Mixologist Dale DeGroff’s Holiday Drink Suggestion

1227019448Last night, bartenders and imbibers from around Boston gathered at Drink to celebrate renowned cocktail maker Dale DeGroff’s latest book, The Essential Cocktail. Small samples of Manhattans (made with rye whiskey or bourbon) and Cosmopolitans flowed freely as DeGroff worked the room.

Before we sampled one to many of his libations, we talked to DeGroff about what he recommends you serve guests this holiday season.

“Holiday time brings to mind brown spirits. Maybe set aside the vodka and gin for a moment, and do something with whiskey or brandy,” DeGroff says.

DeGroff suggests one of the drinks from his book, the 19th-century East India Cocktail. Take a 2:1 ratio of Martell VSOP cognac (“The king of brandies,” he says) and Orange Curaçao (“It’s a little hard to find, but not that hard to find.”)

Add an amount of fresh pineapple juice (he recommends Dole Unsweetened) equal to the liquor, and a dash of Angostura bitters.

Shake it up, and pour it in a short glass. Once it’s in the glass, add a flamed orange peel and grate some fresh nutmeg on top of the foam.

“What’s best about it is that it appeals to a huge group of people,” DeGroff says. “People who like strong drinks, people who like weak drinks, people who like fruity drinks—everyone seemed to respond to it.”

Chowder can testify that we definitely responded to it. We would have had a second sample of the tasty drink if we hadn’t already become woozy after one too many Manhattans. Now that we’ve sobered up, we’re ready to make the drink at home.

Dale DeGroff’s The Essential Cocktail is in stores now.