holiday cocktails

The holiday season is here bringing parties, gifts, and, hopefully, merriment. Feel like taking your drinks from fun to festive? All you need is a little garnish. Adding a little flavor and sparkle to the rim, or a little skewered surprise, will give any gathering some holiday cheer.

Itís all in the rim.
Adding a colorful rim to your holiday cocktail is like putting a beautiful bow on a present: It takes a little time but always makes a great impression. Want to add a little holiday sparkle? After rubbing the rim of your glass with a wedge of citrus fruit, or dipping it in some sticky, clear syrup (like corn or maple syrup), dip it in a bowl of colored sugar or sprinkles that you use for baking holiday cookies.

Feeling more creative? Try a chocolate rim: First, melt some chocolate. (Slowly is the key word here. Put the chocolate in a small, heat-proof bowl. Rest it on the rim of a saucepan with boiling water in it. As the water boils, the steam will rise up and melt the chocolate in the bowl. Stir continuously and remove immediately when itís completely melted.) After the chocolate is warm and liquefied, dip the rims of your glasses in it, giving each of them enough time to pick up a visible coating. Next, place the glasses in the fridge until youíre ready to pour the drinks and serve. This way, the chocolate will be nice and hard as guests take their first sip.

Hot stuff.
If youíre keeping your guests warm with a steamy concoction, there are a few special ways to dress up that holiday cocktail. Throw in a cinnamon stick or a candy cane to add a little extra spice to a cider or hot chocolate. A sprig of mint goes great with coffee flavors, as do a few shaved almonds. Donít have anything fancy on hand? Throw in a few coffee beans or spicy red candies.