Craft Cocktails

Written by Bryan Lavery


The modern cocktail revival has spawned the craft cocktail movement. Hand-crafted libations with pre-prohibition cocktail cred are the craze right now. The essential components of the contemporary craft cocktail comprise the use of artisanal ingredients, seasonal syrups, shrubs and infusions, premium liquors, good ice and proper garnishes. Small batch ingredients add flavour, complexity, and personality to culinary-driven craft creations and classic cocktails alike. If you really want to do your Holiday cocktail a favour, use festive garnishes that lend texture, style and a personal flavour accent to your drink. Here are a couple of festive cocktails for the Holiday season.


Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria 

Autumn sangria with apples, pears and cinnamon

Autumn sangria with apples, pears and cinnamon

Courtesy of Revival House, Stratford

Yields one pitcher. Perfect for entertaining over the holidays.

1 bottle of Pinot Grigio (your choice) 
1 bottle of Champagne (or Secco of your choice) 
3 crisp apples, diced (ie. honey crisp, royal gala, pink lady) 
2 cups Wellesley apple cider (or any good quality cider) 
½ cup ginger-infused brandy* (made the day before or earlier) 
½ cup spiced cordial# 
3 cinnamon sticks & extra for garnishing each glass 
thumb-size piece of ginger

1 In a pitcher combine Pinot Grigio, diced apples, Welsey Apple cider, ginger Brandy, spiced cordial and 3 cinnamon sticks. If pieces of ginger end up in the pitcher, there is no need to worry. It will only add more flavour to the sangria.
2 Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour. After refrigeration, add half of the bottle of champagne to the pitcher before serving. Waiting to add the champagne will keep those lovely bubbles popping longer.
3 You’re ready! Pour the sangria into glasses filled with ice (we prefer wine glasses). Add a cinnamon stick for garnish and top each glass with extra champagne. Enjoy!

*Ginger-infused Brandy

We like E & J Brandy VSOP. It has lovely caramel notes that compliment this winter cocktail beautifully.

Grate a thumb-size piece of ginger and add it to the bottle, the day before or earlier. The longer the ginger is given to infuse the Brandy, the more intense the flavour, adding warmth and subtle spice to this cocktail.

*Spiced Cordial 

½ cup sugar
½ cup water 
1 cinnamon stick 
5 cloves
1 star anise 

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool. Strain cordial and transfer to a sealable container. Store in the fridge. Yields 1 cup. Keeps indefinitely.

RH Candice presenting cocktailRevival House Martini

1 oz Chambord 
½ oz Limoncello
½ oz Bombay Sapphire gin
1 drop rose water
Dried rose petal for garnish

1 In a martini shaker filled with ice combine Bombay Sapphire, Chambord, Limoncello
2 Shake hard and strain into a chilled martini glass.
3 Add 1 drop of rose water and top with champagne.
4 Garnish with a dried rose petal. Enjoy!

Fall Fashioned 

Wolfe of Wortley CocktailCourtesy of Wolfe of Wortley, London

1½ oz Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon 
½ oz Glenlivet 12 year old scotch
½ oz Fig/Cinnamon Shrub*
dash of Angostura Bitters
5 drops house-made cumin & maple walnut bitters 
pickled apple ball 
red wine poached pear

1 Muddle the Fig/Cinnamon Shrub with the bitters in a short round glass. Rotate the glass so that it is lined.
2 Add a large ice cube, then the bourbon and scotch.
3 A tall cinnamon stick makes a good stir stick. Garnish with the apple ball and poached pear. on a spear. Enjoy!

*Fig/Cinnamon shrub
12 fresh purple figs
2 cups apple cider vinegar 
2 cups raw sugar
4 sticks of cinnamon 

Cover and let sit at room temperature for 3 days.
Work though a fine strainer into a fresh bowl. Discard left over pulp and cinnamon sticks.
Put the sugar into a large jar with a lid. Add the juice. Put the lid on and shake until well mixed.
Leave in a cool dark place for two weeks, shaking the jar every couple of days.

About the author

Bryan Lavery

Eatdrink Food Editor and Writer at Large Bryan Lavery brings years of experience in the restaurant and hospitality industry, as a chef, restaurant owner and consultant. Always on the lookout for the stories that Eatdrink should be telling, he helps shape the magazine both under his byline and behind the scenes.