The gifts are wrapped, the goodies are made and dinner preparations are underway. Our Christmas Eve is sort of legendary: 30+ people, a huge dinner, a lot of Scotch and a White Elephant exchange that never fails to get rowdy (iTunes gift cards usually inspire lots of family in-fighting and gift-stealing). It’s a fun night, and it frees us up for a relaxed, leisurely Christmas Day—though we do still stuff ourselves on the julbord and drink a whole lot of glögg between opening gifts.
In that spirit, I have a final cocktail for your Christmas Eve imbibing. The Hallelujah Cocktail comes from The Gentleman’s Companion, another in the long line of interesting concoctions put to paper by Charles H. Baker, Jr. This one is something like a Manhattan, and it’s great for company because you can adjust the sweet and spicy notes to suit your tastes, or your guests’. I went for a drier drink and used Punt e Mes vermouth, and with it this cocktail pulls on the palette much like an amaro. Whether you make it dry or sweet or spicy, it would make a lovely drink before or after a big holiday meal.
1 oz cognac (Pierre Ferrand Ambre)
4 drops lime juice
1½ oz Italian (sweet) vermouth (Punt e Mes, or try Carpano Antica or Dolin Rouge)
¾ oz aged rum or rye whiskey (use rum for a sweeter drink, rye for a spicier one)
½ tsp grenadine (for a fun twist on the rum version, try falernum here)
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry and serve.
Obviously the color of this drink is festive—the deep garnet color is lovely and gives the drink a very seasonal feel. The options that are available in the recipe itself make this cocktail very adaptable: a sweeter vermouth like Carpano Antica paired with cognac and rye would make a spicy, warming drink; a dry vermouth like Punt e Mes paired with a sweeter aged rum counter each other, leaving you with a dry, yet balanced, cocktail. All of the choices are good ones, which makes this a great drink for a large, varied crowd, providing a delicious cocktail for those who like sweet as well as savory.
Skål and God Jul!