Cheers! It's holiday cocktail time!

Well Hello there Joyflakes!

I trust that you all had an amazing Thanksgiving and got to spend plenty of time with family and friends! Mine was crammed full of food commas, basketball, and spending some much awaited quality time with my parents so of course it was fantasmastic :)

Since Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season here in good ol' 'merica, I've decided to let you in on some of my favorite holiday traditions.  The holidays are one of the busiest times of the year for me since I work in retail, and even though I feel like I've been hit by a Mac truck by the end of it, this really is my absolute favorite time of the year.  I love the decorations, the music, the fact that it happens during my favorite season (winter), and of course the food!  Because there are so very many things that I love about the holidays, once a week between now and new years, I will be posting a list of 5-10 things about the holidays that I love. Since today is Saturday, I thought I would post the top 5 holiday cocktails I want to try out this season and their recipes!

5. The Grinch

1. Follow the directions to make Jello: Boil water and add lime Jello mix. Stir until Jello is completely dissolved; this should take about 5 minutes. Be sure to scrape the bottom well so that you don’t miss any of the jello mix! (If you want, you could make these with vodka for a stronger drink/Jello shots!)

2. Pour Jello mixture into cup filled with straws and put a bowl or plate on top of the straws to keep them weighed down. Put this in your refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or over night.

3. Once Jello has set, put the bottom of the cup in HOT water for 2-3 minutes to release the straws. Twist as you pull to remove them from the glass.

4. Put a sieve into a bowl of WARM water. Break off about a dozen straws. Wave the straws back and forth in the warm water to loosen them. When one starts to slip out, quickly remove the straws, and empty the green, slimy contents into a large wine glass. Blow a little on the straws if needed, to help coax the ooze out.

5. Cover with COLD sparkling Moscato (or lemon-lime soda for a non alcoholic version) and serve.

4. Pomegranate Gin Fizz

I need to make something very clear to all of you.  Gin is my go to.  It is my favorite and always will be.

2 ounces gin
1 ounce PAMA, pomegranate liqueur
Club soda
In a glass full of ice, add the gin and PAMA. Stir to combine and top with club soda.

3. Winter Sea Breeze

         1 oz vodka (1/8 cup)
         1 oz grapefruit juice (1/8 cup)
         1/2 oz tonic syrup (2 tablespoons)
         2 oz soda water (1/4 cup)
         12 pomegranate seeds
         3 mint leaves (for garnish)

Fill your glass about 3/4 full with ice. A lowball glass is the perfect size.
Add the vodka, grapefruit juice, tonic syrup and stir. Pour in the soda water and garnish with the pomegranate seeds and mint leaves.

This recipe used Jack Rudy Tonic Syrup which can be found at Whole Foods. They recommend using a syrup because it's not too sweet and has a little more complexity of flavor. If you don't have tonic syrup, you can substitute 1/4 cup regular tonic for the soda water and syrup.
Yields 1 serving

2. Rosemary Bourbon Fizz:
First of all let me just tell you, I love this site.  It’s pretty amazing and all of you should take a look at it :)
Grab your shaker, put a little twig of fresh rosemary in it, squeeze half a lemon (less if you don’t like it sour), add 1 Tsp of sugar and muddle it good (until you can really smell the rosemary). If you don’t have a muddler, use the back of a wooden spoon. Kinda impractical, but it works. Once that’s done add a few ice cubes and 1 oz of Bourbon. Now shake it shake it like a polaroid picture.”
“Pour the mix (strain it using your shaker or use a regular strainer) into an old fashioned glass with a few extra ice cubes. Top up with Ginger Ale – totally recommend using the Santa Cruz Organic brand, it’s less sweet and tastes more natural. Garnish with a rosemary sprig and a lemon twist and ta-da!”

1. Champagne Jello Shots

You need:
1 3 oz box of jello
1 C chilled champagne
1 C boiling water
Making champagne jello is basically the same as making regular jello, except you’ll substitute chilled champagne where it calls for chilled water. These instructions are for a 3 oz box; if you use a different size box, just change the amount of champagne and boiling water you use based on the instructions on the back of the box.
1. Add 1 cup of boiling water to the gelatin mix and stir for about 2 minutes until the powder is completely dissolved.
2. Set the mixture aside and wait for it to cool down to room temperature.
(The champagne will go flat when you stir it into the jello mixture if it hasn’t cooled down enough. The champagne will also go flat if you stir too vigorously or pour too quickly, so go SLOW!)
3. Once the mixture cools to room temperature, slowly pour in 1 cup of chilled champagne, gently stirring as you go.
4. Slowly pour the mixture into a 9×9 pan and refrigerate for 4 hours, or until firm. I found it was best to wait about five hours to make sure the jello held its shape.
5. To get the jello out of the pan without breaking it, stick the bottom of the pan in warm water for about 5 seconds and then flip the pan over onto a plate; the jello will slide right out!
6. Sprinkle your jello shots with strawberry pop rocks for some extra fizz!
7. Cut into bite sized pieces and enjoy!

I hope that these cocktails gave you all some ideas for your own holiday parties and family gatherings!  I can't wait to try them all out and promise to report back with my thoughts; who knows maybe you'll even get pictures or how to's!

Love and joyflakes!