As some of you may know I was a bartender, and bar manager for many a wild and zany shifts across Southeast Alaska. Holiday parties are by far the most fun of the Alaskan winter, whether it’s tailgating up at Eaglecrest or bar hopping after the company parties, it’s a joyous tradition. I remember my grandmother telling stories of extravagant parties back in the 40’s and 50’s in the interior. I also have memories of my parents making Kahlua during the fall, for winter parties when we lived as logging camp hosts. Alaskans know how to throw a great winter party. So bust out that crushed velvet, sequin accessories and your dancing shoes, come celebrate the darkness, the cold, our co-workers, our community which becomes our family. I’ve got a few of my favorite winter drinks for you and a few homemade liquors. Especially with the additions of really terrible food additives, old fashioned and homemade liquors without fake cinnamon flavors and propylene glycol are a must for my cheer. Skoal to you and yours’ and please make sure you and co get home safely!

From my cocktail to yours, enjoy!

I’m leaving these open to interpretation for recipe sake, play around, mix for two or for a crowd!
Raspberry Delight: Chambord, hot chocolate, vodka, white cream de cacao, whip cream top (serve hot)
Bossa Nova: Apricot Brandy, Dark Rum, Galliano, Lemon Juice and Pineapple Juice (serve over ice)
Toblerone: Frangelico, Irish cream, Cacao Cream, Kahlua, chocolate syrup, either mix with a dash of warm coffee for a hot toddy or make a blended martini by adding vanilla or coffee ice cream. (blended or hot)

Irish Cream Recipe
Makes 3 cups
1 cup heavy cream organic
1 can 14 oz sweetened condensed milk, organic
1 2/3 cup Irish whiskey
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp cocoa powder
Combine cocoa powder, espresso and vanilla in small bowl into past and let the chocolate bloom for a few minutes.
Combine remaining ingredients in blender and blend at high speed for 30-45 seconds until well blended. Bottle and seal in airtight container in refrigerator, shake before using. Will keep for two months

Kahlua Recipe
1 12-cup pot very strong coffee
2 lbs. light brown sugar
5 tablespoons vanilla
1 bottle 190 proof grain alcohol (ever clear or other neutral spirit)
Make very strong brew of coffee, transfer coffee to a boil in a pot on the stove.
Gradually stir in the brown sugar, remove from stove and cool to room temperature
When cool, add the seed scrapings or vanilla extract and alcohol
Bottle and seal in airtight container, or dark glass jar, shake before using, will improve with age if out of sunlight.