Cocktailing at Home

While Negronis are my favorite drink any time of the year, the seductive mix of gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth with the oil of a burnt orange peel is not the easiest drink to make at home. Complicated and rich holiday dishes call for simple cocktails—not too many ingredients and not too challenging to put together. Coffee-based drinks not only warm the bones but can be good for your digestion, says Sarah Dooley, manager of Caffe D'arte in Belltown. This time of year, Dooley says, "We are eating a lot of crazy stuff. Coffee is an inviting happy-hour beverage." At Caffe D'arte, Dooley serves the Dolce Fine ($2), made with vanilla syrup, dark espresso, and heavy cream in a sugar-rimmed flute-shaped shot glass. (Adding a bit of ice at the end keeps the drink layered, she reveals.) While Caffe D'arte doesn't have a liquor license, Dooley suggests adding Bailey's or Frangelico at home. Another coffee cocktail Dooley makes that could be served as dessert is the Chocolate Martini, made with a martini glass full of ice, half an ounce of dark chocolate, and Half and Half. The addition of Kahlúa gives it the cocktail kick, and it can be garnished with a couple of coffee beans or a scoop of hazelnut gelato. Kacy Fitch of the Zig Zag Cafe on the Pike Street Hillclimb favors hot buttered rum, made with vanilla ice cream, for the holiday season. "I like spicy things," Fitch says. Two ounces of vanilla ice cream can be heated in the microwave until it's runny. Then it's mixed with cinnamon, nutmeg, and other spices, such as clove, to make a batter (which can be set aside and used for future drinks). Two ounces of Myers's dark rum and a half-ounce of Baileys or any Irish cream is then added. An ounce of boiling hot water stirred in finishes the drink. Frangelico or Brandy Alexanders can be blended in large batches for the holiday season. Six ounces of Frangelico or brandy goes into the blender with three ounces of dark or white crème de cocao and a cup and a half of plain vanilla ice cream; garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

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