Holiday Cocktails

The owners of a respected Vermont restaurant and wine bar visited T'afia last weekend to hold a holiday cocktail camp benefiting local charity Live It Big.

Sommelier Deirdre Heekin talked guests through the history of many of the spirits they sampled as chef Caleb Barber prepared each drink.

The pair stopped by the Monica Pope's place as part of a tour promoting Heekin's second book, Libation: A Bitter Alchemy.

To hear Heekin explain how she fell in love with cocktails and see a clip of several of the afternoon's drinks being mixed, click the video above.

Most of the recipes are simple. Several call for simple syrup, which is the glue in any cocktail, Heekin said. Make it by combining one part water with one part sugar (for example, one cup of each), stirred until the sugar dissolves. Honey or maple syrup aren't bad, either, she said.

Read on for the recipes.


The first two drinks were warm and rich, good for Saturday's crisp weather. Heekin suggested leaving them hot on the stove and spooning them out as guests arrive for a party (don't let the drinks boil, though; the alcohol will quickly steam off). Both were welcome offerings, the latter's spices hitting farther back in the mouth than the former.

The Hot Benefactor

Start with a hot punch glass holding 2 or 3 lumps of sugar. And 1/2 glass of hot water to dissolve the sugar, two parts dry red wine (in this case, a Texas Pinot Noir), and one part dark rum. Garnish with a slice of lemon.

Winter Sangaree

Start with a mixing glass of fine ice. And three dashes or so -- to taste, basically -- simple syrup. Pour in one small glass (two to three ounces) Port (a ruby port, in this case). Stir well, strain into tall glass, add lemon slices.

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Mike Morris
Contact: Mike Morris