Food & Drink

What’s Cooking: Holiday Entertaining Menu, Two Cocktails

As of November, party season is in full swing. To give you a leg up on the hyper-social months to come, The Thread partnered with our Restaurants Division and Wit & Wonder Gifts team to offer ideas and inspiration for holiday entertaining—from drinks and dessert to décor and gifts.

Our chefs and blog editor take the stress out of planning a full-course menu that’s memorable (in a good way) and won’t keep you stuck in the kitchen all night. In the weeks to come, we’re serving up six perfectly paired, delicious recipes in a special What’s Cooking series. First up, two easy-to-make cocktails to get your party started—our take on an of-the-moment favorite and a citrusy number with a spicy, smoky surprise.

Nor'Easter Moscow Mule-inspired bourbon cocktail recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Nor’Easter Cocktail

This is our most popular cocktail at the Nordstrom bars. Our bartenders shake up the classic Moscow Mule with bourbon instead of vodka, giving this refreshing cocktail a warming twist for the colder months ahead. Maple from the syrup and spiciness from the ginger beer (we’re lucky to have Rachel’s handcrafted locally), add to the holiday spirit of our menu to come. As is tradition with its inspiration, the Nor’Easter is served in a copper mug.

Ingredients (per cocktail)
2 ounces Maker’s Mark bourbon
1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce maple syrup
4 1/2 ounces spicy ginger beer
Ice, crushed
Lime to garnish

Nor'Easter Moscow Mule-inspired bourbon cocktail recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

1. Fill a copper mug 2/3 full with ice.

2. In a cocktail shaker, add bourbon, lime juice, maple syrup and a scoop of ice. Cap and shake vigorously twenty times.

3. Strain shaken mixture into copper mug over the ice.

Nor'Easter Moscow Mule-inspired bourbon cocktail recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

4. Top off the mug with ginger beer and gently stir to combine. Squeeze a lime wedge over the drink and drop in as garnish over the ice.

Nor'Easter Moscow Mule-inspired bourbon cocktail recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Nor'Easter Moscow Mule-inspired bourbon cocktail recipe with Rachel's Ginger Beer from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Shop the décor and gifts: 10 Strawberry Street Copper Mug | Henley Brands Barware Set | Rosanna Porcelain Wall Art | Letter LED Lights | Primitives by Kathy Tea Towels | Design Imports Cloth Napkins | All Wit & Wonder Gifts

Smoke & Heat mezcal cocktail recipe with jalapeno syrup and smoked salt from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Smoke & Heat Cocktail

Spice. Citrus. Salt. Smokiness. These are some of my favorite flavors, so it’s no surprise that this is my new favorite cocktail. A hint of unexpected heat from the jalapeño simple syrup gets a bright lift from the fresh orange and lime. The smoky notes from mezcal are enhanced by the smoked sea salt rim, which brings a subtle smell of woodsmoke before each sip. This cocktail has a handcrafted, artisinal flare—as surprisingly complex as it is simple to make.

Jalapeño Simple Syrup (makes 2 cups)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups water
4 jalapeños, sliced 1/4-inch thick, with seeds

Smoke & Heat mezcal cocktail recipe with jalapeno syrup and smoked salt from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

1. In a medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar, water and jalapeños. Whisk well and bring to a boil. Once the sugar has dissolved, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, strain in a mesh sieve and let cool completely.

3. Transfer simple syrup to a container. May be stored in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Smoke & Heat mezcal cocktail recipe with jalapeno syrup and smoked salt from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Ingredients (per cocktail)
1 1/2 ounces mezcal
1 1/2 ounces lime juice, freshly squeezed
1/2 ounce jalapeño simple syrup
1/2 orange juice, freshly squeezed
3/4 ounce Grand Marnier
Ice (preferably extra-large squares)

Garnish:
Orange peel
Smoked Sea Salt

Smoke & Heat mezcal cocktail recipe with jalapeno syrup and smoked salt from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

1. Chill a double old fashion glass with ice and water.

2. To a cocktail shaker, add mezcal, lime juice, jalapeño syrup, orange juice, Grand Marnier and one scoop of ice. Cap and shake vigorously twenty times.

Smoke & Heat mezcal cocktail recipe with jalapeno syrup and smoked salt from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

3. Drain double old fashion glass. Rub half the rim with orange peel and dip it in the smoked sea salt to garnish. Add large ice cube.

Smoke & Heat mezcal cocktail recipe with jalapeno syrup and smoked salt from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

4. Strain cocktail into the prepared glass. Twist thinly sliced orange peel with your fingers and drop into cocktail to garnish.

Smoke & Heat mezcal cocktail recipe with jalapeno syrup and smoked salt from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.

Shop the décor and gifts: Cathy’s Concepts Personalized Glassware | Creative Co-Op Slate Coasters | Henley Brands Barware Set | Rosanna Porcelain Wall Art | Letter LED Lights | Saltworks Smoked Sea Salt | Luigi Bormioli Wine Bottle | All Wit & Wonder Gifts

Download a printable PDF of these two holiday party cocktail recipes, and find more tempting dishes in our What’s Cooking series. Have a favorite recipe from our restaurants or cookbooks that you’d like to see featured? Let us know in the comments!

[Photos & commentary by Jeff Powell]

Nor'Easter Moscow Mule-inspired bourbon cocktail recipe from Nordstrom; photo by Jeff Powell.