STYLE

COOKING ON DEADLINE: Three recipes for holiday-friendly bourbon cocktails

11/15/2013 12:04 EST | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
My definition of the ideal summer cocktail? Easy to make, refreshing to drink. Come the winter holidays, I make only one change: Easy to make, comforting to drink.

Because while I'm looking for bright and fruity in the heat of summer, at Thanksgiving and Christmas and the onslaught of holiday gatherings in between, I want whatever is in my cup to put me at ease, leave me feeling warm and play nicely with whatever food is on the table. But I'm not willing to work all that hard for it. Hence the "easy to make" part never changes, no matter what the season.

For cold weather holidays, I gravitate to bourbon. It has all the qualities I'm looking for — warming, festive, affordable and compatible. And because of those qualities, you don't need to do much to it to create a terrific cocktail you'll want to nurse your way through during the party.

So here's a trio of holiday-friendly bourbon cocktails to get you started. The root beer in the rooted and brewed cocktail may seem unusual, but it is quite delicious and does not impart an overly sweet flavour.

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BOURBON ORCHARD

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ice

2 ounces bourbon

4 ounces apple cider

1 teaspoon agave nectar

In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients. Shake well for 30 seconds, then strain into a tumbler.

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ROOTED AND BREWED

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ice

2 ounces bourbon

1 ounce coffee liqueur

Root beer

Fill an 8-ounce drinking glass with ice. Add the bourbon and coffee liqueur. Stir, then slowly pour in enough root beer to top off the glass. Gently stir again.

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JUICY DREAMS

Start to finish: 5 minutes

Servings: 1

Ice

2 ounce bourbon

1 ounce Lillet

1/2 ounce lemon juice

2 ounces pomegranate juice

In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, combine the bourbon, Lillet, lemon juice and pomegranate juice. Shake, then strain into an ice-filled tumbler.

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J.M. Hirsch is the food editor for The Associated Press. He blogs at http://www.LunchBoxBlues.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/JM_Hirsch . Email him at jhirsch@ap.org

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