The Easy and Surprisingly Delicious Holiday Cocktail That Reminds Me of My Dad

Because I “invented” this cocktail while in my early twenties staying at my dad’s house over Christmas…


The Shandy

the shandy

After an event like the Super Bowl, depending on your guests, you very well might be left with an extra six-pack or two in the fridge. Solve this dilemma with THE SHANDY, a traditional English drink that mixes beer with “lemonade” – actually a lemon-lime soda. You’ll drink half as much alcohol in each drink, but get to customize your flavor with every glass, turning that boring six-pack into something far more fun. You can find The Shandy style pre-mixed by lots of brewing companies, but when it’s so easy to make, you might as well try it yourself and have some fun with it.


  • Beer*
  • Citrus soda
  • Fruit, optional


  • Use a large beer glass
  • If using fruit, muddle in the bottom of the glass before you add any other ingredients
  • Fill about halfway with soda, then top with beer, adjusting the proportion to taste

The Shandy is best made with a light beer. I used a hoppy, light German pilsner and muddled fresh raspberries into it, which gave my Shandy a lovely pink tinge, with a bit of extra sweetness. Use whatever you have on hand – although I prefer it with a wheat beer, IPA, or any light ale.  Citrus fruits like lemons and oranges work especially well with wheat beers, and all types of berries add a nice flavor.

If you don’t have a muddler, it’s worth investing in one. You can use them more than you might think – I love to muddle fresh fruit or herbs into my water for a tasty everyday drink. Here are some of my favorite muddlers:

Jo Walker, Intern

The Hot Toddy

hot toddy

With winter in full swing, cocktails might be the furthest thing from your mind, especially if you happen to catch a cold. But staying in when it’s cold outside won’t seem nearly as bad when you get cozy with a HOT TODDY to warm you up. This drink is said to help clear congestion and help you sleep…and, it has the added benefits of being simple to make and tasty. I keep this one in my arsenal to make instead of chicken soup for when my friends are sick. 


  • 1 ½ oz brandy, whiskey, or rum
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • ½ a lemon
  • Water
  • 1 tea bag, optional


  • Coat the bottom of a regular mug or Irish coffee glass with the honey
  • Add your liquor of choice and the juice of your lemon
  • Meanwhile, heat water. Pour the hot water over the teabag, if using, into your mug or glass
  • Let the tea steep according to the type you’re using, and remove the tea bag (I like to stir to make sure all the honey is dissolved. Enjoy!)

You can use plain hot water if you prefer it that way, but I think the beauty of this drink is the endless options for experimentation. Try a cinnamon tea and throw in a with a cinnamon stick in there for good measure. Or use a chai blend, and you won’t need to add any spices at all. Use a sweeter herbal tea and you might omit the honey. I’d say to avoid anything caffeinated, because this warm drink makes a perfect nightcap – but I’ve seen people use green tea for the antioxidants and enjoy it just as much.

Jo Walker, Intern

The Lemon Drop Cocktail

the lemon drop-2

Sometimes you want to have something that’s a little more sleek and sexy to drink and The Lemon Drop, a martini, is just that – sweet, sour, delicious, and strong. You’ll need a tiny bit more preparation time than you did for The Paloma, but trust me, it’s worth it.


  • 1 ½ ounces of vodka (about one shot glass)
  • ½ ounce orange liqueur (like Triple Sec, Grand Marnier, Cointreau, etc.)
  • Sugar*
  • The juice of half a lemon, with twisted peel or wedge for garnish, optional
  • Ice

the lemon drop

First, rim your glass with sugar. I used a margarita glass, but this is technically a martini. Use whatever wide mouth style glass you have.  Put enough sugar on a shallow plate that’s wide enough for the edge of your glass to fit on it. Run a lemon wedge around the rim of your glass until it’s just moist. Dip the edge of the glass into the sugar.

Fill your cocktail shaker with crushed ice, and add the vodka, liqueur, sugar, and lemon juice. Shake well – really, really well! – to dissolve the sugar. Strain your drink into the sugar-rimmed glass.

*You can buy superfine sugar, an instantly dissolving sugar used specifically for drinks. Regular sugar will take longer to dissolve – you’ll have to shake long and hard. You can avoid all the shaking by making a basic simple syrup instead. Just boil equal parts sugar and water, stirring until fully dissolved. Let cool fully before using, and any leftover can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.

the lemon drop 3

Things to know when buying vodka, according to Jo:

A lot of things affect the quality of vodka, which is why price ranges so drastically. Different vodkas brands each have their own distinct smell, flavor, aftertaste, and burn, and can be grain or potato based, or even distilled from fruit. Any impurities in the distillation process that make it into the final product will affect the quality of the liquor.

Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules like there are for tequila – everyone has their own preference for which vodka is best. I’d suggest trying those teensy bottles at the register in your liquor store, or making good friends with your favorite bartender and trying lots of different shots, until you find one or two you like. It’s best to have an affordable, everyday brand for cocktails, and a pricier brand to sip for special occasions. I’m more of a tequila girl, and I chose this limited edition Absolut Citron because I really liked the bottle – it just worked out that it tasted great, too.

Jo Walker, Intern

The Paloma Tequila Cocktail

the paloma 2

Chances are, if you’re like me, you have a bottle of tequila languishing in a cabinet somewhere left over from your last Cinco de Mayo party. Although tequila shots with the girls are fun every now and again, sometimes it’s even better to mix it up and try something new. You’ll only need a few ingredients and a few minutes to make THE PALOMA, a refreshing and delicious tequila cocktail that tastes almost like a sparkling margarita, with a great sweet-to-tart ratio.


  • Ice
  • 1 ½ ounces tequila (about one standard shot glass full)
  • The juice from ½ of a lime
  • Pinch of coarse salt, optional
  • Grapefruit soda*
  • Extra lime wedges or slices, optional, for garnish


  • Fill your glass with ice
  • Add tequila and lime juice (You can add in a pinch of coarse salt if you like)
  • Top with soda
  • Garnish, if desired, with a lime slice or wedge

You can use any glass from 8 to 12 oz, and easily double the tequila, lime, or add more or less soda to fit your preference. If your glass is on the larger side, I would definitely use two shots. This style of drink is usually served in a Collins glass, which is a tall, narrow style. Here’s some of our favorites:

 Tossa Collins Glasses, Set of 6

Mid-Century Silver Rimmed Tumblers, Set of 6

Carley Pink Highball Glass

And then add these, the cutest coasters ever, for any glass you have

*Traditionally this recipe uses Jarritos, the Mexican soda, which comes in a grapefruit flavor, and which you can find at some bodegas. Trader Joe’s also carries a decent grapefruit soda, and there’s a grapefruit flavored Izze. Some recipes even call for Fresca or Sprite, if you’re desperate.

the paloma Jo


There are two things you should know before you buy your next bottle of tequila:

1) There’s three basic types of tequila: blanco, reposado, and añejo. Blanco tequila is white or silver – clear in color and unaged, and flavors varying a lot depending on where the agave is grown. Blanco is fine for most cocktail recipes, including the Paloma. Reposado tequila has been aged in an oak barrel for 2 to 12 months, and tastes a bit more smoky and mellow than a Blanco. It’s traditionally used for sipping. Añejo tequila has been aged up to three years, tastes almost like cognac, and is the most expensive.

2) Whichever type of tequila you buy, reject any bottle that doesn’t say “100% agave” on the label – no matter the price. Otherwise you’re getting a mixto, which is a mix that usually includes fermented sugarcane. That results in a much cheaper tequila, in price and in taste.

Try out the cocktail and tell us what you think!

Jo Walker, Intern

Weekend To-Do

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