Seasonal Sips

Mixologist Nicolas O’Connor Prescribes a Full Course of Medicinals for the Holidays

Photographer Qiu Yang's pop-tastic still lifes illustrate leading mixologist Nicolas O'Connor’s ultimate day of seasonal drinking. From a refreshing mimosa at first light to that essential pre-bed Alka-Seltzer, the head barman at Manhattan’s opium den-turned-cocktail bar Apothéke knows the right blend for winter cheer. The pharmacy-themed saloon has won praise for its 250-strong cocktail list with specialty ingredients including rose water, cayenne pepper and herbal elixir, all served amid the cool décor of an imported marble bar and gold leaf ceiling. O’Connor justifies his festive concoctions for a day of merry-making you’ll love (but probably won’t remember). 

Lavender and Blood Orange Mimosa 
You get a certain strength from the champagne and the orange juice so I wanted to put something delicate in there, certainly if you’re having it in the morning. That’s where the lavender came in to play, and agave is used to sweeten it up. 

Eggnog from scratch 
I always struggle with the texture of eggnog so this is a lighter alternative that highlights the rum. I’ve already made it for three holiday parties and even did it at Thanksgiving. It’s good to drink with meals––something heavy like poultry. 

Mulled wine
The perfect drink to have while you’re opening presents. I’ve made tons of versions over the years and I never really make it the same, even if I’m trying. It’s better five hours after making it, rather than one. You don’t need good wine either. 

Taro Alexander
A new take on the Brandy Alexander. I fell in love with taro—a Chinese root vegetable that has a really milky, creamy taste. This drink is similar to eggnog but heavier because of the brandy. It’s more of a dessert cocktail for after the meal, perfect to wind down with.

Hot Toddy
The most welcoming drink that will warm you up and bring you in from the cold. You can feel it going all the way down.

Fire-Side Negroni
I’ve always wanted to come up with my own version because a Negroni is one of my favorite drinks. I’ve added Lapsang Souchong tea here, which you can infuse in the gin for 45 minutes. It’s a wild card really as I can drink this before dinner, at dinner or after dinner! 

What I actually do for my stomach woes instead of alka-seltzer is I mix angostura bitters and seltzer water. It's great for settling the stomach, plus you get a little hair of the dog with the bitters, very old-timey but also effective.  Like 15 drops of bitters into a full glass if seltzer or club soda.

Serve up these delicious drinks at your next party. Visit our Facebook page for the recipes.

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