Wednesday, August 17, 2022

We whiskey you a Merry Christmas: Williamsburg mixologists suggest fun holiday cocktails

Make it a double. (Andrew Voss/Amber Ox Public House)
This cocktail made by Amber Ox’s Assistant General Manager Joe Veltre is one of many that can be made at home. (Andrew Voss/Amber Ox Public House)

Are you entertaining company for the holidays?

Four Williamsburg bartenders have shared their favorite recipes for homemade cocktails, featuring a perennial favorite liquor— whiskey.

And if your guests overstay their welcome, you may just want to make one or three of these drinks for yourself, too.

Amber Ox, Lady in Waiting

Amber Ox opened in early December, and its Assistant General Manager Joe Veltre is crafting a cocktail that he thinks will turn heads.

Veltre said he makes his with Bowman Virginia Bourbon, but he added that any bourbon will work well.

To make it, Veltre said start with two ounces of your favorite bourbon and mix it with half an ounce of St. Germain Oliver Flower Liqueur, 1.5 ounces of Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, orange bitters and two splashes of rose water.

Once done, Veltre drops in an Amarena cherry for a “sweat little treat” once you reach the bottom of the glass.

“Essentially, we’ve taken an old fashioned and heightened it and sweetened it so you have this orange and cherry flavor in there,” Veltre said.

He said the drink makes for an aromatic cocktail that teases the nose before the taste buds.

“Set it down next to somebody and you can smell it,” Veltre said. “It kinds of turns heads.”

Copper Fox Distillery- Yellow Tomato Bloody Marys

The Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary is a Christmas favorite for Copper Fox. (Rick Wasmund/Copper Fox Distillery)
The Yellow Tomato Bloody Mary is a Christmas favorite for Copper Fox. (Rick Wasmund/Copper Fox Distillery)

The folks at Copper Fox know a thing or two about making whiskey, so it should come as no surprise to learn whiskey’s going to be a big part of their holiday festivities.

“Christmas morning, we’ll all be drinking yellow tomato Bloody Marys,” Owner Rick Wasmund said. “That’s a refreshing way to get your veggies and have some holiday cheer.”

Wasmund said the recipe is a simple one— just mix 1.5 ounces of bourbon or Copper Fox Rye Whisky with three ounces of Natural Blonde Bloody Mary Mix to give the cocktail a yellow finish.

“Add a rosemary sprig and you are feeling festive,” he said.

Bourbon Street Bar & Grille- Hot Toddy

Jennie McConnell is the bar manager at the Bourbon Street Bar & Grille. As the name would suggest, the bar has bourbon on its shelf, and this time of year McConnell said she likes to suggest a bourbon-based cocktail that can warm guests on cold days.

If you pay Bourbon Street’s bar a visit, you’re likely hear her recommend a Hot Toddy, which is made with hot tea and bourbon.

“It really warms you from the inside out,” McConnell said. “It helps with sore throats and any sort of cold. I love it during the winter time.”

She said she makes hers with Wild Turkey Honey Whiskey and a teaspoon of honey. She warned against using too much tea, and said one tea bag should be enough.

“You don’t want too much flavor going on and taking away from the honey flavor,” McConnell added.

One you make the tea, mix in the Wild Turkey and a dash of honey, kick back and get warm and cozy.


Blue Talon Bistro, Brown Derby

The Brown Derby, made by Christine Urban at the Blue Talon. (Courtesy Adam Steely)
The Brown Derby, made by Christine Urban at the Blue Talon, served in a martini glass. (Courtesy Adam Steely)

Christine Urban, the bartender for Blue Talon Bistro, is all about recommending “easy and delicious” cocktails to her guests, and your guests, too.

Urban said the Brown Derby is an old Hollywood classic— and it’s one of the most popular bourbon-based cocktails served at the Blue Talon.

“It’s very easy and it seems to be a hit with everyone,” Urban said.

There’s no trick to it— just mix together 1.5 ounces of Old Forester Bourbon, 1.5 ounces of pink grapefruit juice, a quarter-ounce of honey syrup and a splash of lemon twist.

“As long as you get the proportion correct, it’s delicious,” Urban said.

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