“It’s good, It’s good,” he starts – guzzling multiple mugs of brandy-laden egg nog from the living room punch bowl.  In one of the most poignant and oddly thoughtful monologues on the madness of the holiday season, Chevy Chase’s epic tirade at the climax of the movie “Christmas Vacation” properly sums up our collective exasperation at the year-end’s ability to whip us into crazed lunatics.  Pile on the holiday hustle and even the strongest wills of man can be reduced to raving lunacy in front of a group of in-laws on Christmas Eve.

We asked our friend and bartender-in-chief, Aaron Strasser, to spice up our holiday drink routine and give us a break – if only for a moment – from the holiday tradition of running ourselves ragged.  After all, if you’re celebratory plans don’t involve a quiet moment to reconnect with yourself while pondering life mysteries, you’ll have missed the point.

The "Scout"

“The Scout” was inspired by a late-year hike in outdoor country – crisp air, self reliance, and Earth’s beauty.  “I wanted to imagine what a man takes with him to the river gorge – coffee for the morning and whiskey at night.”  Aaron decided to bridge the gap between these two outdoor-inspired flavors and create a new holiday tradition.

2 oz. Bulleit Rye
1 oz. Coffee-infused Cocchi Americano
1/4 oz. homemade Allspice Dram (or St. Elizabeth Allspice dram)
2 dashes homemade Cardamom Bitters (or Fee brothers)

Combine all ingredients into mixing glass.
Add ice and stir for 10 seconds
Strain “neat” into rocks glass.

Coffee-Infused Cocchi Americano

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound Deeper Roots Guatemalan whole coffee beans
  • 1-liter bottle of Cocchi Americano

Directions

  1. Fill up a glass jar with bottle of Cocchi Americano, then drop in coffee beans.
  2. Leave in jar to infuse for three days.
  3. Strain out the coffee beans and transfer to a glass bottle.

Homemade Allspice Dram 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup light rum
  • 1/4 cup whole allspice berries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp blackstrap molasses

Bring all ingredients to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and let cool.
Fine strain and serve.

It’s a spicy sipper that doesn’t carry the creamy bog of other holiday drinks, and one we highly recommend making the time for.  It’s best enjoyed with your phone firmly in the off position.  Cheers.