With the holiday season upon us, Diageo Canada invited Fashion Ecstasy to a private, one-on-one cocktail session with Simon Hooper, Diageo Canada Reserve Brand Ambassador.

Diageo is a global leader in the alcoholic beverage industry with an excellent collection of brands across spirits, wine and beer categories. Diageo‘s brands include Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Tanqueray, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff, Captain Morgan, Don Julio, Baileys, and Guinness.

Simon Hooper
Simon Hooper

Professional bartender and mixologist from Sydney Australia, Simon Hooper, is co-owner of Rush Lane & Co., a Queen West bar and lounge built by bartenders in the pursuit of cocktail excellence. Hooper lead us through a special cocktail session at the Diageo office bar in Toronto using recipes featuring Diageo brands to help inspire some great seasonal cocktail ideas.

For many of us, making a cocktail at home is intimidating, but as Hooper showed us even something that sounds impressive like homemade eggnog is quite simple as long as you have the right ingredients on hand. With these three tips, hosting a party will be easier than ever:

1. When you’re throwing a party, you never want to be stuck in the kitchen — same goes for the bar. Hooper recommends a great punch, a Caesar station, or as the weather outside continues to get colder, a crock-pot mulled wine. Not only does this make for a talking piece, a little bit of advanced preparation will also save you a huge headache.

2. Create an experience. Ever find that your favourite cocktail doesn’t taste the same as it does when you’re out? “Through lighting, sound, music … you want your guests to feel like it’s 10 pm all night long”.

3. A well-known adage among chefs is, “you eat with your eyes first”, and this goes for cocktails as well, even if it is something as simple as beautiful glassware or garnishes. Hooper served his homemade eggnog in a chilled coupe glass and garnished it with a dusting of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.
The holiday season is filled with parties, and these simple cocktails are sure to impress your guests:

BAILEYS Eggnog

Baileys Eggnog
Baileys Eggnog

Speaking of impressing your guests, no holiday drink list would be complete without eggnog and what better than whipping up a glass of fresh ‘nog when entertaining friends and family.

• 1 oz BAILEYS Original Irish Cream Liquor
• 0.25 oz Irish Whiskey
• 1 whole egg
• 3 oz 2% cold milk
• cinnamon stick (garnish)
• nutmeg (pinch)

1. Add all ingredients into the shaker with ice and shake.
2. Strain ingredients into glass and sprinkle with nutmeg to taste.
3. Garnish with the cinnamon stick.

KETEL ONE Dutch Mule

Ketel One Dutch Mule cocktail
Ketel One Dutch Mule

This refreshing cocktail is something you could drink all night. Responsibly of course.

• 1.5 oz KETEL ONE
• 3 oz ginger beer
• 0.25 oz lime juice
• 1 tsp sugar syrup
• 1 lime slice
•  mint sprig for garnish

1. Add KETEL ONE, sugar syrup and lime juice into a glass with ice.
2. Top with ginger beer and stir thoroughly.
3. Garnish with mint and lime.

CAPTAIN MORGAN Spiced Apple Cider

Captain Morgan Spiced Apple Cider
Captain Morgan Spiced Apple Cider

The perfect holiday cocktail when the weather outside is frightful and you need some warming up. Hooper served this cocktail in a beautiful copper mug. There’s no messing this one up.

• 1.5 oz Captain Morgan Original Spiced
• 4 oz Hot apple cider
• 1 cinnamon stick

1. Add Captain Morgan Spiced and hot apple cider into a mug.
2. Garnish with the cinnamon stick.

CIROC French 76

CIROC French 76 cocktail
CIROC French 76

A twist on an old favourite. The perfect signature holiday drink.

• 1 oz CIROC Ultra Premium
• 0.5 oz sparkling wine
• 0.5 oz simple syrup
• 0.5 oz lemon juice
• 1 blackberry

1. Shake CIROC Ultra Premium, simple syrup and lemon juice with ice and strain into a chilled flute glass.
2. Top with sparkling wine
3. Garnish with a blackberry.

GRAND MARNIER Grand Cider

Grand Marnier Grand Cider
Grand Marnier Grand Cider

Cider is remarkably versatile in mixing fall and winter drinks and pairs well with Grand Marnier in this cocktail.

• 1.5 oz Grand Marnier
• sparkling apple cider
• 1 apple slice and herbs or 1 lemon wheel

1. Add Grand Marnier and sparkling cider in a chilled glass.
2. Garnish with an apple slice or a lemon wheel and your favourite fresh herbs to add a touch of seasonal elegance.

SMIRNOFF Caesar

Smirnoff Caesar cocktail
Smirnoff Caesar

If you’ve never heard of a Caesar (the cocktail, not the salad) it likely means that you are not a Canadian. In fact, most would agree that the Caesar and beer go hand in hand as Canada’s national drink. So it comes as a bit of a surprise that Simon Hooper, an Australian (a clamato-less country), is known for his Caesars. In fact, he won the National Title with his creation, the “Spirit of Canada Caesar”. It’s $100 and you have to order it a day in advance as it’s garnished with a whole Peking Duck!

No ducks were harmed in the making of this classic Caesar.

• 1 oz Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
• 3 oz Clamato juice
• 1 dash Worcestershire sauce
• 2 dashes red hot sauce
• 0.5 oz lemon juice
• 1 pinch of pepper
• 1 pinch of salt
• 1 celery stalk (cut)

1. Mix Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka, Clamato juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a pinch of pepper.
2. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
3. Garnish with a celery stalk.

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