middle of the drink, it should settle right at the bottom of the glass, creating an Ombre effect.
  5. Add the garnish and serve!

All drink recipes owned and provided by the Culinary Institute of Michigan.

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