This article was originally published on Christie’s International Real Estate’s blog Luxury Defined.
It may be a side effect of the holidays, or simply the winter chill, but every day running up to New Year’s Eve seems to call out for a glass of something fabulous. So, put down the eggnog, step away from the mulled wine, and instead opt for these creative festive cocktails. Each has been created by the world’s most forward-thinking bartenders, and comes with a story that’s almost as good to savor as the drink itself.
The French 75
From: Hotel Valley Ho, Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A.
Upon opening in 1956, Edward L. Varney’s Modernist marvel, the Hotel Valley Ho, in Old Town Scottsdale, instantly attracted Hollywood greats such as Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, and Humphrey Bogart, who sought refuge from Tinseltown within its gorgeous interiors.
Its signature cocktail, the French 75, has an equally illustrious history: Bogart famously consoles himself with one in the movie Casablanca, while John Wayne sips on his in Jet Pilot. A deceptively light and citrusy blend of gin, lemon juice, and champagne, its effervescence is perennially festive and is especially well suited to the holidays.
Hotel Valley Ho may offer the perfect French 75, but the drink dates back to the First World War and an early form was created at the New York Bar in Paris by barman Harry MacElhone in 1915. Image: Alamy
To make your own, pour 2 ounces (60 ml) gin, ¾ ounces (22.5 ml) fresh lemon juice, and ¾ ounces (22.5 ml) simple syrup (1:1 sugar/water ratio), into a shaker, fill with ice, and shake until cold. Strain into a flute, top with 2 ounces (60 ml) chilled champagne or brut sparkling wine, and garnish with a twist of lemon.?
From: Petit St. Vincent, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, The Caribbean
With its pristine beaches flanked by dense forests, the private-island resort of Petit St. Vincent—which has no cars and just 22 immaculate cottages—guarantees privacy, luxury, and complete peace. And Goatie’s Hammer, the island’s signature rum punch cocktail, promises to elevate that feeling of bliss—whether you’re sitting beside the ocean or enjoying more wintry festivities from home.
Forty miles south of St. Vincent in the Grenadine islands, Petit St. Vincent is an exclusive private island that’s deliberately disconnected from the outside world—its Goatie’s Hammer cocktail offers a delicious taste of that escape.
The cocktail, which is named after the hotel’s longest-serving member of staff, Noel &ldquoatie” Victory, combines 1-ounce (30 ml) measures each of dark rum, vodka, gin, and peach liqueur in a shaker. Add 3 ounces (90 ml) of orange juice, 2 ounces (60 ml) of cranberry juice, and ½ ounce (15 ml) lime juice, fill with crushed ice and shake until cold. Pour into a tumbler and finish it off with a slice of orange or lime.
From: The Royal Mansour, Marrakech, Morocco
Built by King Mohammed VI, the Royal Mansour is a palace in all but name. Lavish, beautiful, and designed to showcase the skills of the country’s most talented craftspeople, its 53 riads are a masterpiece of architecture and interior decor. And it offers service—and mocktails—at its iconic Le Jardin bar to match. Its bartenders recommend serving the drink at sunset; a time, they say, marks “the start of happy hour and is animated by a festive spirit.”
Le Jardin’s version of a virgin mojito is traditionally served in the heart of the Royal Mansour at happy hour, accompanied by music from the resident pianist.
Their delicious take on a virgin mojito will certainly leave you feeling festive, and is wonderfully easy to whip up. Simply put three scoops of lemon sorbet, six fresh mint leaves, 2 ounces (60 ml) of lemon juice, and the zest of one lemon in a blender and mix until smooth. Garnish with fresh mint leaves and serve immediately.
Known for creating the world’s first light-bodied and mixable white rum in 1830, Bacardi is still a family-owned company today and owns more than 200 brands, including Grey Goose Vodka, Martini, and Bombay Sapphire. Its new Bombay Bramble, a distilled gin crafted with completely natural flavours from freshly harvested blackberries and raspberries, is perfect for cocktail creativity—and makes a winter warmer with a kick.
With its notes of tart, fresh berries, Bombay Bramble is a wonderful twist on a familiar gin. Serve it as a mulled punch this festive season, or as an update to your usual G&T at any other time of the year.
To create your own, add 2 ounces (60 ml) of Bombay Bramble, 4 ounces (125 ml) of red wine, and ½ ounce (15 ml) brown sugar syrup (2:1 sugar/water ratio) to a pan. Warm slowly on a stove top until the flavor infuses, and serve once the temperature is above 122°F (50°C). Pour into glasses and garnish with an orange slice and cinnamon stick.
From: The American Bar, Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland
Gleneagles, with its world-famous golf-course, has always epitomized style and elegance, so it should come as no surprise that it’s selected the timeless martini as its signature cocktail—albeit reinvented in five uniquely Scottish forms.
The 1920s-inspired American Bar at Gleaneagles Hotel makes any drink within its space feel intimate and special—its Estate Martini is sure to add a little glamour to any of your occasions this season.
Each one draws on the varied scenery of the surrounding countryside and uses a different Scottish gin. The Estate Martini takes the classic and gives it a sharp twist of raspberry by combining 2 ounces (60 ml) of South Loch Black Raspberry Old Tom Gin, ½ ounce (15 ml) raspberry leaf-infused vermouth, and 1 teaspoon of elderflower cordial into a mixing glass. It’s then stirred well to combine, strained into a chilled martini glass, and garnished with lemon peel.
From: Savoy Palace, Funchal, Madeira, Portugal
Renowned architect Nini Andrade Silva has taken Madeira’s Belle Époque glamour and abundant cultural heritage and woven them into the audacious design for this five-star hotel. In the same way, the mixologists at its rooftop Galáxia Skybar have reinvented the classic negroni with dried fruit notes, hazelnuts, and Madeira—creating an intoxicating blend of tradition and modernity.
The Space Truck is all about balance: hazelnut tempers the gin’s strength and adds dried fruit notes to the orange flavor of Campari, while Madeira wine adds a blend of acidity and sweetness.
For the hazelnut-infused gin add ¾ ounce (22.5 ml) roasted, shelled, and lightly crushed hazelnuts to a cup of gin. Cover and leave for five days. Sieve out the solids and store. For the cocktail, pour 1-ounce (30 ml) measures each of the hazelnut gin, Campari, and Henriques & Henriques medium-rich, three-year-old Madeira wine into a mixing glass, add ice, and stir until well chilled. Then strain into an old-fashioned glass and add a final flourish of orange peel.
From: Pure Scot, Bladnoch Distillery, Scotland
In 2015, Bladnoch Distillery owner David Prior and whisky expert Charles Maclean—author of 17 books on Scotch, and a Whisky Magazine Hall of Fame inductee—combined their knowledge to create a new label, Pure Scot. Its two blends, Pure Scot Signature and Pure Scot Virgin Oak (which is finished in virgin American oak casks) are made with Speyside whisky and have won awards for their smooth flavor and honey-filled notes.
Pure Scot makes the perfect base for any whisky cocktail, and its makers are on a mission to prove there’s more than one way to enjoy the traditional Scottish drink.
Their new cocktail, The Entertainer, highlights the whisky’s “crisp, smooth and thoroughly modern taste” and promises to heat up even the coldest of winter evenings. To make, shake 2 ounces (60 ml) Pure Scot Virgin Oak with ½ ounce (15 ml) grapefruit juice, 2 teaspoons of orgeat syrup, and 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice. Then double strain into a champagne flute, add a splash of soda, and garnish with grapefruit peel.