College kitchen: Spicing up the holiday season

Friendsgiving cocktails for leftover lovers — and those antsy for December.

A Cranberry Old Fashioned drink on Sunday, Nov. 18 in the Como neighborhood.

Jasmin Kemp

A “Cranberry Old Fashioned” drink on Sunday, Nov. 18 in the Como neighborhood.

Samir Ferdowsi

It’s that time of year again. Lights, ornaments and wreaths start decorating the bars downtown and money signs start decorating their cocktail menus. 

However fun they may be, “specialty cocktails” during the holiday season are ridiculously expensive. While some would argue that you’re paying for the “ambiance,” A&E thinks the makers of such spirits should be put on the naughty list. 

So, we’ve opened up our workshop and mixed up three college-budget cocktails that can keep you cozy on these spirit-filled nights. Whether it’s for a Friendsgiving shindig or a holiday movie marathon, enjoy with care and say “bah humbug” to overpriced nonsense.

Spiced Mayflower:

If only this drink would have been around in 1620. Not your average cocktail, this late fall refreshment is perfect for any sort of feast going down within the next month. 

In true New England fashion, we have a mixture of cranberry juice for sweetness, cinnamon for spice, simple syrup for an extra bit of goodness, a maraschino cherry for aesthetic and, naturally, rye whisky. 

A unique cocktail, the Spiced Mayflower will keep you sailing. 


1 part rye whisky

1 part cranberry juice

.5 parts simple syrup 

1 maraschino cherry

A pinch of cinnamon

How to mix it:

Easy. Load whisky, cranberry juice and simple syrup into your drinking grail. Make sure to mix thoroughly with a teaspoon so that the simple syrup gets dispersed within the concoction. 

Once the whirlpool stops, grab a pinch of cinnamon and sprinkle it on top of the drink. Throw a maraschino cherry in for good measure.

The Cranberry Old-Fashioned:

Ah, how quaint. Like the fixings of Thanksgiving meals themselves, this go-to drink is great anytime of the year — but particularly now, and especially with this twist. 

With its old world rye and new world addition of cranberry juice, the Cranberry Old-Fashioned is an easy drink to show off to relatives you may be seeing sooner than you would wish. 


2 parts rye whisky

.5 parts simple syrup

2 dashes of Angostura bitters

1 orange peel 

1 maraschino cherry


How to mix it:

Throw your liquids into a cocktail shaker with crushed ice (if you don’t have a shaker, no need to call the Scotland Yard and panic — a glass and mixing spoon works just fine) and shake thoroughly. 

Let sit very briefly while you fill a glass with more crushed ice and then pour the mixture into the cup. From here, add your two dashes of bitters. 

Last, slice off an orange peel, rub around the lip of the cup for aromatic purposes and then toss it right into the drink. Add a maraschino cherry if you’re that type of person.

Santa’s Little Helper:

Ho ho ho-ly smokes … is there something in this eggnog? A twist on a favorite, Santa’s Little Helper, can be your addition to any party this time of the year — especially if you’re sick of leftovers and ready to jump ahead to December. With some of the season’s greatest ingredients, this milky elixir contains the perfect amount of spice and, of course, peppermint to keep your holiday cheer strong through the thick of the season.


3 parts eggnog

1 part rye whisky

2 mini candy canes

Cinnamon (optional)

How to mix it:

It doesn’t get any simpler than this. Add your cold eggnog to a glass and then add a shot (or two) of rye whisky. 

After, grab a candy cane, crush it up into pieces and sprinkle it onto your drink. 

Last, grab another one of the peppermint wands and stir up your concoction so that all three parts blend into one delicious drink. Add a sprinkle of cinnamon if you want a little more pizzazz and hang the candy cane on the side for a post-drink sweet.