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Just Add Liquid, and Make a Stir

Libations, from left: the Sink or Swim, Silky Kiss, Sugar Plum Toddy, Sapphire Sugar and Spice Martini, Mistletoe Mojito, Holiday Red Sangria Punch.
Libations, from left: the Sink or Swim, Silky Kiss, Sugar Plum Toddy, Sapphire Sugar and Spice Martini, Mistletoe Mojito, Holiday Red Sangria Punch. (Photo By Renee Comet / Styled By Lisa Cherkasky For The Washington Post)

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By Sean Neary
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I should've known better than to try to wing it, or to pin my hopes for holiday cocktail recipes on a guy who works at the corner liquor store. Two years ago, my attempts to host a festive get-together with my wife fairly ruined my reputation in the neighborhood.

It wasn't the fault of the premixed spices the liquor store guy sold me. That packet, which he called "Christmas in a can," helped turn fruit juice and brandy into a wassail whose wonderful aroma filled the air just as guests began arriving to the sound of carols on the sound system and wood crackling in the fireplace. It wasn't the cartons of eggnog I bought there, either. (I just poured some into a glass, mixed in some Jack Daniel's, and voila! A cup of holiday cheer.) Mulled cider? Sure. Champagne? No problem.

Things went downhill when a neighbor ordered a hot toddy. I didn't even know what that was, but I went to work at an improvised concoction nonetheless. I can't recall exactly what I put in that cocktail shaker, but I do remember what came out, and it was neither hot nor a toddy. Most important, it made her gag after one sip.

Talk about ruining the mood.

Two years later, my neighbors still call me "the bad-tender." But this season, I'm ready for redemption. My wife and I are hosting a New Year's Eve party, and I'm not messing around with cans or cartons, and nothing will be done on the fly. Instead, I've asked spirits specialists at some of Washington's top watering holes to supply recipes for their favorite holiday libations.

Wouldn't you know? The one I like best is a twist on a toddy.

Silky Kiss

1 serving

The Tibetan Lounge at Mie N Yu restaurant in Georgetown offers international interpretations of holiday cocktails. Bartender Chris Kelly has created this recipe using two seasonal standards: champagne and eggnog.

1 ounce premium mixing rum, such as Ten Cane

1 ounce orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier

1 ounce store-bought eggnog


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