My experience was not quite as exciting or exotic as that of Little Big Town, since, you know, coworkers at our place of employment. But it was a fun little break in the routine.

As you may or may not remember, I’m an event planner at Boston College, working closely with the Catering dept of the university’s department of dining services. Catering has a new beverage manager, self-styled as an “idea man.” He likes to experiment, with an eye to enhancing our clients’ experiences.

So, to that end, since we’re in the thick of planning a bazillion holiday parties, I was invited to participate in a taste-testing session. We were in search of a special seasonal cocktail to augment the usual bar offerings. Did I have to be asked twice? No, I did not.


meme via DIYLOL.C

Back to the kitchen I went, where everything was set up on the stainless steel counters, making it look like a mad bartender’s idea of a laboratory. Bottles of every kind of liquor you could name competed for space with red and white wine and bowls of garnishes. (I wanted to find a use for the springs of thyme, but we concluded it was an eye hazard. Pfft.) There were racks of all manner of glassware, all appropriate for whatever would eventually fill them, as well as the requisite “dump buckets” for getting rid of the “undrinkables.”

I want to be able to tell you that those buckets were not needed (Amateurs. I don’t need no stinkin’ bucket), but alas there were a couple of definite rejects that tasted like cough syrup or worse, mouthwash. For example, the slushie something, whose cutesie name I’ve forgotten, made with Moscato, Lambrusco and vodka – ick – that managed to taste like both at the same time.

Luckily, for me anyway, there were some real winners. I could have happily finished my Snowflake Martini with white creme de cacao and vanilla vodka, as well as the variation on a White Russian (no Kahlua – ESPRESSO!) also made with vanilla vodka. Unfortunately, while they were both yummy, after much discussion, they were also determined to be both cost prohibitive and too hard a sell to the PTB.

The one we all agreed on was the Sangria that Beverage Manager B. had dubbed “Jingle Juice.” (Yes, I despise the name as much as you probably do.)

jingle juice

This is not our actual “Jingle Juice” (because I didn’t take my phone – d’oh! ), however, we will be serving it in mason jar glasses like these! (Sans straws)

When it was all over, I made sure to let B. know that I am always available, should the need arise, for taste-tests of this sort. After all, I take public transportation home, so there’s no danger of driving while impaired.

charlie brown memedroid


In any case, I will make this one at home. Maybe Christmas Eve (instead of my late father’s “Special Nog,” which everyone oos and ahs over, but  in reality, no one except me drinks. Sorry Dad.) But I digress.

Without further ado, here is the (party-sized) recipe for Jingle Juice*.

4 oz Captain Morgan (or any other) Spiced Rum
1 bottle of red wine
8 oz Apple Cider
4 oz Orange Juice (preferably fresh)
1 oz Simple Syrup
12 oz Ginger Ale
3 to 4 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters
Apples, Pears and Oranges, sliced (reserve some for garnish)

In a drink dispenser or pitcher, add all ingredients over ice. Refrigerate overnight, if possible, but at least two hours.
Serve over ice or straight up. Garnish with reserved fruit.

It tastes like a cold mulled wine, and it is delicious. I’m also thinking of trying it with Prosecco instead of the Ginger Ale for even more bubbles (although perhaps it’s the “ginger” that’s needed. Maybe Ginger Beer?)

Do you think you’ll give this one a try? Do you have a ‘go-to’ party beverage, during the holidays or otherwise? By all means, share! We’re always up to try a new cocktail!

*Let’s come up with a new name, shall we? Something festive that doesn’t sound like it will be consumed from a container wrapped in a brown paper bag. Post your suggestions in the comments, and I’ll amend the post on Christmas Eve with the winner!