Holiday Cocktails

Photography by Jenna Noel

There’s something glittering about a winter cocktail party—and if you don’t need a little glitter this time of year, when do you? Not for nothing are distilled spirits, alcohol’s most grown-up incarnation, known as “social lubricants.” At Edible Austin, the question wasn’t so much whether to throw a cocktail party in the first place, but exactly which cocktails to serve.

That’s when we turned to local distillers. We asked them each to provide an exclusive cocktail. All accepted the challenge.

Some even went further, dreaming up perfect settings, and sometimes even soundtracks, for the drinks they invented.

Get out the shakers, stirrers and strainers, and read on.

Apples ‘n’ Oranges

We tried to get Paula Angerstein of Paula’s Texas Orange liqueur to spin a fantasy involving a clandestine winter mission on a Vespa in Rome—but she wouldn’t go for it. She did, however, invent the following irresistible drink.

1 oz. Paula’s Texas Orange
1 oz. Calvados or premium apple brandy
1 oz. apple juice
1 oz. lemon juice

Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass. Use a cinnamon stick
as a swizzler.

Hot Rumba

Daniel Barnes, the young mastermind behind Austin’s Treaty Oak Platinum Rum, has no trouble picturing himself lounging with his wife Rachael, listening to an indie/Christmas CD—or perhaps Gogol Bordello—and enjoying Hot Rumbas on a wintry night.

Fill a coffee cup with good quality hot chocolate. Add 2 oz. Treaty Oak Platinum rum.

Light and Breezy

Austin holidays don’t always involve blue northers. If late December finds you floating in Barton Springs or sitting on your porch in the sun, nix the hot chocolate and try this:

1 shot Treaty Oak Platinum Rum
½ Rio Grande Valley lemon
Maine Root Ginger Beer

Stir rum and lemon together over ice in a rocks glass. Top with ginger beer.


Kevin Kelleher at Dripping Springs Vodka invented the Angelita, but his wife Sue had the vision. “It’s festive and Christmas-y,” she says. “In a perfect world, I’d be sitting in a den with a fireplace, listening to Bing Crosby and Willie Nelson. With modern technology, they could even be singing a duet.” (Are you listening, Willie?)

¾ oz. Dripping Springs Vodka
¾ oz. Paula’s Texas Orange
6½ oz. Sparkling Blanc de Noirs

Pour vodka and Paula’s Texas Orange into a tall champagne flute. Top with chilled Blanc de Noirs. Rim and garnish with orange.

Savvy Martini

SAVVY Handcrafted Vodka, the latest local vodka on the market, gives off an unmistakably hip and urban vibe. Yet when SAVVY founder Chad Auler’s vision of himself drinking a SAVVY martini on a cold December night takes place, it’s not in a downtown loft, but outdoors at his Fall Creek Ranch with his wife and kids. “SAVVY is so smooth it almost warms the body,” Auler says. “I’m listening to Johnny Cash, Eric Clapton or whatever is on my daughter’s iPod. It’s the perfect winter night.”

Pour 3 oz. of SAVVY Vodka into a shaker filled with ice. Let the vodka chill briefly. Strain and pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and a touch of lemon zest.