The Kenwood Press
: 12/15/2010

In the red

Tricia O'Brien

Even before the television hit “Mad Men,” the cocktail has been surrounded by glamour, ritual and decadence; but its recent resurgence reflects the use of fresh, high-quality ingredients. No more sickly sweet drinks of yore. This renewed interest, combined with the color red, brings the season's cocktails front and center.

Representing vitality and radiating sensuality, passion, excitement, warmth and things having to do with the heart, red brings a decided luxury to any party. Using pomegranate, Campari, blood orange, prickly pear, or even rose petal syrup, you can create a tasty, freshly inspired cocktail that screams Holiday Season. Just add a favorite red fruit juice or liqueur to a goblet or champagne flute before topping it with crushed ice and sparkling wine. Or for a mixed cocktail, add a few ingredients into a blender or pitcher, pulse and you're off and running.

Try the recipes below and see if they tickle your fancy.

Happy Holidays!

Blood Orange Pomegranate Mimosas

Makes 10 drinks

3 cups chilled blood orange juice
3 cups chilled pomegranate juice
1 bottle sparkling wine, Prosecco
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds

Combine blood orange and pomegranate juices in a pitcher. Divide among the glasses. Top each with Prosecco. Garnish with the pomegranate seeds.

Recipe by Romney Steele, author My Nepenthe

Spritz Italian Style

Makes 1 drink

2 ounces Aperol or 1 ounce Campari
3-4 ounces Prosecco
Sparkling water
Orange Slice

Fill glass generously with ice cubes. Pour Aperol or Campari, add the Prosecco

Add a splash of sparkling water, then a slice of orange. Serve in oversized wine goblets or in Martini glasses for a festive feel.

Recipe by David Leibovitz

Pomegranate Martini

Makes 1 drink

1 shot Absolut Vodka
1 shot sake, nara-ken or shizuoka-ken style
1 cup, to taste, of pomegranate juice

Shake ingredients over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

From World's Best Bars

Prickly Pear Margarita

Makes about 4 drinks

1/2 cup crushed ice
2 freshly squeezed limes
2 oz. undiluted limeade
4 oz. Tequila
3 ounces Triple Sec or Cointreau
2 oz. prickly pear cactus juice
2 TBS granulated sugar or salt (your preference)
Lime wedges for garnish

In a blender, crush the ice. Pulse a few times to make sure it is in small chunks. Add the lime juice, limeade, Tequila and Triple Sec or Cointreau. Check for taste. Add a little sugar if it is too tart. Put the sugar or salt on a plate, wet the rim of the glass (use the lime!) and press the rim into the sugar or salt. Pour the blended mixture into the prepared Martini glasses.

Tricia O'Brien is a Glen Ellen resident, caterer and food blogger. You can follow her at www.cafetrix.blogspot.com.