Cocktail Advent 24: Santa’s Surprise


Milk and cookies are so last year. Why not leave Santa something a little more special this year (but make sure he’s got the sleigh on auto-pilot first!).

Image via Flor de Cana

Image via Flor de Cana

Santa’s Surprise

  • 1.5 oz Flor de Caña 7 Year Rum
  • 0.5 oz Lemon Juice
  • 0.5 oz Cranberry Juice
  • 0.75 oz Vanilla Syrup
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a lemon, strawberry, and sprig of mint.

Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas!

***This recipe was submitted by a representative of Flor de Caña. I am not affiliated with the company nor was I compensated for this post, not even with review samples. As always, we encourage responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***

Cocktail Advent 9: Plum Tart


I tried to make a plum pudding–the steamed variety–one Christmas several years back. I’m still not 100% sure that I did it correctly or that that was how it was supposed to taste, but it was a fun experiment all the same. This cocktail might be a bit simpler to execute.

Image via Bombay Sapphire Gin

Image via Bombay Sapphire Gin

Plum Tart
— Created by Bombay Sapphire Miami’s Most Imaginative Bartender Winner, Philip Khandehrish of The Setai Bar in Miami.

  • 2 oz plum wine
  • 1 oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • .75 oz cranberry juice
  • 3 drops of orange bitters
  • 3 lime wedges
  • 2 bar spoons of Demerrara sugar

Muddle lime and sugar in glass.
Add rest of ingredients.  Shake well and strain into Martini Glass
Top with lime wheel with dried cranberries

Plum wine can often be found in the sake section of your local wine shop.

***This recipe was provided by a representative of Bombay Sapphire Gin. I am not affiliated with this brand nor was compensated to post this recipe, not even with review samples. As always, we encourage responsible refreshment and the use of the Designated Driver. No drunken monkeys, please!***

AlcoHOLidays | New Year’s Eve | Holiday Sparkler



As the end of the year comes rushing at us, completing our annual cycle, I feel the need to simplify. I think the holiday overwhelm always makes me feel this way, so why complicate things any more than they need to be?

You can’t go wrong with simple Champagne or sparkling wines served chilled in a tall flute to best show off their bubbles. Adding a hulled strawberry or other muddled berries to the bottom of the glass is a nice touch or you can add a splash of your favorite liqueur.

The important thing is to open the sparkling wine correctly. In case you didn’t know, those foamy beginnings you see in movies are actually not to correct way–it means the bottle’s been shaken or otherwise mistreated prior to opening. In fact, there should be nothing more than a gentle pop when the cork comes free (and it’s best to have a bar towel held loosely over the cork to prevent it from flinging all over the room or into something–or someone–breakable).

But you don’t come here for simple, so if you absolutely require something a little more show-stopper, how about giving this a try:

Holiday Sparkler

Sugar Cube
Orange Bitters
1 oz Cranberry Juice
1/2 oz Elderflower Liqueur
1 oz [yellow tail] bubbles Rosé

Soak the sugar cube in the bitters and place in the bottom of a champagne flute. Add in the cranberry juice and elderflower liqueur, then top with the sparkling wine. Pour slowly and let the bubbles do the work. A slice of strawberry or a rock candy swizzle stick make sweet garnishes.

Elderflower liqueur–a classic spirit making a comeback in cocktail circles–in still an unknown for many, so offers that little something extra for your guests. And pulling out a box of sugar cubes always tends to spark interest in that it’s-so-retro way.

However you choose to celebrate, remember to stay hydrated with water between cocktails, make use of a designated driver or the ample public transportation systems sure to be out in force Monday night, or party at home and invite inebriated guests to spend the night rather than risk it on the roads.


(recipe and image courtesy of the Deutsch Family of Wine and Spirits)


Sips & Shots will be going on “holiday” for the month of January, along with the rest of the sites in the Helper Monkey Network, so that some much needed behind the scenes work can be taken care of. We’ll be back in full force come February!