"I want to hurt you."
And that's fine. Tradition, even when it's torture, is still tradition. But for anyone out there who is new to drinking this holiday season and doesn't have nostalgia wrapped up in cocktails made of chicken embryo, I'm creating this guide with you in mind. It's for your sake that I intend to make and ingest every awful festive cocktail I can find online and offer an objective review of each, in real time. I have already been to the grocery store as well as the liquor store and a pile of ingredients is waiting in my kitchen. I'm doing it in part because I hope the cycle of frothy whiskeys and warm chocolate wines will end with you, and also because I have to write a column on Christmas Eve and my only recourse against our Editor in Chief is to write it drunk.
Merry Christmas, Jack. This one is for you.
1Feel Like Holiday
* Grenadine Syrup
I'm warming up with something simple. There are only three ingredients here and two of them will hopefully be working together. Carbonated drinks absorb through the stomach faster than non-carbonated, so really the champagne is sneaking vodka in through the backdoor to my bloodstream. The grenadine makes this drink look pretty innocuous by coloring the whole thing a pale shade of pink. Still, there's no way this drink was invented by anyone other than a panicked drunk with limited options. Even the name sounds like a grammatical accident, unless of course it's a command, ordering me to feel like a holiday must feel, which c'mon, is clearly drunk logic.
OK, bad start. Already off to a bad start. I think champagne and vodka might be natural enemies. They have clearly had a fight to the death in my glass because all I can taste is the corpse of something doused in sugar. Part of the problem might be that I didn't have time to chill the vodka or the champagne but the whole thing is a warm, syrupy mess with subtle notes of nail polish remover. To the Feel Like Holiday's credit, the more of it I drink, the less startlingly bad it seems. This is particularly true when I skip the tasting portion and just swallow as much as I can at once, which, now that I think about it, may be the reason so many holiday parties rely on miserable drinks like this one.
2Scotch Holiday Sour
* Scotch Whiskey
* Cherry Brandy
* Sweet Vermouth
* Lemon Juice
* Slice of Lemon
I don't have any cherry brandy because my local liquor store doesn't cater to 72 year old woman. I was able to Frankenstein some together with regular brandy and the grenadine from the last drink. Mixing all the other ingredients in, the Scotch Holiday Sour looks like something I would intentionally consume. In fact, it looks cool and refreshing, which is exactly what you'd want after a steamy day out in the December heat, I would imagine.
Not as refreshing as I had anticipated. You'd think with all the other ingredients piled in there, something would cut the smokiness of the scotch, but you would be wrong. Maybe it's supposed to be reminiscent of the smell of a wood fireplace on a cold day but it honestly tastes like hard lemonade stirred with a lit cigarette. The vermouth and the brandy aren't doing it any favors either, and I think that might be partially the grenadine's fault. Scotch just doesn't go well with fruit, or sweet things, or really anything other than ice and tweed jackets. Even at the last drink when ice cubes were hitting me in the face this cocktail never got any more palatable. There are very few cocktails that announce with such clarity, "I am made of toxins and you shouldn't be drinking me."