A Proper Holiday Cocktail

With Christmas happening in just a few days, my email inbox is getting choked out with digital holiday cards from companies that I am almost 100% positive don’t know who I am … they probably don’t even know that I received their Season’s Greetings and Festive Holiday Wishes!

So I’m not going to do that to you. I am going to deliver something of actual value – an instructional on a proper holiday cocktail (I’m drinking one right now as I type this up matter of fact.)

First off I need to acknowledge that I did not invent this cocktail myself. That honor will be bestowed upon my neighbor Priscilla who happened to carry on of these cocktails over to my house as her husband Poul and I were sitting in the backyard drinking beer. This is what she had and she was kind enough to let me taste it … and it was amazing. I am particularly fond of grapefruit and this drink pretty much tastes like ruby red grapefruit, but one that will make you do silly things if you have too many. Regular grapefruit won’t do that to you.

So let’s get to it because I’m afraid that the ending of this post will go sideways on me since I am drinking AND writing at the same time (although, it’s possible that you won’t be able to tell the difference).

The ingredients are simple:

2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 ounces gin
2 ounces Giffard Crème de Pamplemousse Liqueur

Combine all the ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake like mad (that seems obvious)

Garnish with a lemon peel and serve either in a martini glass or over ice in a bourbon tumbler.

Freshly cut lemons

You really only need about 1 lemon per serving … clearly, I am in the process of making “more” than 1 serving.

The Botanist Islay Dry Gin

You can choose your own gin but this is the one I am currently using in this cocktail. From the distiller’s website:

The Botanist is an artisanal Islay gin made by Bruichladdich Distillery in Scotland. It is the only gin made on Islay and is distinctive for its augmentation of the nine classical gin aromatics with a further 22 locally picked wild Islay botanicals. It is these botanicals – and the two local botanists who collect them – that inspire its name.

Well, I don’t know about all that, but I can tell you that it smells terrific and tastes great. The secret ingredient that makes this cocktail go, is the Giffard Crème de Pamplemousse Liqueur.

Giffard Pamplemousse

Not too many people have heard of this liqueur – at least none of the people I’ve spoken to have ever heard of it before. Pamplemousse is French for Grapefruit and Giffard Crème de Pamplemousse Liqueur is just what it sounds like – it’s what brings the grapefruit flavor to the party.

All the ingredients for a Gin Zing

Here is everything that I used for this cocktail laid out – I like working on a large cutting board when making these sorts of drinks because things can get a little sticky.

Making Lemon Peels

I also thought I would try my hand at adding a lemon curd, but my curl game is not particularly strong. I have since watched a few videos and feel better equipped for the next time.

pouring cocktail from the shaker

I add everything into my bar shaker, and about 6 pieces of ice, and shake for about 5 seconds. The outside of the will be getting cold so you’ll have a pretty good idea that your drink is sufficiently chilled.

Christmas Cocktail - Gin Zing

And here is the final product – slightly pink, chilled and delicious. I should let you know that I am a full grown man, standing 6′-1″ and currently weighing in at 200lbs, but if I were to drink three of these cocktails, I wouldn’t trust myself with keeping any secrets.

Despite the evidence I present myself, I don’t actually drink all that often. I made a rule for myself a long, long time ago that I wouldn’t drink by myself and I wouldn’t ever have a drink “because I’ve had a bad day.” For the most part, I have kept these rules in play because they’ve served me well. That having been said, I do like to make cocktails and I enjoy having people over for drinks where there’s a need for me to play the role of bartender.

As I sat here writing this, I decided I would go back through my Instagram feed to see just how many pictures I’ve shared of cocktails I’ve made over the last several years. It wasn’t nearly as many as I would have guessed …

In reverse order, here they are:

Instagram Photo

It’s pretty hard to make a bad margarita – the trick is to avoid the pre-made margarita mixers.


Instagram Photo

Lemon Drops were in circulation for a short while –


Instagram Photo

When you live in a hot climate like me, there are few drinks that are better than a mojito. Despite a considerable amount of effort and time dedicated to the cause, I’ve never been able to make one that was anywhere as good as the ones that every single person in Key West, Florida, can just slap together.


Instagram Photo

This really is the best margarita recipe – so good in fact that I wrote a post dedicated to it. You find that post – and the proper recipe that you should print out, here:  Margaritas Especial del Arquitecto de Texas


Instagram Photo

We finally settled on calling this one Poinsettia Punch and it only gets broken out during the holidays. Cherries, Lime, vodka and Sprite for the bubbles. This is also a sneaky and deadly drink because it tastes so good you don’t realize how fast you are mowing them down.


Instagram Photo

Okay, maybe it doesn’t only get broken out during the holidays …


Instagram Photo

This is typically more my speed – single malt scotch, put in the barrel 36 years ago and served over a single ice sphere. I’m from Texas and I tell people that I like my drinks to be brown and without fruit … unless it’s Christmas time, then all bets are off.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you all. 2017 was a wild year and based on some of the projects I’ve currently got in the office, I’m pretty excited to see what 2018 brings.

Cheers to you all,

Bob signature FAIA


Source: Life of an Architect