Veteran mixologist Leslie Coyle, one of four bartenders at the Lobby Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, knew she had found a good gig when her bosses encouraged her to develop special cocktails for the holidays. Beginning November 21 through January 4, in an homage to Clemente Clarke Moore’s famous poem “The Night Before Christmas, the Lobby Lounge serves up three “Nice” cocktails and three “Naughty” cocktails. Drop by the hotel, or test your bartender’s skills at home: Recipes follow.
Coyle enjoys a good glass of Cabernet or Malbec, but her eyes really light up when she talks spirits. “ I think about each drink as if it’s a work of art,” she says. “What flavors go well together? What might be unexpected? Should the glass be short and green? Tall or red? What garnish would look pretty? And then I want some drinks that are good before dinner, and some that work well as a dessert. So I’m always trying to do a variety.
“Of these six drinks, my favorite—a dessert drink—is the Cookie Crumbles, with Bailey’s and Butterscotch Shnapps. It’s kind of an adult interpretation of childhood comfort food. I also love the Snow Angel, which is made of champagne and Cointreau. It’s light, a little sweet, and refreshing—perfect to ease into the evening with.”
Has Coyle ever had any cocktail catastrophes? “Well,” she says, “I had this great idea for a holiday drink last year. I thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to have a drink with cookies floating on it, a cocktail that recalled the treats kids put on the fireplace for Santa?’ Then I realized that cookies will not float. They get soggy and sink to the bottom of the glass. In theory, it was perfect, but in practice, it didn’t work.”
Live and learn. Cheers to the 2008 holiday season. Good tidings to all. —L.M.
Cookie Crumbles¾ oz. Bailey’s
¾ oz. Goldschlager
¾ oz. Butterscotch Shnapps
Directions: Serve in a rocks glass.
Garnish with a mint leaf.
Silver Bell1 oz. Amaretto
1 oz. Monopolowa Vodka
3 oz. Heavy Cream
Directions: Serve in a white wine glass.
Snow Angel½ oz. Cointreau
4 oz. Domaine Chandon
Directions: Serve in a champagne glass. Garnish with a sugar rim and orange twist.
Texas Vixen1½ oz. Don Julio Añejo
4 oz. Cranberry Juice
Dash of lemonade and 7-Up
Directions: Mix all ingredients into a pilsner glass. Garnish with a slice of orange.
Dark Winter1½ oz. Kahlua
1½ oz. Godiva Dark
Dash of Rumpleminz
Directions: Serve in a martini glass.
Garnish with a chocolate stick.
The Grinch1½ oz. Midori
½ oz. Paula’s Orange Lemonade
Directions: In a rocks glass, mix all the ingredients together. Garnish with a cherry.
From the December 2008 issue.