My definition of the ideal summer cocktail? Easy to make, refreshing to drink. Come the winter holidays, I make only one change: Easy to make, comforting to drink.
Because while I'm looking for bright and fruity in the heat of summer, at Thanksgiving and Christmas and the onslaught of holiday gatherings in between, I want whatever is in my cup to put me at ease, leave me feeling warm and play nicely with whatever food is on the table. But I'm not willing to work all that hard for it. Hence the "easy to make" part never changes, no matter what the season.
For cold weather holidays, I gravitate to bourbon. It has all the qualities I'm looking for — warming, festive, affordable and compatible. And because of those qualities, you don't need to do much to it to create a terrific cocktail you'll want to nurse your way through during the party.
So here's a trio of holiday-friendly bourbon cocktails to get you started. The root beer in the rooted and brewed cocktail may seem unusual, but it is quite delicious and does not impart an overly sweet flavor.