Ricky Gomez, Shares Tips for Preparing Perfect cocktails for this holiday season
The holiday season is all about sharing and celebrating with friends and family. However, holiday entertaining can sometimes be very stressful, but don’t fret. Ricky Gomez, 2012 U.S. World Class Bartender of the Year, shares some useful tips to help you make your next holiday party unforgettable, using a very popular spirit—whisky.
Setting the Stage with Whisky
Whisky is an ideal drink for the holidays because its caramel and vanilla undertones go hand-in-hand with the season and can be mixed with many other popular holiday ingredients to make delicious cocktails.
Choosing the Right Whisky for the Holidays
Choosing the right whisky is a personal decision based on price, whisky preference and how it will be used. Set your budget first and then think about how you will be serving it. Will it be served neat, on the rocks or as a mixed cocktail? Once you decide, you can explore the various types of whiskies. There are endless sources to get you started, but nothing beats sampling different whiskeys over time and making your own choice. For example, Buchanan’s features four different types of whiskies: DeLuxe, Master, Special Reserve and Red Seal. Each whisky varies with age, appearance, taste and finish; and each one can be enjoyed differently, depending on individual characteristics.
Adding Mixers to the Mix
Ginger ale, ginger beer, apple cider and water are excellent holiday mixers that pair very well with whisky. Ginger, whether it’s in the form ginger ale or ginger beer, is a great palate cleanser that reminds the drinker of the holidays and entices you to have another sip. Another holiday great is apple cider, which is carried by most grocery stores during the season and in some cases you can get spiced versions. However, one of the most underrated mixers is water. Just a little bit of water can open up a whiskey and allow you to taste many more characteristics that may have gone unnoticed without the water.
Pairing Cocktails with Appetizers
Anytime you serve cocktails, you should also serve some simple bites to go with it. Keep the flavors on the light side so that guests don’t burn out their palates on the first course. Remember, this is the aperitif course, so think of ingredients that will get guests ready to eat. Some favorites include shrimp cocktail, bruschettas and nuts.
Keeping Everyone Safe
Throw a holiday party responsibly. Make sure you remind guests to keep eating as they drink, and offer water and non-caffeinated drinks for guests to alternate with to stay hydrated. Most importantly, remind them to get home safely by walking, catching a cab, or getting a ride home with a designated driver.
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