10 Fabulous "House" Cocktails

10 cocktails to whip up for your next gathering.

Holiday Entertaining

10 “House” Cocktails

Serve at signature drink at your next gathering

-Francine Segan, FrancineSegan.com

Averna CocktailFor some great cocktails, follow the recipe for any of the drinks below, or experiment a little and create your own. As a general guideline when making up my own cocktail creations I use a 1-1-2 ratio. That is 1 part hard alcohol, like vodka, rum, or tequila, mixed with 1 part of another less strong spirit, like liqueurs, and 2 parts of something non-alcoholic, like sparkling soda.

1. Caramel Apple Martini
Serves 2

A liquid version of those yummy caramel apples.

2 ounces Vodka
2 ounces apple cider
1 ounce dark crème de cacao
1 ounce cream soda

Combine the ingredients with crushed ice in a shaker and mix. Strain into two chilled martini glasses.

2. Winter-time Bellini
Serves 8

The original Bellini, from Harry’s bar in Venice, Italy, was made with pureed fresh peaches. Canned is a great alternative, when summer sweet peaches aren’t in season.

1 8-ounce can sliced peaches, drained
1 750-ml bottle prosecco

Puree the peaches in a food processor until very liquidy. Put 1 to 2 tablespoons of the peach puree into the bottom of a chilled champagne flute and top with prosecco.

3. Winter White Sangria
Serves 8

Instead of adding ice, which waters down sangria, make juice ice cubes. White grape juice makes an especially delicious ice cube flavor for this white wine sangria.

Since fresh fruit is so flavorless (and expensive!) in the winter, use frozen!

1 bottle, 750 ml, white wine
1/2 cup brandy or cognac
1/2 cup freshly squeezed white juice
1 cup lemon-lime soda
2 cups frozen fruit such mixed berries or sliced peaches

Combine the wine, brandy, and juice in a glass pitcher. Stir then add the lemon soda and fruit. Serve icy cold.

4. Sherry Cocktail
Serves 1

Sherry is the perfect winter wine. You’ll love it in cocktails too!

1 1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce fino sherry
1/2 ounce orange juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar

Combine the gin, sherry, juices, sugar and crushed ice in a shaker until well mixed. Pour the mixture into a chilled old-fashioned glass or wine glass.

5. Sherry Cocktail 2
Serves 1

3/4 ounce light rum
3/4 ounce brandy
3/4 ounce dry sherry

Mix the rum, brandy and sherry in a shaker. Pour into a chilled wine glass and top with a dash of bitters.

6. Mayan “Hot” Cocoa on the Rocks
Serves 4

My friend, Wes Martin, and I created this cocktail for the New York Chocolate Show last year.

It was a huge hit with the audience! You and your friends will love it too.

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
4 ounces vodka

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon and cayenne pepper with 1/4 cup water and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and all the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.

Combine the cooled syrup, vodka and ice into a shaker and mix well. Divide between four ice-filled cocktail glasses.

7. Parisian Punch
Serves 1

This is one of those “lost” recipes. It was popular in Paris at the turn of the last century, and I have no clue why it went out of style.

It’s a red wine spritzer, with kick and It’s time to bring it back!

3 ounces red wine
1 ounce brandy or cognac
Sparkling water
Strawberry sorbet
Whole strawberry

Pour the wine and cognac into a wine glass. Top with a splash of sparkling water and several walnut sized scoops of sorbet.
Garnish the glass with a strawberry.

Romeo & Juliet cocktail8. Romeo & Juliet
Serves 1

Asti Spumante, Italy’s famed sparkling wine, makes a great cocktail mixer.

3 ounces Asti Spumante, docg
1/2 ounce Ratafia, maraschino liqueur or Chambord
Brandy cherry, optional

Pour the Asti Spumante into a coup champagne glass the pour in the marashino liqueur. Serve with a brandy-soaked cherry, if you like.

Combine the gin, Dubbonet and liqueur in a shaker with crushed ice. Pour into chilled cocktail glass. Twist the orange peel over the drink and drop it into the glass.

9. Asti Spumante Cocktail
Serves 1

This delightful jewel-toned cocktail, perfect for celebrations, combine two treasures from Italy’s northern Piedmont region, Asti Spumante and sweet red Vermouth.

1 ounce sweet red Vermouth, such as Cinzano Rosso Vermouth or Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth
3 ounces Asti Spumante
Pour the vermouth into the bottom of a chilled coup or tulip champagne glass and top with the Asti.

Ginger cocktail10. Ginger Sake Martini
Serves 2

Sake, less forceful than vermouth, makes a marvelous martini. A hint of ginger adds just the right note.

4 ounces vodka
2 tablespoons candied ginger, minced, plus more for garnish
1 ounce sake
Crushed ice
Cucumber slices

Gently shake the vodka, ginger, sake and ice together in a cocktail shaker. Pour into two chilled martini glasses and serve garnished with cucumber and candied ginger slices.

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