Closing in on the holiday season mainly means one thing in the MacKay household: our annual cocktail competition is near! We are currently preparing for the 7th season, but in the meantime, here’s how 2018’s match-up went down…
The full line-up is always a highly-anticipated night-of surprise, as we don’t even share the spirit of choice ahead of time. Somehow, everyone still ends up going a very different direction:Judging is not for the faint of heart. It takes a born and bred Wisconsinite to persevere and accurately assess each cocktail.Hands down, the most impressive cocktail goes to the Midnight in Manhattan. Not only did my dad introduce his drink with a limerick, he also smoked the glasses! He soaked cedar planks in orange blossom water overnight, started little fires in the planks, and then set the glasses on top to capture that smokey orange essence. It was the perfect winter cocktail: bourbon, sweet vermouth, bourbon barrel maple syrup and bitters (garnished with cloves and luxardo cherries).
“I have the perfect drink for when the weather gets nippy
Don’t drink too much, though, it might make you a bit tippy
It’s as smooth as satin
It’s called the Midnight in Manhattan
Straight from the trails in Natchez, Mississippi”
My mom re-created the Southern Limerick, a cocktail we loved at The Pinewood Social, one of our favorite bars in Nashville. A warm, creamy, boozy drink made of whiskey, coffee, simple syrup and Meletti Amaro Liquer, topped with whipping cream and bitters. This was my fav of the night! (Note that skeptical side eye from Michael!)
I didn’t lose from lack of trying. I soaked pears in vodka for weeks leading up to the competition!
However, despite my effort and art deco presentation, my Spiced Pear Martini didn’t cut it for placing on the podium.Emily’s White Christmas Martini was the prettiest drink that night! She shook up Vanilla Vodka, Rum Chata, Milk & Honey Cream Liqueur and Half & Half. Bonus points for the throwback rock candy on top!Michael won ANOTHER title with his Limoncello Martini. He spent 10 weeks making his own Limoncello with lemons, vodka and simple syrup. Stirred that night with Limonata and a candied lemon peel. Congratulations, bro!Clearly, we don’t take this competition lightly. In fact, I already feel behind for not having selected my cocktail entry for the 2019 games! Suggestions welcome :)
Looking for more inspiration? Cocktails of Christmas’ Passed:
- Christmas Cocktail Competition 2017 – I entered a Clover Club
- Christmas Cocktail Competition 2016 – I entered my Fairy Tale of New York
- Christmas Cocktail Competition 2015 – I entered my White Christmas Russian
- Christmas Cocktail Competition 2014 – I entered my Mistletoe Mule
- “Unofficial” Christmas Cocktail Competition 2013 – The Cranberry Margarita I made that started it all!