By Linda Garson
Photography by Ingrid Kuenzel

It’s chilly out there and we’re entertaining, so it’s the perfect time to do things a little differently, to try something new – and impress our family and friends too.

This month, we asked two Alberta restaurants known for their delicious cocktails, to let us have warming cocktail recipes that we can make at home for the holidays – and beyond!

Happy J. Byrne

Bar Manager, Ampersand 27, Edmonton

“This drink is adapted from a recipe by Jacob Grier, a leading authority on beer cocktails,” says Happy Byrne of Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue craft cocktail spot, Ampersand 27.

“It combines all the warm holiday flavours in one, and is super easy to enjoy by novice drinkers and cocktail geeks alike,” he adds.

The holidays are busy enough that you don’t want to spend the night locked in to drink making, so you can times this recipe by the number of guests you plan to entertain, and serve it as a punch.

It’s very easy to pre-batch and store in the fridge; let it just sit in the corner of the room, and top up as needed.

Byrne’s Abbey Street Punch

3 oz Siding 14 Coal Pusher Stout (or Guinness)
1 oz Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey (or Jameson)
½ oz Appleton Jamaican Rum
½ oz lemon juice
½ oz allspice dram*
Nutmeg, for garnish
Lemon slice, for garnish

Shake all ingredients over ice, and fine strain over large ice. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg and citrus pieces.

*Allspice dram is a tiki bar staple, and can be bought or simply made at home with allspice and rum, brown sugar, and a cinnamon stick; a quick internet search will provide you with easy recipes.

To reduce dilution for your punch, use a 1 L ice cream container to make a large ice block.

Derek Mihalik

Managing Partner, Starbelly, Calgary

Maple Whisky Sour was Mihalik’s first cocktail creation for Starbelly back in October 2016, and it’s been one of the restaurant’s most popular cocktails ever since.

“I wanted to create a cocktail that rang true to our brand,” he says. “Fresh, local, yet globally inspired. We use Alberta Premium Dark Horse Whiskey distilled in Calgary; Gosford Farms Maple Syrup from Quebec; fresh free-range egg whites from Mans Eggs in Nobleford; and fresh local rosemary, when available.

The fresh lemon is the perfect counterpart to the sweetness and richness of maple syrup and dark whiskey, and balances the earthy/pine tones from the fresh rosemary and syrup.

Whether you are sipping après ski or keeping warm next to a fire, this drink will undoubtedly warm your soul this holiday season.

Maple Whisky Sour

1½ oz Dark Horse Whisky
1 oz fresh lemon juice
½ oz pure maple syrup
½ oz rosemary syrup (recipe below)
1 egg white
1 sprig rosemary, for garnish
1 lemon wheel, for garnish
Build cocktail in mixing glass: add first five ingredients and shake together without ice for 30 seconds to agitate whites. Add ice, and shake for an additional 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass over fresh ice and garnish.

Rosemary Syrup
Makes 1 Litre

2¼ cups granulated sugar
2¼ cups (540 mL) water
¼ cup fresh rosemary
In a saucepan bring sugar, water and rosemary to a boil on high heat. When syrup reaches boiling point, remove from heat and steep for 30 minutes. Remove rosemary. Let cool. Stays fresh for 2 weeks in the fridge. 

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