Holiday Getaways, Cocktails and New Year’s Extravaganza

Think you’ve seen all the Thanksgiving leftover recipes out there? Think again. I bet you haven’t seen cocktails made out of leftovers:

The 56 Holiday feast:
2 parts Jägermeister
2 scoops of cranberry sauce
10 mint leaves
1 lemon slice

Combine in shaker with ice.
Shake well.
Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wedge.

Sweet Potato smash
2 parts Bärenjäger honey and bourbon
1 scoop of leftover sweet potato puree
3 sage leaves
1/2 part of orange juice

Combine in shaker with ice.
Shake well.
Strain into a rocks glass full of fresh ice.
Garnish with a sage leaf or an orange slice (optional)

The Cosmopolitan Pilgrim
1.5 parts American Harvest
2 scoops of leftover cranberry sauce
3/4 parts fresh lime juice
1/4 part orange liqueur

Combine in shaker with ice.
Shake well.
Strain into a martini glass.
Add ice and shake well, strain into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish with a lime wedge

If you are in Chicago this holiday season (and you should be), check out what two chefs are doing with gingerbread.

Executive Chef Randy Reed at the Intercontinental Magnificent Mile built a 10-foot tall gingerbread house from scratch, using 500 lbs of flour, 110 lbs of butter, 1,020 eggs, 320 peppermint candles, 300 carmels and 36 candy canes. You can see the house displayed in the hotel’s lobby.

At the Trump International Hotel Chicago, Executive Pastry Chef Patrick Fahy worked with his team to create a Gingerbread Express – one elevator designated to traveling up to the Sixteen restaurant. To get to the elevator, you’ll pass through four-foot high candy canes, holiday music and 1100 gingerbread bricks.

La Quinta Resort & Club, a Waldorf Astoria property, has a Chestnuts & Capra package for those heading to California this holiday season. Among the special treats are roasted chestnuts and cocktails (including the George Bailey, Mary Bailey and the Poinsetta), interactive cooking and fudge making demonstrations and, of course, weekly screenings of “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which Capra wrote while staying at this resort.

The Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago will be having quite the NewYear’s Eve party this year as they celebrate their 10th anniversary in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of Playboy. This formal gala will include music from Black Cadillac as well as local DJs, and will be hosted by an assortment of Playboy Playmates. Top-shelf cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, gourmet chocolates and desserts will be passed. There will also be before and after parties. Tickets are going fast.

If you’re staying home this New Year’s you might want to consider serving some punch, made with Grand Marnier’s luscious Raspberry Peach…

GM Raspberry Peach Holiday Punch
Created by mixologist George Carney

2 quarts Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach
1 ½ cups cinnamon syrup
2 quarts water
1 quart lemon juice
1 quart overproof rum
4 oz apricot brandy

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and serve. 

Optional: freeze raspberries and pieces of peach in purified water and add to punch bowl.

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