Hi, hello; my name is Kristine, and I’m still trying to plan my holiday party that takes place tomorrow. And yes, I immediately broke out into meat sweats-like perspiration the second I realized how close we were to the date. While I do have the entire menu planned out, and I do have the essentials, like wine, eggnog, and Four Peaks’ Kiltlifter, already chilling in the fridge, the party’s missing one, essential ingredient: a holiday cocktail. “Should I stick with Skrewball-spiked eggnog? Is that enough?” I asked myself. “Should we also make a cranberry sangria?” The options felt seemingly endless and I felt myself spiraling — until Barefoot Contessa star Ina Garten saved the day by sharing her favorite, go-to holiday cocktail: Sidecars with Dried Cherries.
“To paraphrase Julia Child: ‘A party without cocktails is just a meeting!'” Garten wrote on Instagram alongside a thirst-quenching photo of the holiday drink.
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“My Sidecars with Dried Cherries are a classic old-fashioned cocktail with a twist,” she continued. “I make them with freshly squeezed lemon juice, Cognac and Grand Marnier plus Cognac-soaked dried cherries. They’re sweet and tart and the perfect holiday cocktail!!”
Garten’s Sidecars with Dried Cherries recipe, which yields two drinks, is so easy to make. All you need is — as she mentioned in her caption — Grand Marnier liqueur, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and dried cherries. You’ll also need the right cognac: VS (“Very Special”) cognac, not VSOP (“Very Superior Old Pale”) cognac. A solid option is Courvoisier VS Cognac ($24.99).
Save a bit of that lemon juice for the rim, which also calls for sugar.
To start, you’ll want to marinate the dried cherries in cognac and microwave for 60 seconds. Then combine the other ingredients in a shaker, shake for 30 seconds (yes, an entire 30 seconds!), and strain. Thread the cherries onto a skewer, and serve. It’s really as easy as that. And if you practice making them before guests come over, you’ll not only make the process appear effortless, but you’ll impress them, to boot. As for me, I’ll let my fiancé do the work. I’ll just end up making a mess.