Midwinter Ginger


Written by Janice Cardwell
Photography by Liesa Cole

As the holiday season approaches, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy of it all and miss the most beautiful parts—obsessing over the perfect gifts, decorations, and parties. Well-meaning revelers eat too much, spend too much, and worry too much. In the hustle and bustle, exhaustion replaces the true spirit of the season.

The holidays should be about taking a break from daily routine to regroup, refresh, and remember the important things in life. The lights twinkling on the tree, the fire crackling from the hearth, and Mom’s latest masterpiece baking in the oven all impart the sweet traditions of holidays past and bring the comfort and joy of this time of year. The best wintry cocktails are boozy yet balanced, and invoke peace and goodwill with every sip.

Cocktailing, whether creating or imbibing, should be simple but memorable. The best drinks are approachable like comfort food—accessible ingredients, reproducible recipes, nostalgic flavors.


Ginger Takes Manhattan

1½ ounce Maker’s Mark (or your favorite bourbon)

¾ ounce Byrrh Grand Quinquina

¾ ounce Gingerbread Syrup (recipe below)

1 teaspoon dark cherry juice

A couple dashes of bitters

Pour all ingredients into mixing glass; add ice and stir. Then strain over fresh ice and garnish with a dark cherry.


Gingerbread Syrup

This syrup is easy to make with components you probably already have in your spice rack. Keep it in the fridge to jazz up your nightcap or label it with a pretty tag for the perfect last-minute gift.

1 cup water

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon molasses

3 (2-inch) pieces peeled ginger root

1 cinnamon stick

4 cloves

Pinch nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and cover for 20 minutes. Remove ginger and cinnamon stick and discard. Pour mixture through a mesh strainer or layer of cheesecloth. Store in a resealable bottle in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.


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