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[ Herbal Happy Hour - 2016 ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice Company
Winter months mean busy days and early evenings. This year when darkness falls or when the weekend arrives be sure to find time to relax with family and friends.

Why not try celebrating this festive season by indulging in some liquid refreshment laced with herbs and spices?

Here's a quick collection of recipes we've found interesting over the years. Maybe you'll find an old forgotten favorite, or inspiration for a new tradition.

Moderation is advised, but all-out bravery to make your own custom cocktails is highly suggested.




2017 — Literary Libations


[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2017 - Winter Wonderland ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

winter wonderland

...Ain't it thrilling?
The winter season tends to bring people together, even long after the halls are decked and the New Year rung in. Whether you’re gathering with friends and family to celebrate the anticipated return of the sun, or to rejoice in a winter wedding, good food and drink are essential. Here, we offer a few twists on the traditional cocktail to make the most of your event.

Red Rudolph
This colorful cordial gets its spicy punch from a combination of vodka, Cointreau, cranberry and allspice dram, a liquor made from allspice berries. It’s easy and much more economical to make your own allspice dram, as well as more convenient, since, unlike Rudolph’s nose, it can be difficult to find.
view the recipe >

Golden Gingered Whiskey
With honey sweet and smoky notes in the mix, this cocktail warms and goes down smooth. For best flavor and color, use a good quality blended scotch whiskey.
view the recipe >

Spiced Sparkling Wine
Simple and elegant, this classy beverage is easy to serve to large groups and is a sure-fire crowd pleaser. Use a dry sparkling wine for this drink or, if you prefer, a dry golden champagne. A sprig of fresh rosemary adds a festive touch.
view the recipe >

Spiced Apple Cider
Spiked with brandy and laced with ginger and allspice berries, this classic winter drink is a party favorite. Be sure to set aside some “virgin” cider aside for the kids, perhaps identified by the addition of a candy cane in each mug instead of a cinnamon stick. For a smaller crowd, reduce the recipe by half.
view the recipe >

Here are two support formulas to make some ingredients for the recipes above:
Allspice Dram
and
Ginger Syrup








2016 — Literary Libations


[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2016 - Literary Libations ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

literary libations

Dorothy Parker:
The Collected Dorothy Parker

the monterey bay martini
Our version of the herbal martini calls for dry gin infused with Cinnamon Apricot Tisane herbal tea blend, which features cinnamon chips, marigold flowers and dried apricot.
view the recipe >

William Shakespeare:
A Midsummer Night's Dream

sweet dreams
This fruity, colorful cocktail, inspired by “Shakespeare, Not Stirred,” is spirited enough to promote sweet dreams but, with moderation, you won’t end up away with the fairies (too tipsy to stay awake at the party).
view the recipe >

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle:
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

homes & watson party punch
Holmes may have commented on this crowd-pleasing punch with “It’s elementary” because it is simple and sweet, but he would not have said so to his sidekick. “Elementary, my dear Watson” doesn’t appear in any stories that feature Sherlock Holmes.
view the recipe >

Edward Albee:
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

homes & watson party punch
George reminisces that in their younger days Martha was fond of “real ladylike little drinkies,” before her taste ran to “rubbing alcohol.” One of her favorites was the Brandy Alexander, a drink so smooth that John Lennon compared it to a milkshake.
view the recipe >

Truman Capote:
Breakfast at Tiffany's

homes & watson party punch
No other boozy beverage described in this novella received so much attention as this version of the martini. We’ve modified the recipe just a bit, giving it a blush of pink and the subtle sweetness of elderflower..
view the recipe >

An expanded offering of our inspirations can be found in our newsletter: Literary Libations.



[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2016 - Literary Libations ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

These recipes call for some herbal tea infusions. We use the herbal blends below but many others are also worth exploring.

avena
dream tea

[ avena dream tea ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice Company

cinnamon
apricot
tisane

[ cinnamon apricot tisane ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice Company

cranberry
orange
tisane

[ cranberry orange tisane ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice Company





2015 — Party Flavors


[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2015 - Party Flavors ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

party flavors

spotted salty dog
Fresh grapefruit juice and vodka combine to make a cocktail known as The Greyhound. With sea salt hugging the rim, it becomes a Salty Dog. This version is spiced up with the addition of a simple syrup made from cracked black pepper.
view the recipe >

apricot sage bourbon cocktail
This recipe was developed by Kristine Lassor Hopkins of Maker's Mark. As she puts it, "the sage adds an incredible earthy element to this slightly dry cocktail," while apricot jam and lemon add brightness.
view the recipe >

brandy alexander
This classic cocktail is a spin-off of The Alexander, which featured gin. Because of its smoothness, it is sometimes referred to as a Milk Shake.
view the recipe >

hurricane punch
Every party needs punch! This beverage was first served in the 1930s in New Orleans and is still popular on Bourbon Street today. It is traditionally made with passion fruit syrup, but grenadine may be used instead.
view the recipe >



gather some herbs & spices for your concoctions...



[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2015 - Party Flavors ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

black peppercorn
[ black peppercorn ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice Company

fresh sage
[ fresh sage ]

nutmeg
[ nutmeg ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice Company

fresh basil
[ fresh basil ]





2014 — Running with Rum


[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2014 - Running with Rum ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

running with rum

ginger beer & rum punch
Although the beverage is popular, the term "ginger beer" is a bit of a misnomer. Originally, this 18th century alcoholic fermentation was produced from ginger, sugar and a starter culture made from a fungus known as the ginger beer plant. With few exceptions, most of the ginger beers found in stores today are actually carbonated soft drinks.
view the recipe >

jamaican sorrel rum punch
Islanders love a festive punch, especially if it’s infused with rum. This classic beverage is made the color of crimson by native hibiscus flowers, known locally as sorrel or flor de Jamaica. Because this traditional punch is served throughout the Caribbean and Latin America during the winter holiday season, it’s also known as Jamaican Christmas Punch.
view the recipe >

tea & whiskey punch
It’s anyone’s guess how tea and whiskey came to be partners in the punch bowl, although there are plenty of lively stories that tell of the necessity of imbibing both beverages to keep warm while out at sea. This variation has a Caribbean piratical flavor to it with a splash of rum and citrus.
view the recipe >

smuggler's coffee
The name for this double-rum coffee honors those responsible for giving coffee to the world, such as the Dutch traders who first smuggled a coffee plant into Europe in the mid-16th century. Later, French Captain Gabriel De Clieu, would be the first to successfully transport a coffee plant seedling across the Atlantic and into Martinique in 1723, an endeavor that launched 18 million coffee trees and an entire industry in a span of just 50 years.
view the recipe >



gather some herbs & spices for your concoctions...







2013 — Mulling it Over


[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2013 - Mulling it Over ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

pour and ponder

mulled wine
Simmer some mulled wine to treat your senses on a raw winter day. Sip while curled up with a book and blanket or while chatting by the fire with friends. Either way you'll feel the warmth of its cinnamon and cloves in your toes. This recipe comes from The Flourishing Foodie who calls Mulled Wine "grown up hot chocolate". Yes, indeed.
view the recipe >

winter sun cocktail
Some citrus sunshine—clementines and cayenne hint at the heat of summer. Enjoy the special treat of this in-season citrus during the harsh blowing winds of winter. From Two Tarts.
view the recipe >

spiced manhattan cocktail
A variation on the classic with cinnamon, cloves, cayenne and a sprinkle of fresh-grated nutmeg. Sommer from A Spicy Perspective begs forgiveness for mixing Cognac vs bourbon in her Manhattan, she felt the bourbon a bit to harsh. Try her Spiced Manhattan Cocktail for yourself and judge.
view the recipe >

pumpkin pie martini
Just in case you haven't had your fill of holiday desserts we offer up this find. Made with Pumpkin Pie Spice, you can make this drink to enjoy the seasonal seasoning favorite one more time in 2013. This Pumpkin Pie Martini is from Pass the Sushi but there are many variations worth considering.
view the recipe >



gather some herbs & spices for your concoctions...





2012 — Mulling it Over


[ Herbal Happy Hour: 2012 - Simple Salutations ] ~ from Monterey Bay Spice

speaking of easy

margaritas with chili pepper salt
The kick from the chili pepper salt on the rim of the glass will have everyone cheering "Olé!"

spiced pumpkin vodka
Spicy and warm, this vodka will become a seasonal favorite. Makes a great gift too.

homemade vanilla schnapps
This traditional liquor couldn't be easier to make! This is another recipe that lends itself to gifting.

hibiscus ginger punch
This tame punch is tasty on its own, but it's even better paired with the vodka you've made from the first recipe! Try it with a splash of coconut water or milk and serve over ice.



gather some herbs & spices for your concoctions...









Welcome to the Monterey Bay Spice Company @ herbco.com

Bulk Herbs & Spices

Monterey Bay Spice Company has been delivering premium bulk herb botanicals, spices, teas, seasonings and much more for twenty years...

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