When self-described “spirits geek” Amy Yakuboff hosts a party, there’s bound to be a glass of sparkling “welcome wine” at the door, a whiskey flight to sample, and a dozen different flavors of cocktail bitters to choose from. “I love to introduce new flavors and spirits to friends,” she says.
Yakuboff is not just a consummate hostess; she’s a bona fide expert. With a Level II WSET (Wine & Spirit Education Trust) certification, she puts her passion for exploring cultures through their libations and her creativity behind the bar to work as Brand Manager at Flaviar, the world’s largest online, members-only premium spirits club. We asked her to come up with some holiday cocktail recipes using our limited-edition organic infused maple syrups, and she invented two drinks worthy of your seasonal sipping. For fans of rum cocktails, there’s a festive rum punch with notes of cinnamon and vanilla, and for those chilly winter nights, she showed us how to make a hot toddy that will keep you cozy.
Don’t let bad memories of spiced rum from college get in the way of you trying this cocktail! Using a high-quality dark rum and an amazing ingredient like this maple syrup helps to reinvigorate “spiced” rum. Cinnamon and vanilla bean are always wonderful complements to rum. YUM.
Yield: 1 cocktail
2 ounces dark rum (Amy recommends Ten To One Dark Rum)
1 ounces fresh lime juice
Lemon peel, to garnish
Shake ingredients together with ice and double strain* over a large ice cube in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lemon peel.
*Tip: Double straining ensures that the broken ice chips from shaking the cocktail don’t end up in your cocktail.
It’s fun and easy to set up a hot toddy station at a holiday gathering, and it only requires a little bit of prep. Stock up on heatsafe mugs and an insulated carafe for your hot water. Put out a bowl of halved lemons along with your whiskey of choice, maple syrup, cinnamon sticks, and a jigger for easy measuring.
Yield: 1 cocktail
1.5 ounces Scotch (Amy suggests a Speyside Scotch like Aberfeldy, or try Irish whiskey, bourbon, or rye)
Juice from half a lemon
5 ounces hot water
Combine Scotch, syrup, and lemon juice into a mug and top with hot water. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
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