Tis The Season For Entertaining With Ease

Cocktails for sharing

We’re talking stress free hosting and entertaining with ease! The festive season is all about gathering friends for food and drinks to celebrate. However, if you want to serve more than glasses of wine and bottles of beer, it might mean a lot of time mixing and not enough time hosting and enjoying the party yourself.

Well, we here at Candra want to tell you that yes, you can have it all. How? By working smarter, not harder. We’ve put together a list of easy to make crowd-pleasing cocktails to help you be the hero of your next gathering. All these recipes, not only make you look fancy and sophisticated, they are prepared ahead of time to make for delicious yet easy to serve drinks. 

The only downside is that you’ll be asked to make cocktails for every gathering from now on!


01. Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is literally the definition of the cocktail as a combination of alcohol, water, sugar, and bitters. It’s a timeless cocktail that’s smooth and easy to drink, especially for an old school sipper of a cocktail. It’s also perfect for bottle batching and can be prepared weeks ahead of schedule, as it’ll only mellow and improve as it rests in bottle. 

We have two great versions for you here. A classic Bottled Old Fashioned, and a modern twist using honey and chocolate bitters, Hyde’s Honey Old Fashioned.

Honey Old Fashioned

02. Jasmine Garden

It may be the holiday season, a time when we think of heavier, darker flavours. However, for some the weather isn’t that cold, it might even be hot where you are! Whether you are warm from dancing or from the sunshine on your face, you still need to be refreshed.

This recipe is a great party trick for no stress hosting, as it is essentially a fancy non-alcoholic mixer. Prepare ahead of time and keep refrigerated, then serve it by the jug or bottle as a very classy mixer. This means that not only do you have a delicious non-alcoholic cocktail option to offer, but you also have a recipe that can be mixed with a number of different base spirits. 

No matter how many fussy people you have to cater for are, this recipe should please the many not the few. It’s also a nice bright and refreshing break from all the heavier flavours of the festive season. 

Jasmine Garden

03. Manhattan

A decadent and delicious classic full of deep soothing flavours. You want to offer this delicious cocktail to your guests, but you really don’t want to be stuck to your mixing glass all night stirring cocktails. You want to be entertaining with ease, engrossed in sparkling chat and making sure your snacks come out of the over before they burn! 

Well, we’ve got you covered with two bottled Manhattan recipes. One is basically a classic with the tasty and fairly typical addition of dry cherry liqueur, Candra’s Bottled Manhattan. The second option, the VanHall’s Manhattan, will really appeal to the drink’s nerds who want to go the extra mile. It’s not complicated, but it does take a little extra measuring. It also gives you a perfect excuse to buy yourself some extra delicious products for your home bar.

Batched Vanhall Manhattan

04. Mulled Cider

Quite possibly your new holiday tradition. A very old drink, yet far less well known than its more famous sibling, Mulled Wine. Delicious as they both are, this Mulled Cider recipe can be enjoyed by all, as the alcohol is kept separate from the main batch.

Pressed apple juice with citrus, sugar and spice, warmed into an inviting and soothing combination that warms all the senses. Keeping the alcohol separate has a number of benefits for entertaining with ease. 

Firstly of course, it means that everyone can enjoy a glass, unlike Mulled Wine. Secondly, it leaves you with options of what alcohol you might want to mix into your warm and flavoursome apple juice. It works with many different spirits, the obvious brown spirits such as Rum, Whisk(e)y or Cognac, but also lighter spirits like Gin, or the jammy notes of Sloe Gin. 

Thirdly, as it sits in a warm pot you are not boiling off all the alcohol. If there is any left, you can simply bottle it up and store it in the fridge to be served another day or enjoyed cold. So many options! 

Mulled Cider

05. Spiced Honey Wine

Candra’s take on the traditional Mulled Wine recipe which must surely be the aroma of the festive season.

The wine is flavoured with some traditional flavours such as ginger, apple and vanilla, sweetened with honey and balanced with fresh citrus. When it comes to the moment of serving, you have options as to what spirit you want to fortify your wine with, or not of course. 

Add a splash of your favourite brown spirit such as Brandy, Rum or Whisk(e)y to a glass. For deeper spice and complexity add a few dashes of Angostura bitters. Finally add in slices of fresh citrus apple and ginger then ladle over the warmed Spiced Honey Wine mix. Rich, complex, wholly satisfying, and designed to appeal to as many people as possible.

Spiced Honey Wine

06. Bloody Mary Mix

Not all festive gatherings are at night, and every evening party has the morning after. For both of those reasons, you need a good Bloody Mary Mix!

Like all of these recipes, this is batched recipe that’s prepared well in advance of when you need to serve it so you can entertain with ease. The batch is fully flavoured but kept non-alcoholic, meaning that anyone can enjoy a glass. It also means that you can add your preferred white spirit, and yes, there are a lot of choices! 

Vodka is the most common spirit to be used here of course. Simply add your choice of Vodka to a tall glass, then mix in the Bloody Mary Mix to your preferred taste. Add ice and garnish as desired. Delicious and simple to make. However, have you tried a Red Snapper before? Simply add Gin to your glass with the Bloody Mary Mix in place of Vodka. Or maybe you want to try a Bloody Maria? Switch out Vodka with Blanco Tequila instead! Got a different preference? Get creative and let us know how it is.

Happy Holidays! 

Bloody Mary Mix

As always, don’t forget to show us how you are entertaining with ease by tagging us!
@Candra_Drinks  #MakeBetterDrinks  #CandraDrinks

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