Holiday Debrief Cocktail

Creating a cocktail is no easy task. There is testing and adjusting. Testing and adjusting. Testing and adjusting. You see where this is going.

I had the basis of an idea when wanting to make some festive cider this year as part of my neighbours gift baskets. Every year we exchange some homemade items  to celebrate the holiday season. Given that my neighbours are very talented in the kitchen, it is a joy and a surprise to receive these one of a kind gifts.

Since I do a lot of canning during the year I include a little something from the pantry along with  some baking and other goodies. I had come across an interesting recipe from another Canadian food blogger.  Jared Kovacs The Hesitant Chef had shared his Christmas Cake Cider aka Fruit Cake Cider. Since I already had a carboy that I picked up at a yard sale on the way home from work one day, we only needed a few things to get it started:  the ingredients, a plug and a airlock. The pop top bottles were sitting in the basement which were bought at a garage sale across the street put on by my neighbour (aka Mr. Christmas) last summer. I call it cider fate. The end result was fantastic and we were happy to share the love with our neighbours.

The recipe for cider includes a syrup that is added once the fermentation has been bubbling for the 2 week period and was the inspiration for this cocktail. I had been playing around with a variety of flavoured simple syrups over the summer and was thinking why not have a winter one as well.

So trial and error occurred as we experimented with various combinations of syrup recipes, spirits and mixes. Some were good, some were bad,  and  some were downright ugly.

Finally a consensus was made about the syrup recipe, the dark spiced rum base and the mix of apple juice as the main ingredients all on the eve of our neighbourhood Christmas party. Some tweeking was needed and the perfect test audience and cocktail connoisseurs were steps away. I packed up the cocktail shaker and the ingredients along with my rumaki pate ball appetizer. This was the basis for a fun night.

The testing and fine tuning were gladly taken over by the Cocktail King neighbour beside us. Guests were provided with versions of the cocktail as my Hubby gladly passed them around circling back like a pro gathering feedback. All of which was positive.

The rum bottle was pretty much empty as the evening closed and the Cocktail King was enjoying the libation throughout the night. We had a hit!

Now you may be wondering about the name of the cocktail. Well after the main guests leave, there is a party debrief conversation of memorable and not so stellar moments. We all do it in some shape or form. Recap, debrief or just go over the highlight reel. The neighbourhood party is all about the highlights.

It is also about the debrief of the holidays and taking the time to enjoy and relax from the numerous social events. This is a sipping cocktail geared to the opportunity to stop and enjoy the moment and the great company you keep.

Cheers! To you, the relaxing moments and a positive debrief.


Holiday Debrief Cocktail

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Holiday Debrief Cocktail

The holidays are hard enough - Debrief and relax


    Gingerbread syrup
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 tsp gingerbread spice mix
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Holiday Debrief Cocktail
  • 1 ounce dark spiced rum
  • 1/2 ounce orange liquor
  • 1/4 oz gingerbread syrup
  • 2 ounces apple juice
  • Club soda
  • Lemon wedges


    For the Gingerbread syrup:
  1. In a medium sauce pan, add the brown sugar, water and gingerbread spice mix. Stir until combined. Over medium heat bring the water and syrup to a boil until all the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat at let cool to room temperature. Stir in vanilla. Store in an airtight container and in the refrigerator until ready for use.
  3. For the Holiday Debrief Cocktail:
  4. In a cocktail shaker, add the dark spiced rum, orange liquor, gingerbread spice syrup and apple juice over ice.
  5. Shake until mixed and pour over large cubed ice in a old fashion style glass.
  6. Top with club soda leaving some room at the top.
  7. Squeeze lemon wedge over the top and serve.


*must be legal drinking age to enjoy this cocktail

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