There’s much to be said for a holiday feast where the whole family (or framily) joins together, forgets their differences, and chows down. While wine traditionally covers a lot of food pairings, and beer might be the beverage of choice for Big Game rivalries, did you know whisky cocktails work beautifully in the same roles? That’s why Crown Royal is here to help take some stress out of the holidays.

Pro Tip: Batch cocktails ahead of time, like bartenders often do. Stable ingredients, including fresh juices, mixers, and spirits often benefit from co-mingling (refrigeration) for a few hours up to two days. Anything you can do to lighten your load while entertaining is a total bonus!

Each recipe serves five, and can be scaled to serve more.

Crown New Fashioned

Serves 5
This classic cocktail is reminiscent of an Old Fashioned, but slightly sweeter. It’s a nice way to welcome guests before dinner. The drink can also be topped with club soda – add just before serving!

Ingredients 

  • 5 ounces Crown Royal
  • 2 1/2 ounces Orange Liqueur
  • 2 1/2 ounces Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 5 teaspoons Simple Syrup (or powdered sugar)
  • 5 dashes Bitters

Directions

  1. Shake or stir all ingredients with ice (may need to split up the batch to fit the shaker), strain into a small pitcher.
  2. Refrigerate one hour to one day.
  3. Serve neat or over ice in rocks glasses.

 

Royal Highball

Serves 5
While wine is always a welcome pairing at dinner, Highballs (essentially spirit and club soda) are an excellent low-alcohol option. This one pairs particularly well with a spread highlighting sweet potatoes and cooked greens.

Ingredients

  • 7.5 ounces Crown Royal
  • 5 ounces Cranberry Juice
  • 2 ounces Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 10 dashes Bitters
  • Top with club soda

Directions

  1. Combine ingredients and stir or shake.
  2. Refrigerate in a small pitcher for one hour to one day ahead.
  3. Pour into tall/Highball glasses over ice and top at the table with club soda.
  4. For extra visual points, you can garnish with a fresh lemon slice or a rosemary sprig.

 

Pecan-Infused Coffee Manhattan

Serves 5
This one takes a little work ahead of time, but the end result is worth it. It’s also versatile: serve before or during dinner (pairs well with turkey, sweet potatoes, or sweet potato pie), or add extra coffee syrup and whipped cream as a dessert drink. (Note: Check ahead of time if anyone has a nut allergy, and replace the infused Crown Royal with Crown Royal Vanilla, don’t infuse)

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces Pecan-infused Crown Royal*
  • 2 1/2 ounces Sweet Vermouth (you can also combine 1.25 Sweet and 1.25 Dry Vermouth)
  • 3/4 ounce Fresh Brewed Coffee or Coffee Syrup to taste**

Directions

  1. In a mixing glass, stir together all ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate in a small pitcher for three hours to two days.
  3. Pour into martini glasses or coupe glasses, and garnish with three coffee beans.

*A week before Thanksgiving, combine a bottle (750 ml) of Crown Royal, one cup pecans and one vanilla bean in a mason jar. Seal, and swirl gently. Set in a cool dark spot (closet, pantry) and allow to infuse for four to five days. Strain through a cloth to another container to remove solids.

**The choice depends on sweetness preferences. For coffee syrup, you can either buy it in a store/online, or make your own: Pour 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup extra-strength brewed coffee into a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Reduce to simmer for about 10 minutes. Transfer to a jar or container and allow to cool.

 

The Big Game Mule

Serves 5
Fall is the time for team rivalries. If your guests have retreated to the living room to watch the game, this refreshing sipper will keep them entertained.

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces Crown Royal Vanilla
  • 2 1/2 ounces Amaretto
  • 10 dashes Orange Bitters
  • ½ teaspoon Cinnamon
  • Ginger Beer to Top

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except Ginger Beer, and shake or stir well, straining into a small pitcher.
  2. Refrigerate for 2 hours to 2 days ahead of time.
  3. When you’re ready to serve, pour into a copper Moscow Mule mug or Collins/Highball glass over plenty of ice.
  4. Top with ginger beer and give a light stir to mix.

 

Cozy Apple Pie

Serves 5
Inspired by the Apple Jaxx cocktail, this is basically dessert in a glass. It can be batched ahead of time to serve cold, or it can be served hot immediately (warm the cider in a saucepan, pour into individual mugs then build in the rest of the ingredients).

Ingredients

  • 7 1/2 ounces Crown Royal Regal Apple
  • 2 1/2 ounces Caramel Syrup
  • 1 1/4 ounces Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients (adjust syrup and lemon juice to taste), shake well, and pour into a small pitcher.
  2. Refrigerate for one or two day, serve in highball glasses over ice, or hot in mugs.
  3. Top with whipped cream if desired.

This article is sponsored by Crown Royal.