Drinks to Make Spirits Bright

Featured in A Holiday Entertaining Survival Guide

Crafting custom cocktails for party guests will render you playing bartender all night. Instead, make a big batch of this festive wassail from Christy Pope and Chad Solomon, the master mixologists behind The Joule’s Midnight Rambler. It makes the perfect self-serve signature drink—and looks beautifully retro in a punch bowl to boot.


1½ ounces (45ml) whiskey (we especially like Laird’s Straight Applejack 86 Proof)
½ ounce (15ml) El Dorado 12-yr. rum
4 ounce (120m) wassail batch*
Freshly grated nutmeg for garnish

*Wassail Batch
1 quart organic apple cider
1 pint pomegranate juice (non-sweetened, not from concentrate)
½ cup sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
¾ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 teaspoon whole allspice

To prepare wassail batch, combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for at least one hour or until all ingredients are well incorporated, and then strain the spices.

The wassail can be served hot when the batch is ready, or it can be refrigerated and served cold with the spirits of your choice. If serving cold, it’s nice to shake the wassail and spirits and then serve over fresh ice in a punch glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.


Festive occasions call for breaking out the bubbly. But before you pop the cork on that top-shelf Champagne, consider one of the other equally tasty—and often more reasonably priced—sparkling wines that exist in the market. Jennifer Eby, wine director at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, offers up a few of her favorites.


Region: Italy
Description: Made mostly from the Glera grape, this light sparkler is ideal for brunches and is reasonably priced, even at the high end.
Jennifer’s picks: “Look for wines from the Conegliano Valdobbiadene growing area, especially from top producers Bisol ($17/Veritas) and Carpenè Malvolti ($16/Pogo’s).”


Region: Italy
Description: Franciacortas can incorporate blends of Pinot Bianco, Pinot Nero, and Chardonnay. They can be vintage (using grapes of only one year’s harvest) or nonvintage.
Jennifer’s picks: “Bellavista is my top pick—either their Satèn ($47/Spec’s), which is all Chardonnay, or the Alma Gran Cuvée ($49/Spec’s), which is a blend.”

Méthode Champenoise

Region: Varies
Description: These sparkling wines are typically more affordable than those from the Champagne region of France, despite being produced using the same grapes and method.
Jennifer’s picks: “It’s hard to go wrong with the Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs from Napa Valley ($35/Total Wine), which is nonvintage and relatively affordable.”

Sparkling Rosé

Region: Varies
Description: Sparkling rosés are available in a wide range of aromatics and colors and look beautiful in the glass.
Jennifer’s picks: “From the Alsace region of France, I love Lucien Albrecht Brut Rosé Crémant d’Alsace ($20/Pogo’s), which is great choice for a crowd.”

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