Seasonal Rosemary Cocktails

Seasonal Rosemary Cocktails

I don’t know about you, but a nice stiff drink always helps me get through the holidays! Sarah W. (already known for her holiday-appropriate drink pairings) is kind enough to share with us a fabulous recipe for a simple ingredient that will jazz up your seasonal cocktail game. I sure am glad it’s almost 5 o’clock, because these gorgeous cocktails are calling my name. Pour us all a drink, Sarah!

Oh man, guys. It’s officially holiday season. I love gift-giving, I love decorating, I love putting up my Christmas tree well after Thanksgiving… and I love seasonal flavors. I am a sucker for anything cranberry-flavored or festively-named when I go out in the winter. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that when it comes to craft cocktails, this year everyone’s talking rosemary. Which is such a good idea; it pairs with almost any fruit flavor you can think of for winter – apples, cranberry, citrus – and is also a great seasoning for poultry, so your drink goes with your turkey dinner.

But let’s go further than simply garnishing a drink with a cute little Christmas tree-like sprig, and get that amazing (and strong) flavor into our seasonal cocktails. I’m talking simple syrup.

Simple syrup, like bitters, is one of those things that seems like a fancy bar ingredient that would be impossible to make or use properly at home. But, because I’m nothing if not an over-reacher, I wanted to try my hand at crafting some seasonal cocktails with it. I’ve seen bottles of simple syrup go for eight bucks at the grocery or liquor store. Not my style. I did the tiniest bit of research, and wouldn’t you know it, simple syrup is made by boiling equal parts sugar and water. Eight bucks for sugar water! Armed with that knowledge, I decided to steep mine with rosemary for a unique flavor that would hopefully elevate my homemade attempt at seasonal craft cocktails.

Simple syrup only keeps for a few weeks, which can be a concern if you don’t drink very often. So in one of my brightest moments of clarity to date, I’ve devised three seasonalcocktails – whiskey, gin, and vodka – that will almost guarantee you use a whole batch of simple syrup at one party. Rosemary has strong flavor. Each cocktail uses ¼ ounce, and a batch of simple syrup yields about a cup. Eight ounces in a cup, do the math – this syrup should make you 32 drinks, so plan your holiday shindig guest list accordingly! So let’s get to the crafting of these actually pretty easy holiday cocktails.

Rosemary Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 sprigs rosemary

Every recipe using rosemary I saw online told me to smack the sprigs of rosemary against my palm to release the flavor. I felt a little silly, but I did this.

Throw your ingredients into a small saucepan and bring to a boil.

Let boil 5-8 minutes, then remove from heat.

Fish out your rosemary sprigs. If they’ve fallen apart at all, you can run the syrup through a sieve, but I didn’t have any problems just removing the rosemary and pouring my syrup into a mason jar. You can use a clever little glass bottle, or any number of syrup storage devices. Anything that seals and fits in your fridge. Let cool. Simple syrup can be made ahead of time and stored so it’s not piping hot from the pan while you’re trying to mix cocktails.

Seasonal Cocktails

Thorny Winter Sun

  • 1 ½ oz. Vodka
  • Juice of 2 clementines (about 2 oz.)
  • ½ oz. Lemon juice
  • ¼ oz. Rosemary simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Pour into a new glass, add 2 large ice cubes, and garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Seasonal Cocktails

Cranberry Patch

  • 2 oz. Whiskey  (use good whiskey/bourbon – you can really taste it in this drink)
  • ½ oz. Sweet vermouth (the red bottle)
  • ½ oz. Cranberry juice
  • ¼ oz. Rosemary simple syrup

Combine all ingredients in a lowball glass. Stir for about twenty seconds. Add ice if you like it. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

Seasonal Cocktails

Rosemary Twinkle

  • 1 ½ oz. Gin
  • ½ oz. Sweetened lime juice
  • ¼ oz. Rosemary simple syrup
  • Club soda to top
  • Brûléed apple slice to garnish*

Combine gin, simple syrup, and lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Pour into a highball glass and add ice. Top with club soda and give a gentle stir. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a slice of brûléed apple.

*Brûlée your apple! I used a honeycrisp apple,Seasonal Cocktails the very best of autumn harvest (in my opinion). Slice your apple and remove seeds and core. I cut a tiny notch into mine to help it grip the lip of the glass. Press cut edges into sugar, then fire with a brûlée torch (or broil for about five minutes). Let cool a few moments so the sugar sets and doesn’t drip, then stick on the edge of your glass. This looks really impressive, tastes really good, and isn’t difficult. If your sugar gets a little bit burned, the sweet and tartness of the apple does a really good job covering it up. This is a garnish you can serve with confidence!

Seasonal Cocktails

I hope these cocktails make your next holiday gathering as legendary as the party I’m throwing in my mind right now. Happy holidays to all, and if you devise any rosemary cocktails of your own, let me know about them!

Printer friendly recipes: Seasonal Rosemary Cocktails


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