Better Life

Rotgut Ingenuity: Holiday Salvation Part 3

The drinking man’s guide to circumspection, consolation and celebration with your significant other…

Come January you may find yourself saying to your partner, “How did we ever make it through the holidays without each other?” As I prepare for another season with my girlfriend, we realize there are three scenarios we’ll likely face again this year: circumspection, consolation and celebration. For those likeminded readers, we can now embrace these moments with gusto, thanks to these three cocktails…


Whiskey and Water

The Scenario: Circumspection
Degree of Difficulty: A Partridge in a Pear Tree

The Game Plan conversation. Whether this is your first holiday season as a couple, or you’re already old pros, this pre-game strategy session is an absolute must. How is Uncle Donkey going to try to get under Aunt Elephant’s skin? How are we going to respond when Great Aunt Sister (that’s right, your ninety-year-old nun-in-law) broaches the topic of legal weed? And don’t forget to practice the surprised face for that embarrassing gift— underwear from grandma or that Kama Sutra book from your perverted Uncle Steve.

The perfect drink of circumspection is a slow sipper, something you can nurse while dreaming up the most frightful scenarios you might face over the course of the next few days.


2-parts high-proof whiskey
Ice and/or water to taste

Try a high proof whiskey with a side of ice, water, or both. The higher the proof, the less the water in the bottle, the hotter the heat and the slower you’ll want to drink it. Try diluting with part of an ice cube first, adding more H2O as needed.


Cool Off in the Car

The Scenario: Consolation
Degree of Difficulty: Seven Swans a Swimming

After that tragic moment when your spouse accidentally offends your mother by suggesting a slaved-over-for-a-week dish “could use a little salt,” and is then chased out the front door with a meat cleaver, only to slip-and-fall on the driveway’s fresh patch of ice.


1-part crème de menthe
1-part peppermint schnapps
2-parts vodka
2 candy canes
1 dark chocolate bar

First, obtain the meat cleaver from your mother. Then, dust your spouse off. Finally, retreat with said spouse to the front seats of the car where you’ll have these ingredients flasked and hiding in your glove box.

Mint is thought to have a cooling effect on the body’s operating temperature, chocolate will provide a rush of dopamine to mellow even the harshest vibes and the crunch of a candy cane releases pent-up aggressions.

As for your mother: you’re on your own, pal.


The Mazel Tov Cocktail

The Scenario: Celebration
Degree of Difficulty: Two Turtle Doves

Pro Tip: host your own New Year’s Eve party. Trust me. It’s so much more fun than going out. A week after that, with the year in the rearview, do this.


4-parts crème de cassis
1-part champagne
1-slice fresh plum
Handful of Mashuga Nuts

Rim a pair of champagne flutes with a handful of ground or chopped Mashuga Nuts. Fill the glasses with crème de cassis and top it off with one of the leftover bottles of New Year’s champagne. Drop a slice of plum in the glass.

Grab your partner for a one-armed slow dance to the tune of The Zombies’ “This Will Be Our Year.” Clink glasses with a toast of “Mazel Tov!” and “Happy New Year!”