If you’re looking to impress in the kitchen this holiday season, our favorite celebrity chefs are here to help. From preparing the perfect Thanksgiving spread by Ina Garten to making a delicious Christmas morning casserole thanks to Trisha Yearwood, there’s no shortage of tips for making the holidays a savory affair.
If your goal is to become the de facto bartender at your upcoming gatherings with family and friends, Alton Brown has a few tricks for you.
The James Beard Award-winning chef is currently promoting his latest cookbook, Good Eats 4, and occasionally hosts a cooking series on YouTube he calls Quarantine Quitchen. If you’re looking to serve up some spirited drinks this season, Brown has the perfect ingredients.
Moscow Mules have been around for ages, but Brown is one of the celebrity chefs credited with bringing it back into fashion in 2016. A post of him sipping on a copper mug went viral this year, according to Pop Sugar, and it was about the same time he included a recipe for homemade ginger ale concentrate in his cookbook, EveryDayCook.
The recipe for the “fiery” concentrate is now available on Brown’s website, and the ingredients couldn’t be simpler. Brown uses crystallized ginger chopped into chunks, a stick of cinnamon, and a little water for the syrup.
You cook the ingredients for a few minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and continue to soak the ingredients together. After straining and cooling the liquid, it becomes the perfect base for various drinks.
“I like ginger ale, but most commercial examples are just too sweet for me,” Brown wrote of the recipe. “By mixing this syrup with soda water, I can tune it just how I like it.” That Iron Cook The host mixes the concentrate with sparkling water for pure ginger ale, or adds some spirits if they’re feeling “particularly naughty.”
While Moscow mules are popular in the warmer months for their freezing temperatures and refreshing lime zipper, there are numerous variations that make them just as appealing in the winter months. Most mules use ginger beer, not ale, which tends to have deeper flavors and more spice notes than ginger ales.
However, The Kitchn does point out that you can use the two interchangeably. Because Brown infuses its ale concentrate with cinnamon, it probably has the right depth to use in any drink that calls for a ginger flavor.
If you’re looking for a mule, Advanced Mixology offers several ideas to get creative, including cranberry and pomegranate variations perfect for the holiday season. Serious Eats offers other drink options that use the ginger flavor but allow you to try something other than a mule, including ones that emphasize apple or rum flavors.
If you’re looking for something non-alcoholic and maybe a little lighter, The Mindful Mocktail’s Ginger Mojito Mocktail offers a healthy but flavorful option. The recipe uses fresh ginger and ginger ale, and since Brown’s version of the ale already uses fresh ginger, the drink was sure to pack a spicy punch.
Ginger-flavored drinks are still very popular, but they’re not for everyone. Brown is here for you if you want to offer other beverages besides those that will make your fresh ginger ale stand out. The roundup is perfect for holiday get-togethers, Brown attests, because they’re low in alcohol but big on flavor. “The key to civilized holiday drinking is sipping low-alcohol beverages that deliver twice the taste but half the bad behavior,” teases Brown’s website for her “Holiday Spirits” episode of Enjoy your meal.
“I wanted to do a show about low-alcohol Christmas cocktails,” Brown said in the trailer for that episode. “Not because I’m soberly curious, but because when my family shows up, I want to drink non-stop all day without falling on my face.” The key to making these cocktails is using ingredients that pack a lot of flavor contained without being too dependent on the alcohol content.
Interestingly, many of these drinks are reminiscent of cocktails from decades ago. “Everything that ended up on the show is actually hundreds of years old,” he added. The show includes recipes for milk punch, a cranberry apple bush and an allspice dram.
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