New Video Course Shows How to Make Cocktails like a Pro this Holiday Season

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With more people throwing holiday parties at home this year, it's time to learn to mix drinks like a pro. A new video cocktail course, The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions, is packed with instructional cocktail videos on how to make hand-crafted, old-school cocktails. This holiday, anyone can make expert Christmas cocktails, says The Great Courses.

With more people throwing holiday parties at home this year, it's time to learn to mix drinks like a pro. A new video cocktail course, The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions, is packed with instructional cocktail videos on how to make hand-crafted, old-school cocktails. This holiday, anyone can make expert Christmas cocktails, says The Great Courses.

While some cocktail courses can be expensive and time consuming, this video course — available on DVD and as a digital video download from just $27.95 — delivers a fun, fast, and affordable education in spirits and cocktails.

Certified Specialist of Spirits Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan stars in this video guide to cocktails. She says, "Making cocktails doesn't have to be intimidating. If you don't have the time or money to sign up for mixology courses, learn a handful of simple cocktail recipes that you can remember easily. It's important to have fun while making cocktails. If you know the basics, you can experiment and impress your friends as you mix their drinks."
Below are three classic holiday cocktail recipes that suit all tastes and are easy to learn:

Hot Toddy
As soon as the first snows appear, it's Hot Toddy season. Perfect for cold days and nights, the Hot Toddy warms you up from the inside and delights with spicy, honeyed, and buttered flavor notes.

The original Hot Toddy recipe calls for:

  •     1½ oz. brandy or rum (or ¾ oz. of each)
  •     1 tsp. honey (or more to taste)
  •     ¾ oz. lemon juice

Combine the ingredients in a mug and fill with hot water or tea. Yum!

Variations include the Hot Buttered Rum, which adds a creamy flavor and texture to the drink by replacing the honey and lemon juice with sugar and butter. You can also make the classic and experiment with spices — how about a dash of cinnamon or ginger?

Poinsettia
Not everybody likes creamy cocktails, so here's a fruity option. Named for the traditional Christmas flower, this holiday champagne cocktail serves as a light and bubbly aperitif.

The ingredients are:

  •     2 oz. cranberry juice
  •     4 oz. champagne
  •     ½ oz. Cointreau

Pour the cranberry juice into a champagne flute and fill with champagne. For a colorful effect, top it with a float of Cointreau by layering it on top of the drink without letting it mix with the juice and Champagne. The best way to do this is to use a pourer curved up, touching the glass to allow the Cointreau to float on top. If you don't have a pourer, touch an upside-down spoon to the glass and slowly pour the Cointreau over it.

Eggnog
This traditional Christmas cocktail conjures up images of sitting by the fire on a cold night. The original version can be tricky if you're not confident using raw eggs. This "Faux Eggnog" is just as delicious, and it's quick and easy, so you have more time to enjoy the party!

You'll need:

  •     1 oz. vodka
  •     1 oz. white crème de cacao
  •     2 oz. heavy cream
  •     3 dashes Angostura(R) bitters

Shake the ingredients well with ice. Strain over crushed ice into an Irish coffee glass. Dust with freshly grated nutmeg.

More cocktail recipes and how-to videos can be found in The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions, an eight-lecture course covering classic spirits, cordials and liqueurs, information on how to create the perfect home bar, and many classic and new recipes. For further information on how to purchase a DVD or a digital video download version of the course, visit http://www.thegreatcourses.com/cocktail-courses.

For further information on The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails or The Great Courses please contact Kirsty Shaw or Gina Tunley at Punch Communications: +44 (0) 1858 411 600 or email tgc(at)punchcomms(dot)com

Notes to Editors

  •     The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions is available from http://www.thegreatcourses.com/cocktail-courses for $27.95 (digital video download) and $29.95 (DVD). Shipping and handling costs apply.
  •     Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan is a definitive authority on spirits in the United States and among a small number of people to have received the highest credentials in the spirits and wine industry. She has a Professional Certificate in Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan is also one of only a few hundred people in the world to hold the Master of Wine title (M.W.) from The Institute of Masters of Wine in London, England—the highest and most difficult title to achieve in the industry. Winner of the Wiesbaden Tasting Trophy from the Institute of Masters of Wine, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has trained thousands of professionals in the spirits and wine industry, has judged international spirits and wine competitions, and has hosted seminars with Food Network stars including Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay. She is a frequent guest on television programs, including Fox Business and Bloomberg TV, and has been featured in Fortune, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.
  •     The Great Courses is a highly popular series of university-level lectures crafted and delivered by top professors and experts. Designed to meet the demand for lifelong learning and to change the way people think about the world, The Great Courses currently offers more than 350 courses in a range of video and audio formats including DVD, CD, and digital downloads. Courses span more than 5,000 hours of content across ten subject categories: science and mathematics, history, fine arts and music, religion and theology, philosophy and intellectual history, literature and English language, business and economics, better living, professional, and high school. Since 1990, over 10 million courses have been sold around the world.

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Kirsty Shaw
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