Holiday Guide: Cocktail chic!
This time of year offers a million excuses to throw a party (like you ever needed one). But what to serve the guests? If you’re tired of trotting out the same old bottles of wine, we’ve got just the thing to appeal to closet mixologists (and the people who love them). We reached out to local bars and restaurants and got back a trio of cocktails sure to make your party a little more festive.
Meanwhile, congratulations are due to Isadora Alman, who won a ticket to the Alameda Holiday Home Tour for being the first person to submit a recipe for our first-ever recipe contest. It’s easy to enter: Just e-mail your best holiday recipe and contact information to email@example.com by December 14. Readers will get to check out all the recipes on December 17 and vote for their favorite; the winner gets a $100 gift certificate to Asena Restaurant.
An excellent holiday destination is the very unique Forbidden Island Tiki Lounge (1304 Lincoln Avenue). Forbidden Island is dedicated to bringing back the classic look and feel of an authentic 1960s tiki lounge, complete with bamboo huts, waterfalls, and world class cocktails. Holiday movies in the background and Mele Kalikimaka on the jukebox round out any holiday evening. Try an Island-inspired holiday cocktail such as the St. Nick’s Whiskers, created by Forbidden Island’s head mixologist, Suzanne Long. The St. Nick’s Whiskers features Flor de Cana rum from Nicaragua, fig preserves, and fresh rosemary. Meanwhile, be sure to make your New Year’s Eve reservations today for Apocalypso Now at Forbidden Island – tropical sounds of Caribbean steel pan and guitar styles of Latin America and Brazil, seafood and tiki hors d’oeuvres, exclusive cocktails and champagne at midnight. Ring in the New Year in the finest Island fashion!
1.5 oz Flor de Cana 5 Year Rum
¼ oz St. Elizabeth Pimento Dram
½ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 heaping barspoons of Casa Guilia Fig Preserves
1 branch fresh rosemary
Small cocktail (martini) glass
Muddle rosemary leaves from the bottom half of the branch with the St. Elizabeth Pimento dram, reserving the soft top portion for garnish. Add all other ingredients and shake very vigorously to incorporate all of the preserves. Suzanne Long insists that you squeeze your lemon juice fresh for this cocktail – there are no substitutes for fresh flavor! Strain the cocktail through a mesh sieve to catch the muddled rosemary leaves, and garnish with the remaining sprig tucked into a small lemon wheel on the edge of the glass.
Readers at Alameda Magazine voted Habanas restaurant (1518 Park Street) home of Alameda’s best cocktail in 2008 and 2009; they took Best Restaurant honors too) for the hearty, spicy creole cookery of Cuba they offer with California accents. They serve lunch, dinner and weekend Sparkling Mojito Brunch along with this Sparkling Pear Mojito created by Alexander Benson, the restaurant’s assistant manager. The restaurant also offers private catering and delivery service.
1/2 handful of mint filled with ice
Splash of lime juice
Splash of simple syrup
Splash of pear nectar
1 oz of Bacardi Silver
Muddle; top with champagne.
Local mixologist Melissa Gruenhagen offered this Pumpkin Pie Spice Daiquiri to round out our trio of cocktail recipes. Gruenhagen, one of the original cocktail slingers at Forbidden Island and a longtime Alameda resident, also has a vintage clothing business called Retro Diva and sells at the Alameda Point Antiques & Collectibles Faire (she’s got a brick-and-mortar location at Petaluma’s Chick-a-Boom Vintage as well).
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
Cruzan Gold rum
To make the syrup, add two tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice to 1 cup of water. Simmer for about 15 minutes, then add two cups of sugar and stir it until it’s melted into the syrup. Let cool. Add 1 oz of the spiced syrup to 1 oz lime juice and 2 oz rum. Shake well with ice; strain into cocktail glass.