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High West

Holiday Cocktails!

Of course we love all the holiday cheer but the second best part of these couple months are all the cocktails that pair so well with cold weather and delicious comfort foods!  

When we are doing events, most people don’t have a strong preference on the specific cocktails to serve so we will serve what we are specialing. This month, we’re working with fresh cranberries.  

When I think of holiday flavors, the first to come to mind is cranberry. Do you agree? Cranberry sauce, fresh cranberries, cranberry glaze, cranberry decorations, cranberry garnish.  

We take three major things into consideration when we are creating cocktail recipes. First and foremost, taste. It must be delicious, which comes from being well balanced with fresh components. Second, simplicity. When we have a fundraiser of 200+ guests, we must be able to keep cocktail turnaround under about 15 seconds or else we’ll have a line out the door for the entire evening. Simplicity doesn’t mean basic. With preparation ahead of time of syrups and ingredients, you can create craft cocktails quickly and efficiently. The syrups usually last between 3-14 days which is fun to enjoy with friends and family after the event is over. 

The first cocktail we’re playing with is a Cranberry Thyme G&T.  


Cranberry Thyme Gin and Tonic


1 1/2 oz Gin (I usually use Ogden’s Own Madam Pattirini)
1 oz cranberry thyme syrup
Top with  Fever-Tree Tonic

Garnish with fresh cranberries or thyme


Cranberry thyme syrup

  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Splash of orange juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Handful of fresh English Thyme leaves

Combine in saucepan. Bring to boil, lower temperature and cook for 10-15 minutes. Remember to flash blend or muddle cranberries and to muddle thyme a little to release aromas.


Such an easy recipe and the syrup is not too sweet but still adds a nice cranberry pop to this G&T. I’ve tried it with other clear liquors and have enjoyed those as well. Let me know your thoughts!  

The first of many...

Welcome to my cocktail blog where I will be posting my own pictures of cocktails I'm specialing for our events. I'm hoping you as the reader will find some amount of joy and entertainment. Cheers! 

Whiskey Smash. Everyone has their own variation of a Whiskey Smash. Basically the components of what makes something a Whiskey Smash is fresh fruit and herbs, crushed ice and bourbon. The star of the drink was the mint from our backyard garden and Bundaberg ginger beer. Bundaberg is the best ginger beer if you ask me and very much one of the pioneers in mainstreaming ginger beer. It blends well in cocktails and my life partner, Brad, likes to drink it plain. Recipe below.

Whiskey Smash

Whiskey Smash
Place in arome glass:
10 freshly picked mint leaves
half of a lemon, cut up
1/2 oz simple syrup
Muddle well (but don't go crazy. You don't want the weird flavors from over muddling the mint)
add ice
2 oz High West bourbon
1/2 oz Bundaberg ginger beer
dash aromatic bitters
Garnish with a sprig of mint