As 2019 comes to a close there is one thing front and center on my mind … holiday drinking.
Since it is December 23rd, and I don’t think anybody is really at work, this has become the day that I publish my annual holiday cocktail creation. Kinda. This is actually only the 3rd time that I’ve done it but that’s about as long as I do anything here on the site. I published (which was at the time original and hilarious) Christmas Cards from famous architects for a few years but like almost all things, I became bored with it and moved on to something else.
Before that, I used to take my logo and change what the architect was drawing on his drafting board. Did you ever see any of those?
I did these for every holiday for a while but … bored. It’s kind of a trend that exists here on the site – do something that amuses me for a while and then I’ll move on to something else. I’m sure this is not a pattern that I wholly own.
What about that time when I identified the Ten Worst Christmas Songs? Man, there are some bad songs on this list and people still were able to suggest other songs that were worthy of being on this list.
If you are like every other person walking around North America, you have been inundated with Christmas songs for months already. Some Christmas songs are classics and despite the fact that you’ve heard them at least 1 billion times in your life, they don’t make you want to top off your orange juice with vodka by 7:00 in the morning … unless you are an alcoholic or an engineer, in which case it’s understandable and probably not related to hearing Christmas songs.
Since I like to pretend that I am a positive person, at least I followed up the ten worst with the 10 Best Christmas Songs.
I am not a Scrooge at heart and I don’t go around saying “Bah Humbug” (because that would be completely weird 1840’s guy), and in light of the 10 Worst Christmas Songs ever, my heart grew 3 times its normal size (FYI – that’s a Grinch reference) and I decided to share my list of the 10 best Christmas songs.
Will they be the same as your list? Unlikely.
Will there be some on here that you would have on your list? Probably
Are there some on here that deserve a second (thousandth) chance? Definitely.
But let’s be honest … we are all here for the 2019 Life of an Architect Holiday Cocktail reveal and recipe. But how about we maintain this holiday trends reveal post on the site and look at the last two cocktails? Let’s start with the 2017 entry …
And here is the final product – slightly pink, chilled and delicious. I should let you know that I am a full-grown man, standing 6′-1″ and currently weighing in at 200 lbs, but if I were to drink three of these cocktails, I wouldn’t trust myself with keeping any secrets. My wife helped me come up with the name … “Gin Zing” and it was good enough that a trend was born.
Following up that strong debut saw the introduction of a cocktail that was inspired by last year’s trip to Helsinki, Finland, home of the great Modern Master Alvar Aalto!
For the final taste test, I invited my neighbor Poul Ober over to the house to confirm my attempts. Since Poul is 50% Danish, and I am 50% Norwegian, together we are 100% qualified to evaluate whether or not I have successfully recreated this cocktail named after Finland’s greatest architect.
So, could any cocktail possibly top those previous two cocktails? It’s basically impossible but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try. So let’s get to this year’s Holiday cocktail classic! I will admit that if I do this again next year, I might depart from the Holiday theme, simply because it seems as if no matter what I do, the drink is going to turn out some shade of pink. The idea of drinking white, blue, or silver-toned drinks does not sound very appealing to me.
So here is this year’s drink – the Hard Cranberry Holiday Fizz:
Wow … there’s a lot going on in there, but is it worth drinking? Before I would be willing to put this out there for your consideration, I had to drink about 3 or 4 versions of this before I landed on something I liked. It’s really not that hard to come up with holiday drink (especially based on my personal predilections since I typically prefer my drinks brown and without fruit) but the secret to a good holiday drink, like many things in life, is all in the presentation.
So here is the recipe for this year’s holiday libation – for the most part pretty straight forward and I’ve even adjusted this year’s recipe so that you can make it in bulk (because nobody wants to miss the party because they’re busy playing bartender). The thing that makes this cocktail work is the addition of the orange-flavored simple syrup and the sugared cranberries.
Simple syrup is incredibly easy to make, basically a one-to-one ratio of sugar to water, but the addition of clementine orange peel really does make a difference. I also thought I would try making sugared cranberries as a colorful addition, and those too were easy and quick to make. If you’ve never made them before, you basically make your simple syrup like normal and once the simmering is done and the sugar is all dissolved, take the syrup off the heat and toss in your cranberries. It shouldn’t be too hot because you don’t want the cranberries to burst (like you were making actual cranberry sauce). Put the mixture into an airtight container and store in the fridge for 8+ hours.
After 8+ hours, take them out of the syrup so that they are still wet but not dripping, and toss them in granulated sugar. Once they’re coated, just set onto parchment paper for an hour or so so they dry and the sugar sets.
The tartness of the cranberry is offset by the coating of sugar (as well as the simple syrup they’ve been resting in). These are great to toss into a drink but I was surprised to learn that they are also delicious just to eat straight up.
This is the final assembly photo of the 2019 cocktail and other than already getting bored with the color, the flavor is great. The one modification I might recommend is that the amount of vodka is increased – but that’s a personal preference. This is a sweet drink that certainly says “Happy Holidays” but more vodka would probably say it better.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. 2019 was an adventurous year that had me experience new highs and lows, but since I am three (or four) Cranberry Holiday Fizzes in and I’m still writing, things were generally far more positive. I am excited to see what 2020 has in store for us all
Cheers, warmest holiday wishes to you and your loved ones,