I’m declaring this weekend to be the unofficial start of the holidays. Thanksgiving may not be for another few days, but I’m ready to start celebrating now! People around here get so mad when they see the shops putting up their Christmas decorations early, but I’m a total sucker for it. I just love the winter holidays. Robert won’t allow Christmas music until after Thanksgiving, but I know one way to start celebrating this weekend – by mixing up a special holiday cocktail!

My perspective is that holiday cocktails should always involve bourbon, brandy, or one of the other brown liquors. This isn’t the time for vodka (although, gin, with its wintry pine flavor, is acceptable.) Winter flavors such as orange, spice, apple and pear work well for a holiday drink. Flipping through a recent issue of Bon Appetit, I came across a recipe for a cocktail called Northwood #2. Inspired by the New England woods he grew up around, David Moo of the Brooklyn bar Quarter, created this special cocktail that fits my idea of a holiday cocktail perfectly. To make the Northwood #2, simply shake the following ingredients with ice and strain into coupe glasses:

3 tablespoons gold rum
2 tablespoons brandy
1.5 tablespoons fresh apple cider
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

It couldn’t be easier to make, and tastes delicious! This is a pretty strong drink; the apple and maple flavors are quite subtle. I suspect that some people would want to increase the amount of apple cider to make the drink more palatable, although I thought the flavors were perfectly balanced. Then again, I might be some kind of lush because I thought the recipe made a perfectly reasonable single serving (it is actually supposed to serve two!) I may try this again using spiced cider for even more of a winter flavor. Happy holidays!

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