Christmas eve meals are easy to figure out. Pineapple glazed yule ham is appropriately festive. Cookies and milk are on-the-nose but still excellent. And there’s just something about ensaymada that tastes better when the tree is up and the rice lights are glowing bright.
But try naming a holiday appropriate alcoholic drink. Wine is too obvious. Your favorite bar will likely be closed on the 25th, so your usual craft cocktail order is out of the question. Eggnog fits, but personally I’m only down to ingest raw egg if I’m having tamago kake gohan.
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This is where 35cl Cocktail Co. comes in. 35cl specializes in making bottled cocktails from premium ingredients. They started earlier this year and made a splash putting out three unconventional cocktail flavors: CE001 Grapefruit, which is inspired by Campari; CE002 Coconut, which has pronounced star anise and vanilla notes; and CE003 Caramel Popcorn, which tastes like a haughtier bourbon. All of these bottled cocktails were limited edition, and are therefore sold out. Once 35cl puts out a line of cocktails, they don’t make it again, in the interest of constantly moving forward and innovating.
Which is why it’s imperative that you get your hands on at least one of the cocktails in 35cl’s new holiday line. We’ve got three contenders for holiday partymaker: CE004 Chocolate, CE005 Eggnog, and CE006 Hibiscus.
CE004 Chocolate is hella fine, with notes of cacao, citrus, and vanilla that comes in for a clean finish. There are two ways to step this mixture up: you can garnish it with an orange wheel to emphasize the citrus, or you can mix cold brew into the drink. I highly suggest only the finest brew though—CE004 is too exquisite to be stirred with 3-in-1.
My personal favorite is CE005, Eggnog with the egg. This bad boy has got spiced rum infused with cinnamon and nutmeg, plus bourbon. The cinnamon and bourbon work in tandem to produce heat and kick, but CE005 goes down super smooth thanks to the ginger notes and vanilla syrup. It’s almost like a hard lemonade, but more sophisticated. You can actually mix this eggnog with a little milk or whipped egg whites if you want some foam action. Garnishing with a stick of cinnamon bark is also a good way to go.
If you plan on ordering the whole collection, 35cl suggests you finish with CE006 Hibiscus, which is pretty strong, rocking it at 29.59% ABV. Hibiscus-infused scotch, sweet vermouth, and pink pepper tonic bring a kind of floral smokiness to the party, but the MVP flavor note in my opinion is that super subtle touch of lemongrass, which rounds everything off. You could garnish it with a lemon peel, but I personally like it just on the rocks, sipped like iced tea.
We got to try these cocktails out for early merienda at Panaderya Toyo, from which my main takeaway was the unusual but still fun experience of having alcohol at 2 in the afternoon, with bread, of all things. But I suggest a different approach on the day of holiday feasting. If your family’s getting together for lunch or early merienda, start with CE004 mixed with cold brew. Next, treat CE005 with white wine and pair it with fish, or even a cheese board. Top off the day with CE006 to ride out the 25th happy and heady. We wish you a tipsy Christmas.
You can buy the bottled cocktails while supplies last here.