Festive drinks for the holidays

Spicy Mint Mojito (Mocktail Version)
Yield: 1 drink

Doesn't everyone love mojitos in the summertime? This one has a fabulous fresh-mint aroma, plus a refreshing jalapeño zing.


  • 2 fresh mint sprigs
  • 1 slice fresh jalapeno pepper
  • 1 ½ tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1 lime, halved,
  • 2 ounces white grape juice
  • Bitter lemon soda
  1. In a tall glass, muddle the mint (reserving one sprig for garnish), jalapeno slice, and sugar.

  2. Squeeze both lime halves into the glass, leaving one hull in the mixture.

  3. Add the grape juice, stir, and fill with ice.

  4. Top with the bitter lemon soda, garnish with the reserved mint sprig, and serve.

Spicy Mint Mojito (Cocktail Version)


  • 2 fresh mint sprigs
  • 1 slice fresh jalapeño pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 2 ounces light rum
  • Club soda
  1. In a pint glass, muddle the mint (reserving one sprig for garnish), jalapeño slice, and sugar.

  2. Squeeze both lime halves into the glass, leaving one hull in the mixture.

  3. Add the rum, stir, and fill with ice. Top with club soda, garnish with reserved mint sprig, and serve.

Dragonfire Cocktail (Mocktail Version)
Yield: 1 drink

Don't let the sweet taste fool you-this heat in this drink packs a wallop! Although a few commercial hot pepper-infused vodkas are available on the market, it's very easy to mix up your own.


  • ½ habanero pepper, chopped
  • 1 tsp agave nectar
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 3 ounces limeade
  • 1 lime wheel
  1. Stir agave nectar and lemon juice in the bottom of a mixing glass until nectar dissolves.

  2. Add the habanero pepper and muddle it. Add orange juice, limeade, and ice, then shake vigorously.

  3. Strain into the margarita glass, and serve with a lime wheel on the rim.

Dragonfire Cocktail (Cocktail Version)

To make jalapeño-infused vodka:

  1. Add two whole jalapeño peppers to a one-liter bottle of vodka.

  2. Allow it to steep for as little as two hours or as long as two days. (Taste a spoonful to test the heat level.)

  3. When desired spiciness is achieved, remove the peppers from the bottle.

  4. If jalapeños are unavailable, substitute Serrano or habanera peppers.

To make the drink:
  • 2 ounces jalapeño-infused vodka or tequila (instructions above)
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 1 lime wedge, to garnish (optional)
  1. Mix together the vodka, triple sec, and orange and lime juices in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

  2. Shake, strain into a tall glass, and garnish with the lime wedge.

Note: To make a less-spicy variation on this drink, use unflavored tequila, and substitute 1 ounce of habanero-infused simple syrup in place of the triple sec.

Sparkling Ginger Daisy (Mocktail Version)
Yield: 1 drink

A daisy is a classic juice-based cocktail sweetened with grenadine or a red liqueur, and often topped with sparkling wine. Here, the bright spice of ginger plays against a backdrop of bubbles for a festive holiday sparkler. And if you feel like gilding the lily, try one or both of the optional special touches below.


  • Sparkle sugar, to rim the glass
  • 2 coin-sized rounds of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 2 oz pomegranate juice
  • 2 oz white grape juice
  • 3 oz spicy ginger beer
  • Lemon slice
  1. Moisten the rim of the glass with lemon and rim a champagne flute with sparkle sugar. Set aside.

  2. In the bottom of a mixing glass, muddle the fresh ginger.

  3. Add pomegranate, white grape juice, and ice.

  4. Shake vigorously and strain into champagne flute.

  5. Top with ginger ale.
Sparkling Ginger Daisy (Cocktail Version)


  • 1 ounce Plymouth gin
  • 1 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • Brut champagne
  1. Combine the gin, ginger liqueur, lemon juice, and grenadine in an ice-filled mixing glass.

  2. Stir until well chilled, and strain into a champagne flute.

  3. Top with champagne.

Optional touches:
  • Rim the flute with sparkling sugar before pouring in the drink.
  • Garnish with a cherry at the bottom of the flute.

About Kara Newman:

Kara Newman is a food, wine and spirits writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Gourmet, Saveur, Wine Enthusiast and Yankee Magazine, and many other publications. Her first book, "Spice and Ice," about spicy cocktails, will be published by Chronicle Books in Fall 2009.

Kara was the 2007 recipient of the Stags' Leap Winery Fellowship at the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers at Meadowood, as well as the 2006 recipient of the Terlato Family Scholarship for Wine and Food Writers at the Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Writers.

She is a member of the American Sommelier Association, the Museum of the American Cocktail, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and is a former board member of the Culinary Historians of New York.

Please join Kara on November 11th at 6 p.m. for a Book Signing and Cocktail Hour at Omnivore Books in San Francisco. Cocktail demo and book signing at one of the most exciting stores dedicated to new and vintage books on food.

website: www.karanewman.net

>> Buy this book on Amazon: Spice & Ice

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