The holidays…a time for friends, family and festivities. This year more than ever, people are looking forward to gathering and reconnecting with those whose company they might not have been able to enjoy during last year’s socially-distanced season. As traditions are rekindled and favorite food and drinks enjoyed, some local bartenders wanted to share their favorite holiday cocktail recipes. These drinks can be enjoyed with meals or on their own and just might become a tradition at your holiday get-togethers. These creative and unique drinks are as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate, and are crafted with an equal measure of talent and love.
Colton Chrane, manager and bar director at The Local, grew up in Washington, D.C. and came back to Abilene after living in Myrtle Beach, SC. He enjoys working in the food and beverage industry because it “gives so many people an outlet to create, connect and tell their stories.” Jenny Morrison, another Local bartender also shared her favorite drinks and why she loves them.
Mixologist Colby Marcee owns and operates the KAO Lounge alongside developer and entrepreneur Tim Smith. Created during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the bar is described as “expressive, funky, yet elegant and comfortable.” The drinks Colby shares in these pages possess a similar mix of modern and traditional, with a bit of boundary pushing for good measure.
OAXACAN OLD FASHIONED
• 1.5 oz Siembra Valles Reposado Tequila
• .5 oz Del Maguey’s Vida
• .25 oz agave syrup (1:1 mix of agave and hot water. Note: make your syrup with hibiscus tea instead of water to mix it up)
• 1 dash of Angostura bitters
• 1 dash of Bitterman’s mole bitters
Pour all ingredients in a rocks glass with ice. Stir. Garnish with an orange twist.
This is my all time favorite holiday drink and was an inspiration of mine when getting interested in cocktail bartending. It became an instrument to communicate this passion and love throughout our bartending staff. Created by Phillip Ward at my favorite cocktail lounge, Death & Company, this cocktail hits all the warming notes. For me the mole really sets it off and immediately takes me to a crackling fireplace, with the people I love, and the feeling of excitement in the air. –Colton Chrane
• Coconut washed Charanda Anejo
During the holiday season I always romanticized the beginning of fall but dreaded summers close. In between the ending of nature’s beautiful cycle and our lives seemingly becoming more routine. Notes of tart apricot, toffee, and rum funk play while the coconut wash creates a silky mouthfeel. This drink is dedicated to the moments we hold onto while looking forward to the future. –Colton Chrane
PAINTED LEAF (MOCKTAIL)
• 2 oz cranberry juice
• 2 oz ginger beer
• 2 oz cold soda water
(Note: No ginger beer? Substitute with ginger ale!)
Pour into chilled flute; garnish with rosemary and a twist of lemon.
Something my mom used to make during big family New Years celebrations , a mix of cranberry juice and champagne, were Poinsettias. This drink is still very nostalgic to me during the vibrant celebrations of the holidays. It reminds me of celebrating with family, and friends that feel like family. This recipe will be sure to set the mood even if you’re not imbibing. –Colton Chrane
THE ABIHAUS 30 MINUTE FLIGHT
• .75 oz Knob Creek 9 yr. Bourbon
• .75 oz Aperol
• .75 oz Ancho Reyes Ancho Chile Liqueur
• .75 oz fresh lemon juice
Shaken and double strained into chilled Nick + Nora glass. Garnish with a mini paper airplane and/or winged lemon peel on rim.
This drink is based on the Paper Plane cocktail and is an Abilene favorite. Named after the flight from Dallas to Abilene. This drink was developed by Drew Garrison who was the beverage director of the since closed AbiHaus around 2015. It symbolizes Abilene built it also symbolizes community and the love we all have for downtown Abilene as a place to meet, gather, and have fun. This drink is a beautiful combination of bitter, tart, and spicy. –Jenny Morrison
KISS OF VENUS
• Cinnamon infused tequila
• Ginger Liqueur
• Ginger beer
Cinnamon and ginger go together like snow and sleds, giving gingerbread and gingersnaps that irresistible warm and spicy flavor. Kiss of Venus honors this traditional holiday spice combo while staying authentic to what we do best at our bar: agave. The lemon brightens the warmth of the cinnamon tequila and ginger liqueur, and topping with ginger beer adds a zing that will linger even after your glass is empty. Elegant, balanced, and easy to make, this cocktail will make your guests happy and enhance your holiday gathering (except maybe your third grader’s class Christmas party.) –Jenny Morrison
• 2 oz Tito’s Vodka
• 1 oz cranberry syrup
• 1 oz lemon juice
Add all ingredients to shaker tin. Add ice, shake for 20 seconds. Double strain into cranberry sugar rimmed martini glass.
Cranberry Syrup: Add one cup of white sugar and 1/2 cup of water to sauce pan. Heat until clear and add 1/2 cup of dehydrated cranberries. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool in refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Strain cranberries out and enjoy. Store in refrigerator for up to 1 month.
SLICE OF SPICE
• 2 oz Zaya Grand Reverva
• 1 oz Cinnamon Demerara
• 1 oz creamer
• Pumpkin spice seasoning
Add all ingredients to shaker tin. Shake for 30 seconds without ice. Add ice, shake an additional 20 seconds. Double strain into your favorite holiday glass. Garnish with pumpkin spice on top of foam.
Cinnamon Demerara: Add 1 cup Demerara sugar and 1 cup water to sauce pan. Heat until sugar in dissolved. Add 2-3 cinnamon sticks and simmer for 15 minutes. Chill for 1 hour in refrigerator, remove cinnamon sticks and enjoy.
Puts the pumpkin Spice Latte to shame and gets you the fame at your family Christmas. –Colby
S’MORE ME ANOTHER
• 1 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
• 1 oz Denizen 3-year Aged Rum
• .75 oz marshmallow syrup
• .25 oz chocolate syrup
• .5 oz cream
Add all ingredients to shaker tin. Shake without ice for 20 seconds. Add ice, shake for 20 seconds. Strain into martini glass rimmed with crushed graham cracker. Use Everclear floated on a dehydrated lemon wheel to light the campfire. Roast a marshmallow on the open flame.
Marshmallow Syrup: Take a container of Jet Puffed marshmallow cream and put in sauce pan with equal amount of water. Heat and add water little by little until mixed and runny. Add a cup of sugar and let dissolve. Remove from heat and let chill for 1 hour and enjoy. Can be stored for up to 1 week then discard.
Crushed Graham Cracker: Put graham crackers into a big mixing bowl. Take a clean pint glass and use the bottom to smash the graham cracker until no big pieces remain.
Non-alcoholic version: Use milk instead of the Rum and Chocolate liqueur, make the same way. Don’t forget the roasting marshmallow part!
This cocktail is the adult version of the kids favorite Christmas past time. –Colby
• 1.5 oz Balcones Pot Still Bourbon
• .5 oz Disaronno
• 5 dashes Black Walnut bitters
Add all ingredients to mixing glass. Stir 40 times. Strain into old fashioned glass. Flash an Orange peel and drop into the glass.
A twist on an old classic that will have grandpa dancing like its 1931. –Colby
• 2 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
• 1 oz lime juice/ half of a lime
• .75 oz pomegranate rosemary syrup
• .5 oz Cointreau/ Triple Sec
• 1 oz pomegranate juice
Add all ingredients except pomegranate juice to shaker tin. Add ice, shake for 10 seconds. Pour entire contents into a pint glass. Top with pomegranate juice. Garnish with fresh
pomegranate seeds and a sprig of rosemary.
Pomegranate Rosemary Syrup: Add 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup water to a sauce pan. Heat until dissolved. Add 1 sprig of fresh rosemary and 1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds to saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes. Chill for 1-2 hours, strain the rosemary and pomegranate seeds out and enjoy.
This cocktail is inspired by the Beach on Christmas for all you Christmas Vacationers out there. -Colby
By Molly Hill
Photography By The Local and Shayli Anne Photography