Santa’s Little Helpers II

“With Enough Wine, the Holidays Will be Fine.”

It’s one of my favorite sayings this time of year, but since I don’t really think wine should have all the fun and because martinis make me feel fancy, I’m once again sharing some of my favorite recipes with you to help get you through the upcoming holiday season. If you missed last year’s installment—the original Santa’s Little Helpers—just click HERE. With all those recipes plus this year’s bunch, you should be all set. And if not, I’m thinking you might need something more than vodka to survive. Unfortunately, I haven’t yet come across any recipes with Xanax as an ingredient. Something to look forward to next year, I guess. And as always, feel free to adjust the amounts of alcohol to correspond with the amount of drama you’re expecting.

Before I jump into the martinis (figure of speech, of course, because I cannot really jump into a martini. I know. I’ve tried) I need to tell you about the key ingredient in two of them; simple syrup.

It’s syrup. And it’s simple.
It’s also dangerous.
As in,  it will push your martinis over the edge of sweet, silky smoothness and make you think you are drinking Kool-Aid which ironically might actually result in you bursting through walls. (“Oh Yeah!” Anybody?)

Here’s how you make it.

Step 1 and 2:
Bring a mixture of 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to a boil.
Boil until all the sugar dissolves and water looks clear.

Cool. Store in a jar in the fridge.

It’s really that simple.
Now keep it handy, ’cause you’re going to need it.

Since I used my go-to martinis last year (the Appletini and the Cosmo) I had to get a little creative this year and taste test some new concoctions for you (sometimes this “job” is so tough…and you are welcome) but this first one is actually Husband’s favorite to order at a restaurant and so it’s one that we’ve had to work on perfecting at home since I’m picky about the tartness. If it makes me pucker &/or my eyes water, I’m out. Call me crazy, but I like my martini drinking experience to be pleasant. And after a few (15) different recipes we’ve tested over the years, this one’s the winner.
It’s the simple syrup, you guys. It’s magic.

Classic Lemondrop

In the following photo, I included a bottle of Raspberry vodka which you can use instead of Citron if you want something fruitier and fancier. Because we all need a little fruity and fancy every now and again, don’t you think?

2 oz. Citron vodka (or Raspberry)
2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice (no seeds if you can help it. If one gets in there just consider it added fiber)
1 oz. simple syrup
fine sugar for rimming glass 

Using fresh lemon juice is key to making this martini not taste like cleaning solution.
To rim your chilled martini glass*, pour a few tablespoons of sugar on a small plate, run a paper napkin wet with lemon juice around the rim and then just dip the glass in the sugar.
Shake all ingredients in martini shaker until your arm gets a cramp and pour into glass.
Try your best not to lick all the sugar off at once.

*To chill your martini glass:
Remember this trick from last year? Put 4-6 ice cubes in your martini glass and fill glass with water before you start mixing. Dump out ice water when it’s time to pour martini in (because drinking the water when you’ve got a delicious martini waiting is just silly).

Pomegranate Classico

2 oz. Citron 

1/2 oz. lemon juice (in this one you can use fresh or bottled)
1/2 oz. pomegranate juice (I usually add a little more)
1 oz. simple syrup

Shake it baby, shake it….and pour into chilled glass.

Careful. This one’s like punch. And if you drink it like punch, it hits hard (see what I did there?).

*Want an extra kick? Add 1/2 oz of Cointreau. Makes it like a Pomegranate Cosmo!

Peppermint ChocoTini

Okay, I kind of cheated.
This is basically the same recipe as last year’s ChocoTini but with a mint twist.
But when the weather is frightful and the fire delightful, it really is the perfect dessert. And on the days when the wind chill is 19 below zero? Breakfast.

1 1/2 oz. vodka
2 oz. Bailey’s CHOCOLATE MINT (not the Original)
1 oz. Chocolate Liquer

And when you’re feeling brave, add a splash of Peppermint Schnapps, or keep a shot of one nearby to sip. If nothing else, it will remind you of your college days.

As always, pleasepleaseplease enjoy responsibly. Or at the very least, make sure there’s one adult in the house that can handle an emergency situation. Which very well may include you if you do not enjoy responsibly.


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