Michigan-Inspired Holiday Cocktails

Great Lakes Wassail. Photo courtesy of Eat Drink and Be Michigan

If you seek a pleasant holiday cocktail, look no further than Michigan’s own spirits.

That’s the philosophy of Angie Jackson, mixologist and founder of Eat Drink and Be Michigan.

“We believe in educating the public about these artisan-crafted distillates via properly balanced cocktails using seasonally-fresh and locally sourced ingredients through cocktail demonstrations, spirited dinners, Mixology classes and events at restaurants, bars and tasting rooms throughout the State of Michigan,” writes Jackson.

Her recipe for Great Lakes Wassail is the perfect example:

  • 10 small apples
  • 10 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 5 teaspoons Great Lakes Tea and Spice Company’s Vietnamese Saigon Cinnamon
  • 1 bottle St. Julian Founder’s Pride Red Dessert Wine
  • 1 bottle New Holland Artisan Spirits’ Freshwater Michigan Amber Rum
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 cloves
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 3 inch stick cinnamon
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/2 cup water


Core the apples and fill each with a teaspoon of brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of Vietnamese Saigon Cinnamon. Place apples in a baking pan and cover the bottom with 1/8-inch of water. Bake in a 350°F oven for 30 minutes, or over medium heat in a slow cooker for 1 hour or until tender.

Combine the Founder’s Pride Red Wine, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, allspice berries, cinnamon sticks, sugar and water in a large, heavy saucepan (without letting the mixture come to a boil). The Cocktail Cottage used a vintage coffee carafe with a candle heating element during a punch and wassail demonstration. Leave on very low heat.

Strain the wine mixture, add the rum, and pour into a metal punch bowl.

Remove the apples from their liquid and float them on top of the Wassail.

Serve in 8-ounce mugs or punch cups.

For more Michigan-inspired cocktail recipes for the holidays, be sure to visit Eat Drink and Be Michigan.

For a listing of Michigan Distillers, click here.

Interested in taking a class? You might want to check out the following:

  • December 8, 2011: Drinks class at The Mercantile ($50, Kalamazoo)
  • December 12, 2011: Cocktail class at Food Dance ($40, Kalamazoo)
Or, tour New Holland Distillery for $5. Every Saturday at 1:30 PM.


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