Very Merry Cocktails

Food writer and cookbook author Jessica Strand shares a trio of festive beverages from her new book
book cover for Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand

We would never wish anyone a blue Christmas—unless we were referring to the yummy blueberry and pomegranate gin punch from Jessica Strand’s book Very Merry Cocktails: 50+ Festive Drinks for the Holiday Season (Chronicle Books, 2020).

Brimming with jolly cocktails, celebratory champagne sippers, warm toddies, party punches, and “zero proof” libations for all, this prettily packaged volume inspires us to put the holiday spirit in our bottled spirits (or is it the other way around?).

Here we share a trio of recipes for you to try at home, including an alcohol-free mulled cider with just a touch of real maple syrup to take it over the top. For a gift, pair this book with items for stocking or equipping the bar.

Highball glass filled with ice and Cranberry Shrub Cocktail from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand. The glass is rimmed in sugar and garnished with a skewer of cranberries. A gold clutch lays on the gray and white marble counter beside it.
Photo © Ren Fuller

With a splash of fizzy ginger ale and a homemade shrub (that’s a syrup made from fruit, vinegar, and sugar), this recipe puts a holiday-worthy spin on the classic cranberry-and-vodka. Sugar the rim for a frosty look, and garnish with fresh cranberries.

Three glass tumblers filled with Evergreen Sparkler, a fizzy lemon, rosemary, and gin cocktail from the book Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand. Rosemary sprigs garnish each glass. The background is a glittery silver.
Photo © Ren Fuller

Evergreen Sparkler

Instead of a gin-and-tonic, try this twist with fresh lemon and a rosemary-infused simple syrup. This pleasingly herbal drink “will be a satisfying way to spread cheer after a day of decorating or a walk in a wintery forest,” writes Strand.

Cups of Reprinted from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020with citrus slices, garnished with cinnamon stick
Photo © Ren Fuller

Mulled Cider

Nothing warms body and soul like a hot pot of cider on the stove filling the house with the heavenly aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Book review by Terri Robertson | Recipes republished from Very Merry Cocktails by Jessica Strand with permission by Chronicle Books, 2020 | Photography by Ren Fuller