Saturday, December 3, 2016

Advent Calendar Day 3

Happy Third of December! Are you out holiday shopping even as we speak?

Maybe I can simplify that a bit for you.

Today I'm giving away five signed copies of paperback books--which I'll inscribe with a suitable holiday greeting to the loved one of your choice, and then frantically ship off in an attempt to reach them before the holiday (depending on which holiday you're celebrating).

The book is The Curse of the Blue Scarab and it's kind of...kooky. Well, it's VERY kooky. It's 90,000 words of goofy Edwardian mystery and romance, which is actually kind of perfect for holiday reading when you just want to lose yourself in another world. A world with fine china, crisp linens,vengeful Egyptian priestesses and a handsome, imperiled hero whose only hope of rescue is a curmudgeonly doctor with *cough* unnatural desires.

Something like that.

A copy of The Curse of the Blue Scarab will be awarded to five randomly selected commenters below who share their favorite holiday (or other) cocktail recipe.

In order to have a chance in Hades of getting these books out in time, I will select the winners on Monday, so don't dally.

And because if you ARE holiday shopping today, I know you already need a drink, let me share my current absolute favorite martini. It's called a Black Orchid and it is rather delightful.

1 oz Raspberry Vodka
1 oz Blue Curacao
1 oz Watermelon Pucker
a big splash of cranberry juice

Strain over ice and pour into your martini glass 


  1. I just learned how to make a Pisco Sour.
    3 ounces pisco
    1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
    3/4 ounce simple syrup (see note)
    1 fresh egg white
    1 dash Angostura or Amargo bitters

    Combine pisco, lime, simple syrup, and egg white in a cocktail shaker without ice and seal. Shake vigorously until egg white is foamy, about 10 seconds. Add ice to shaker and shake again very hard until well-chilled, about 10 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass; dash bitters atop the egg-white foam.

    1. We have one winner right here just for being so fast off the mark! :-) Thanks for the recipe! I've never had a Pisco Sour but it sounds refreshing. :-D

  2. I don't really drink so I don't have any cocktail recipes. Can I interest you in a recipe for hello dolly bars? They're super delicious and so easy to make that you probably won't mess them up even if you try a bunch of cocktail recipes first. ;)

  3. I'm not a big cocktail fan I'm afraid :( but I do *love* a good G&T & am always hunting out new & unusual gins to try. My current favourite I picked up while at the Bruichladdich distillery on the island of Islay in Scotland this summer it's called The Botanist & is so smooth you can almost drink it neat! ;)

  4. I...don't actually drink cocktails. With my varied allergies it can be fixed at the best of times XD My friend tho rec'ed this one to me years ago (I'm going from memory here tho) is equal parts ginger beer, vodka and either cranberry juice or pomegranate juice with a hint of lime.

    She suggested shaking the juice & vodka together, so it blends and then mixing it with the ginger beer. Called it "Spicy Blood".

    1. That actually sounds pretty close. It's a good mix of sweet and booze. :-)

  5. White Lady (for two people)

    100Ml Gin
    60 Ml Triple Sec
    2 tsp liquor from maraschino cherries
    35Ml lemon juice

    Put all the ingredients into a shaker with four ice cubes. Shake well and serve garnish each cocktail with two maraschino cherries.

  6. Th White lady recipe was from me Neil Atkinson

  7. The Perfect Dry Martini

    Six shots of very dry gin
    1.25 shots of Noilly Prat Vermouth
    a few strip of very thin (no wider than a matchstick)lemon zest

    place the ingredients into a metal cocktail shaker, place it and your two martini glasses in the freezer and leave for at least ten minutes.

    Prepare some stuffed olives on cocktail sticks (or use an almond for those who don't like olives)

    Shake the cocktail with three ice cubes, strain into the two ice cold glasses, garnish and serve.

  8. I'm really into champagne lately. Wow what a sentence! But mimosas get a little boring. So here's a twist:THE FRENCH 75 COCKTAIL
    .5 oz Lemon juice
    .5 oz Simple syrup
    1 oz Gin
    3 oz Champagne

    1. Champagne gives me the worst headache, but I still love it! :-D

  9. I don't drink alcohol and I've never had a cocktail, but I like to mix various teas and create my own blend. My favorite Christmas mix is a cinnamon tea combined with apple and caramel tea. That tastes very yummy. :)

  10. These cocktails sound yummy, but I rarely drink alcohol and with my allergies, it's like playing with a loaded gun. When I do drink, e.g. after I move house next week, I dig out my dusty bottle of aged single-malt scotch.

    Thanks for the codas and advent calendar, Josh. Your generosity overwhelms me.

    1. Judy, thank you! That's lovely.

      And so sorry to hear of these allergies.

  11. You can find a lot of non alcoholic "mocktails" here:-

    1. Oh! Now that is very thoughtful! Thank you, Neil.

  12. I can't have any alcohol in the house due to the fact that my husband will die if he ever has another drink per doctors. But, god!, do I miss my whiskey, straight up, no ice. Love all of your books, the advent calendar, and codas. Raising an imaginary glass of whiskey in salute...


  13. I don't drink and I'm an atheist, so I don't have a holiday recipe, per se, lol. But my mom made a killer non-alcoholic punch that sounds simple, but has a real spark. Every time I serve it people ask me for the recipe.

    1 can of pineapple juice
    1 2 liter bottle Vernors* (ginger ale for those who don't have the "real" stuff available lol)
    1 bottle fruit punch*

    *you can use diet or sugar free versions - still tasty!

    Using a jello or cake mold of your choice (any shape) freeze 1/2 bottle of fruit punch in advance.
    Refrigerate the rest of the drinks for 24 hours prior.

    Then, in a large punchbowl, mix the full can of pineapple juice (shake well) and remaining 1/2 bottle of fruit punch. Add 1/2 bottle of ginger ale. (Continue adding ginger ale to taste.)
    Float the frozen fruit punch shapes on top, and serve.

    1. This is so funny! This is the recipe for what my grandmother used to call wedding punch -- she made this for wedding showers and for actual wedding for those who didn't drink alcohol. :-D I love this!

    2. I've made this recipe but added a can of sweetened condensed milk to the bowl which really smooths it out nicely. Then add a splash of vodka to your glass and it's perfect!

  14. I'm alcohol free but my favourite winter-drink is proper hot chocolate. Melt some dark chocolate and cream in a double boiler. Add real vanilla and some milk. Use a stick blender to make sure it is smooth, and add the slightest hint of chili powder. Top off with more whipped cream. Yum.

  15. I am very sure that Miss Butterwith would love a copy of this book!
    She also seems very eager to try out the recipe for the Black Orchid

    1. uh, I forgot my recipe:
      The Tipsy Catnip:
      1 spring catnip
      1 cat
      Place the two together and watch the fun begin.
      Warning: keep away from breakables

    2. I know she's very partial to a nip of homemade elderberry wine! :-D

    3. Yes, it has been said that my "mother" smells of elderberry

    4. hahahaha...hey! Don't go spreading THAT around the neighborhood!

  16. This awesome giveaway is probably not international, but in the interest of making everybodies holiday better with a drink here´s a very German "Glühwein" recipe:

    - very good, very dark red wine
    - some kind of red fruit tea (loose tea preferably) - if possible a winter mix already flavoured with cinnamon etc.
    - vanilla (the real thing)

    1, boil the tea
    2, heat up with the wine and the vanilla pod (do not cook!)
    3, serve hot

    There you go.
    Christmas greetings from Germany

    1. Sure it's international!

      And the more recipes, the more cheery we shall all be. ;-)

  17. This is not a cocktail per se, but a type of drink we drink around here in winter time. Just mmmm. Nothing too fancy but still goody.

    Mulled wine
    1 liter (bottle) of red wine
    150 grams (5,3 ounces) of brown sugar
    Cinnamon Sugar
    8 cloves
    1 teaspoon of chopped orange peel
    Cook wine, cinnamon and cloves. When it boils, add sugar, orange zest and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

    I just love it. Cheers!


  18. Not a drinker here but if you insist I like Strawberry Daiquiri without the booze but here a boozed up recipe for:

    6 cups of ice
    1/2 cup of white sugar
    4 oz of starwberries
    1/8 cup lime juice
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    3/4 cup rum
    1/4 cup lemon-lime flavoured carbonated beverage.

    Mix together, serve and drink up.

  19. I can't wait to read it! And your drink sounds interesting. The fanciest I get is a Cape Cod but I shall post a typical German holiday drink.

    And it is a video - you need to see the final step since it involves a zuckerhut :)

    Feuerzangbowle (Fire Punch)

    -Andy Slayde

    1. Very similar to Goge's Mulled Wine.
      And the above Glühwein recipe has me missing Germany. Christmas Markets are full of the lovely smells of both drinks and all the lovely foods.

  20. Oh darn, I don't drink (much) so I'm out of luck in this one. :D

  21. Call me old fashioned, but my favorite holiday drink is still eggnog. I have a glass every night during the Season. Usually I buy it, but if I'm ambitious or want to impress, I have a recipe.


    4 cups milk
    5 whole cloves
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    12 egg yolks
    1 1/2 cups sugar
    2 1/2 cups light rum
    4 cups light cream
    2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg


    Combine milk, cloves, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, and cinnamon in a saucepan, and heat over lowest setting for 5 minutes. Slowly bring milk mixture to a boil.
    In a large bowl, combine egg yolks and sugar. Whisk together until fluffy. Whisk hot milk mixture slowly into the eggs. Pour mixture into saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 3 minutes, or until thick. Do not allow mixture to boil. Strain to remove cloves, and let cool for about an hour.
    Stir in rum, cream, 2 teaspoon vanilla, and nutmeg. Refrigerate overnight before serving.

  22. I usually work on christmas day so nothing to drink for me until I get home about 9pm. Then my drink of choice is real hot chocolate with a dash of coffee baileys. The longer the shift the stronger the baileys :-)

  23. Steve's eggnog reminded me of the "Tom & Jerry" served for Christmas Eve gatherings in the late 50s/early 60s with our "grandparents," the couple my mother roomed with when she first moved to Albuquerque. Here's a link to a rum and cognac version. It also has egg whites and is a bit labor intensive. We kids were allowed a ceremonial sip. I still fondly remember the taste, but am afraid more than that one sip would knock me out these days. :)

  24. I don't drink, but I used to like French Vanilla Kahlua and cream. Now I mostly go with virgin strawberry daiquiris. As for other drinks, I have many different kinds of tea. Jasmine tea is one of my favorites.

  25. I think berries make everything tastes better. And shots. Simple and fast.

    The Berry Festive Shot
    - white cranberry juice
    - raspberry liqueur
    - cointreau
    - frozen berries

    Fill shot glass half full with cranberry juice.
    Add raspberry liqueur to 3/4 full.
    Add a frozen berry.
    Top with Cointreau.

  26. It's Summer down here in New Zealand, and I have a new favourite summery cocktail - a Pomegranate Fizz

    Vodka, Creme de casis, cranberry, raspberry, pomegranate and lemon juices, finished off with soda water. Not sure of the quantities, the bartender I stole the recipe from goes a little heavy on the vodka which I think is never a bad thing during the silly season. Merry Christmas :D

  27. Honestly my favorite is just a glass of a lovely prosecco. But for cocktails, I'd say another prosecco favorite :)

    Bakewell Fizz
    Place a Kirsch-soaked cherry along with one tablespoon of Kirsch in the bottom of a Champagne flute. Top with one part Amaretto Disaronno and three parts Prosecco.

  28. The Florida Mule is a Floridian twist on the classic Moscow Mule made with St. Augustine Distillery Co. Florida Cane Vodka.

    • 2 oz. St. Augustine Distillery Co. Florida Cane Vodka
    • 2 oz. Mule Mix*
    • Crushed Ice
    • Soda Water
    • Fresh Mint

    • Mix in Copper Mug with Crushed Ice
    • Top with Soda Water
    • Swizzle & Garnish with Fresh Mint

    *Mule Mix:
    • 4 Parts Lime Juice
    • 2 Parts Rich Simple Syrup
    • 1 Part Ginger Juice

  29. Ohh, I'm so exited about this story! Egypt + Edwardian time + written by Josh. It simply can't get any better! :D

    Here's what get me into the holiday spirit (well, apart from all the cookie recipes that I'm simply too lazy to translate ^^°)

    Glühwein / Hot Spiced Wine
    [my recipe is in the metric/liter system for obvious reasons..]

    Put 1 liter red wine (also works with white wine), 1/2 liter water (though I prefer grape juice), 10 cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks (7 cm length each), sugar (depends on your taste how much), and 1 orange cut into slices
    together in a cooking pot and bring it to a boil. Then let it draw(?)/stand for a while.

  30. This book sounds like so much fun. I can't wait to read it.

    I'm not much of a cocktail person. Just add vodka to soda or cranberry juice for me and I'm good. I leave the mixed drinks to my brother to make. :D

  31. I'm more into fruity, girly drinks, so my favorite isn't very seasonally appropriate unless you're hanging out on a beach. I do daiqueris and, being lazy, I use the store bought daiqueri mix. So it's 1 cup daiqueri mix (generic), 1 cup rum (preferably Bacardi), 1/2 cup of frozen berries (your choice), 4 cups on ice, additional berries for garnish. Blend all but the garnish berries until until uniform. Poor and garnish with berries.

    1. You had me at frozen berries. :-D I personally think fruity, girly drinks are AOK all year long, so long as raise one sardonic eyebrow all the while you're drinking. :-D

  32. I'm a simple girl. I like 2/3 cranberry juice, 1/3 vodka, 1/3 of a fresh lime squeezed into the glass. And I mean wring that sucker out of all its juice. On ice. There you go, my favorite cocktail.

    Cynthia Lail

    1. :-D You can leave the vodka out, add dragon fruit and it's the perfect breakfast beverage. :-D

  33. The perfect East Coast Canadian tropical drink: Singapore Sling!
    1/2 ouncse gin
    1/2 ounce vodka
    1/2 ounce rum
    Splash of Galliano
    Splash of Cherry Brandy
    Ice as drinkers request.
    Best enjoyed with a game of cards and before you meet up with the cousin who brought the moonshine!

  34. I'm allergic, so no cocktails for me. I do like to mix a bunch of fizzy drinks (whatever's available) and down them while eating copious amounts of chocolate! I discovered Lindor truffles last year. YUM!

    1. I'm so distressed by how many of you are allergic to cocktails! But chocolate is a worthy substitute, yes. :-D

  35. I like to keep things simple (not unlike myself) and use easily available ingredients. So at this time of year here is what most of us will really appreciate:-

    "Summer in a Glass"

    Into a highball glass put one tablespoon of diced cucumber. Over it add a couple of twists of coarsely ground fresh black pepper. Add two shots of dry gin a couple of ice cubes and top up with tonic water.

    This sounds unusual but trust me it's the taste of summer in winter.

    1. There is something intrinsically summery about cucumber. That's true. And I'm not even that crazy about cucumber!

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  37. Peary Cocktail:
    Shot of potato vodka
    Half shot of St Germain
    Pear Juice
    A slash of club sofa
    Squeeze in a lime wedge

    1. Oh! That's so different! It looks really refreshing.

  38. This is very easy, original and has definitely a different and special flavour:
    Black Velvet:
    1 part of black Irish Stout
    4 parts of champagne
    It must be served very cold!

    1. Ah! Pierce's favorite drink from STRANGER ON THE SHORE. Maybe I'll borrow your recipe!

  39. This is from Jamie Oliver (or whoever contribute in his magazine), a great autumn drink:

    Autumn Crumble:
    1 part Martini Bianco
    1 dash apple juice
    add ginger ale , to taste
    add apple segments , to garnish

    1. That would be a great choice around Thanksgiving!

  40. That's a cocktail I have gotten, because it was loud and their was a little hearing - failure. I liked it very much.
    The Martinez cocktail may be a predecessor to the martini, but these drinks could hardly be less alike to the modern palate. The Martinez starts with equal parts gin and sweet vermouth, and this alone distinguishes it in two ways from the modern martini. You then add a teaspoon of maraschino liqueur and either Angostura or orange bitters.

  41. Perhaps I go through this list, when I have more than one free day. But I am very tempted...

    1. I think we can all stay safely snockered through the holidays with this list. :-D

  42. I'm not much of a drinker, but when I do drink I order a Midori Sour.
    1 oz Midori® melon liqueur
    1 oz whisky sour mix
    2 oz Sprite® soda
    2 cherries

    1. I love midoris! I used to drink midori margaritas All. The. Time.

  43. Is it still Sunday? Well, it is somewhere, so I'll give it a try.
    What basically keep me going through various family meetings is a mix of champagne (or any fizzy white wine) with ginger beer and a bit of lemon juice.
    Some call it Felix Felicis, but it was introduced to me as Ginger with Twist,so I go with it.

    1/4 oz lemon juice
    1.5 oz ginger beer
    Champagne or other sparkling wine

  44. I'm so excited for The Curse of the Blue Scarab!

    As for cocktails, here's one I'm really looking forward to trying:

    Peppermint Mocha White Russian Martini
    2 parts Mocha Kahlua (3 oz)
    1 part Vodka (1.5 oz)
    2 parts milk or cream (3 oz)
    A drop or two of peppermint extract
    Red candy melts
    Crushed candy cane

    - Prepare your red candy melts by melting them in the microwave according to the directions on the package. - Pour crushed candy cane onto a plate.
    - Dip each martini glass into the candy melts, and then into the candy cane. Turn in both to ensure that the glass is coated well. Let sit, upside down, on parchment paper until the candy hardens.
    - Add the ice, Mocha Kahlua, Vodka, cream, and just a bit of peppermint extract to a cocktail shaker or mixer. A little bit of peppermint extract goes a long way, and you can always add more if you need to, so make sure you don’t add too much.
    - Shake or mix the cocktail and pour into the candy cane rimmed martini glasses. Serve immediately.

    1. I love pepperminty drinks around the holiday -- especially with chocolate!

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  47. Too late for the comp - was away watching Netball International match so missed all the excitement. I've got my eye on this book, loving the cover!!
    Each year I like to make sloe gin if I can find sloes, but if not I do cranberry vodka

    1. Cranberry is such a terrific mixer. It really balances out the sweetness in so many fruity drinks.

  48. congrats to the winners...some interesting cocktails/recipes!