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Cocktails for Thanksgiving and the Holidays


Andrew Leonardo’s Signature Holiday Drinks

November 18, 2015 – About this time every year anxiety sets in about what to pour with the Thanksgiving meal.  Since cocktails are so popular we decided to ask Andrew Leonardo for suggestions, not just for Thanksgiving but also for recipes that will work for any occasion during the Holiday Season.  Below are eight delicious, easy-to-make cocktails created especially for us.

Andrew has spent more than two decades honing his skills in the alcohol beverage business.  One of those decades was spent as a mixologist in bars mostly in New York but with stints in Florida, California and Maine.  He went on to manage clubs, training bartenders in the club scene, and helping clubs stage events.

For the last seven years Andrew has been with Lieber Brothers, a respected distributor in the North East, where he puts his mixology talents to good use helping clients in restaurants, bars and retail stores with tips on how to introduce the consumer to exciting new products represented by Lieber Brothers.

Andrew is passionate that the cocktails he creates meet certain standards.  Fresh flavor, not all alcohol or syrup, is his credo.  Like a good wine or a chef’s special dish, his cocktails must have balance so that layers of flavor will intrigue the consumer and have them wondering just what it is that makes the drink so enjoyable and memorable.  He pays particular attention to following the measurements and mixing instructions in the recipe and warns against getting “creatively sloppy” which can change the drink completely, and maybe even spoil it.

In talking to him, we were impressed by his knowledge of exactly how various flavors combine, or not in some cases. All the recipes below have been tested and retested to ensure balance and he’s added serving suggestions and garnish, which are equally important.  As with wine, the size and shape of the glass affects the outcome.  These recipes are easy to master and will not overload a busy host or hostess.

For Thanksgiving, what is more appropriate than a cocktail incorporating apple cider, the drink of the Pilgrims?  No one can say for sure that they drank it with the first Thanksgiving meal, but it is highly likely they did. In the spirit of historical tradition and a tribute to our history, cider makes an excellent addition to any Thanksgiving meal. It has acidity and sweetness, both of which go well with turkey.  Andrew has created three cocktails that incorporate cider:  The Wolfin Cider Martini, the Southern Quencher and Jesse’s Spiced Hot Cider (which can also be served cold).  At the end of the meal, either as dessert or a chaser with coffee, try My Uncle’s Rootbeer Float..  Andrew also noted that it’s OK to use inexpensive amaretto since it is not the backbone of the drink.  If you have several guests drinking cider recipes #1 or #2, you can multiply the recipe for the number of drinks you think you’ll need, then add the ice step for each drink as needed.

Andrew Leonardo’s Signature Holiday Drinks

Drink 1 – The Wolfin Cider Martini

ww½ oz. amaretto

2 oz. William Wolf Pecan Bourbon

4 oz. non-carbonated apple cider

Chill a 9 oz. martini glass with ice water for 30 seconds then empty.

Shake all the ingredients briskly with ice in a large shaker then strain into martini glass.  Garnish with a thin apple wedge coated with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Drink 2  – The Southern Quencher

South Bay Rum Drink #22 oz. South Bay Rum

Splash of sour or fresh lemon juice

4 oz. hard apple cider from a bottle or draft

Rub the rim of a 16 oz. pint glass with lemon then dip in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon to coat the rim.  Fill the glass with ice.  Add ingredients and stir.

Drink 3 – Jesse’s Spiced Hot Cider (can also be served cold)

jj½ oz. amaretto

2 oz. Jesse James Spiced Bourbon

4 oz. of unfiltered apple cider

Warm the apple cider.  Combine the amaretto and Spiced Bourbon in a coffee mug.  Add warm cider and garnish with a cinnamon stick.


Drink 4 – The Pau Pleasure Martini

Pau Maui Vodka Drink #41 oz. of coconut rum

1 oz. vanilla vodka

4 oz. of Pau Maui Vodka

½ oz. of pineapple juice

Chill a 9 oz. martini glass with ice water for 30 seconds then empty glass.  Rinse the glass with a splash of coconut water but don’t empty glass of coconut water.

In a large shaker filled with ice add all the ingredients.  Shake four times then strain into martini glass and garnish with a small pineapple wedge on the side on the rim.

Drink 5 – The Blue Rendezvous

Blanc de Blue Drink #5½ oz. of white cranberry juice

Splash of peach schnapps

4 oz. of Blanc de Blue sparkling

In a flute glass add a frozen raspberry then add all contents in the above order.

Drink 6 – The Mexcor Mucho Margarita

ov½ oz. of O’rangville brandy

1 oz. of fresh lemon juice

4 oz. of Agavales gold or white tequila

Splash of sour mix

In a shaker add ice and ingredients then shake with some force.  Take a lime and squeeze all around a tall glass of your choice.  Dip the lime wet rim in rock salt and pour all contents from shaker into glass.  Garnish with a lime wedge.

Drink 7 – The Mexican Mudslide

Cafka Drink #7½ oz. of St. Patrick’s Irish Cream

1 oz. of vanilla vodka

2 oz. of Cafka coffee liquor

4 oz. of milk

Put all the ingredients into a blender with ice and blend.  Using a large 16 oz. glass of your choice, dip the rim in milk then sprinkle with coco powder and drizzle chocolate syrup along the inside of the glass.  Slowly pour the blended cocktail into the garnished glass.

Drink 8 – My Uncle’s Rootbeer Float

Uncle Bob's Drink #8

1 oz. of Uncle Bob’s Rootbeer Whiskey

½ oz. of St Patrick’s Irish Cream

½ oz. of Horchata

In a 2 oz. shot glass pour whiskey, then add the Horchata slowly with teaspoon then repeat with the Irish Cream.

Horchata Drink #8