It’s the time of year again for amazing desserts, gifts, family time, snow (fingers crossed), and of course, Holiday-themed movies. Typically I would provide you with a list of classic movies that you should watch this Christmas season, be it with friends, family, or maybe alone late at night while you eat every Christmas cookie in the house.
Don’t get me wrong – I'm about to do just that – however this year we're going to change things up a little bit. This year we raise the bar when it comes to watching movies. But what could possibly be better than classic Christmas movies in fuzzy socks on a Sunday afternoon?
How about Christmas movies with a Holiday-themed cocktail to match?
I know exactly what you're thinking. “Die Hard is NOT a Christmas movie.” Maybe it’s not a traditional Christmas movie…but Die Hard has all the elements you've come to expect from a Christmas movie…with a little action/adventure thrown in (okay, a lot). Christmas music, Christmas decorations, love, friendship, Christmas cookies…and it takes place during Christmas! The debate might rage on but if you make a strong enough case, you can fit this action-packed movie into your holiday season.
Cocktail Pairing: My official Die Hard Christmas cocktail would have to be the “Cinnamon Maple Bourbon Sour.” This drink is hard enough for John McClain to enjoy but smooth enough to drink while sitting in front of a fireplace…or, the burning Nakatomi building.
The cocktail is pretty simple to make:
1 ½ ounces your bourbon of choice ( TX Whiskey works great )
1-ounce fresh lemon juice
2 to 3 teaspoons of maple syrup
Pinch of ground cinnamon or you can rim the glass with it. Stir all ingredients – do not shake. Sit back and enjoy.
Going from Die Hard to this movie is a jump but it still falls in line with our theme. Fred Claus is a laugh-out-loud funny movie about Santa’s Brother, played by Vince Vaughn. Fred is the complete opposite of his older brother Santa. Not only is he not quite as nice…but he's kind of naughty. And he wants nothing to do with his brother or Christmas for that matter.
Without giving away the movie or any of the other actors that have lead roles in it, I'll say that this a light-hearted, clever movie that can be watched with the entire family (maybe not the youngest tykes).
Cocktail Pairing: Now the only drink that can go with this movie has to be the classic Eggnog. Not only does Vince Vaughn mention it in at least four of his movies, but it just seems like such a classic fits the bill when watching a movie about Santa and his extended family.
Here's my recipe to make anywhere between approx 5-8 cups. This drink does a little preparation so make sure you plan ahead.
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
1-pint whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces bourbon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
4 egg whites
Beat the egg yolks until they lighten in color. Slowly add the 1/3 cup sugar and continue to beat until it's completely dissolved. Add the milk, cream, bourbon, and nutmeg and stir really well.
Now you're going to want to place the egg whites in the bowl and beat to soft, using a mixer of course. With the mixer still running, gradually add the 1 tablespoon of sugar and beat until you get stiff peaks.
Finally, whisk the egg whites into the mixture. At this point, you're going to put the eggnog in the fridge and let it chill or cool for at least an hour, if not longer. Be sure that you stir it before you serve and start your movie!
A Very Murray Christmas
Picture Frank Sinatra meets Johnny Carson and a hint of Vegas and you get “A Very Murray Christmas.” Netflix released this Christmas special in 2015 and maybe it was the mood I was in or just the fact that I love Bill Murray, but I really had fun time watching it. This music and comedy-filled show includes guests ranging from George Clooney to Miley Cyrus and many other noteworthy entertainers.
Cocktail Pairing: If you're referencing classic entertainers with a lengthy list of Christmas music and movies between them, naturally it calls for a classic holiday beverage. The White Christmas Martini.
2 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounce white chocolate liqueur
1 ounce white creme de cacao
1 ounce half-and-half
Honey and sugar
This is actually a simple drink to prepare, although it might seem complicated. Pour the honey into a small dish and put the sugar in a separate dish. Coat the rim of the glass in the honey; then dip the rim in the sugar to coat evenly. Set the glass aside and admire your handiwork.
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add the vodka, white chocolate liqueur, creme de cacao, and half-and-half. Shake vigorously and strain into the prepared martini glass. Not only does it taste good but it’s sophisticated and Bill would approve.
I highly recommend this snack pairing as well – “Holiday Truffles” from William Sonoma. trust me.
Not all holiday movies are feel-good 100% of the time so prepare yourself for a romantic and sometimes downright sad two hours. The cast is fantastic, and will take you on a holiday-filled romantic journey with ups, downs and…like any good holiday flick, a very happy ending. The movie has emotion, humor, wit, and romance. You won't be sorry. Tip: It's a great date night movie.
Cocktail Pairing: For this particular movie I would say keep it simple with a nice bottle of wine. Something warm, fruity, with maybe a little spice to it. Mas de Boislauzon 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape is great, however, any nice Shiraz will do as well.
From Batman to Beetle Juice all the way back to Mr. Mom, you can trust Michael Keaton to bring something family-friendly yet solid. So when this particular movie came out and I heard he was going to play a snowman, I couldn't quite picture it. After a few years of deliberately not watching this movie, I decided to give it a try.
Maybe I'm getting older or maybe I just appreciate the movie for what it is, but this year, I'm adding it to the list. It has all the makings of a great Christmas movie and since the likelihood of Frisco getting a white Christmas is pretty slim, this is a good one to watch.
It's a great family movie but be advised that it touches on some very real-life drama that could cause tears or questions from little ones. Review it, first.
Cocktail Pairing: Watching a movie with a lot of snow, you're going to want to stay warm. Since it's a family movie, let your inner child come out and have some fun. The Naughty Elf is not your basic hot chocolate but certainly has all the best features and then some. All you need is the following:
1 cup skim milk
1 packet hot cocoa mix
3 oz. vodka
2 oz. chocolate liqueur (such as Godiva)
1 cup ice
Now the fun part. In a small saucepan over low heat, heat the milk. Stir in the hot cocoa until you have zero lumps. Then pour it into a cocktail shaker.
Place marshmallows on a baking sheet and broil until browned, 1 to 2 minutes (keep an eye on them cause they'll make a mess in no time at all!)
At this point add vodka, chocolate liqueur, and ice to a shaker and shake until combined. Pour into glasses and top each with a toasted marshmallow. This is a recipe for two servings – you decide if you want to share or not!
No matter what movies you watch or what beverages you choose to pair with them this holiday season, be sure to enjoy your family and your friends and the season – and drink responsibly.
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