That's the question asked in our festive beverages feature this month. The answer? Both! We suggest five books that pair well with your drink of choice—for tipplers and teetotalers alike. Click here to read the piece, or read on for two recipes you can use to fuel your holiday celebrations!


Rhett Butler Cocktail

For when you frankly don’t give a damn

Serve this cocktail to a cocksure, suave, independent gentleman in your life—or sip it to shore up your own measure of irreverence. While you’re imbibing, take a moment to recall that Rhett’s famous give-a-damn line is nothing compared to one of his other gems:

“With enough courage, you can do without a reputation.”

  • 1½ ounces Southern Comfort bourbon

  • ¼ ounce curaçao

  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice

  • ½ ounce fresh lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon sugar

  • Shaved ice

Mix and pour into a Champagne glass filled with shaved ice. Serve alongside the Scarlett O’Hara Cocktail:

  • 1½ ounces Southern Comfort bourbon

  • 1 ounce cranberry juice

  • 1 dash fresh lime juice

  • Ice cubes

Shake with ice and strain through a green velvet curtain into a chilled cocktail glass.

From Let's Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition (Chronicle Books). Reprinted with permission.

Apple Cider Syrup

Yield: ½ cup

Nothing says autumn quite like mulled apple cider. Preblended mulling spices are widely available, or you can make your own blend using cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice berries, dried citrus peels, and crystallized ginger.

  • 3 cups apple cider

  • 2 tablespoons mulling spices

  • ? cup maple syrup

In a medium, heavy pot, combine the apple cider and mulling spices, and bring to a boil over high heat. Let boil until reduced to ½ cup, 15 to 20 minutes. (As when reducing any juice into a syrup, make sure to watch closely in the last few minutes of cooking to prevent over-reducing and burning.) Add the maple syrup, and stir to combine, then remove the mixture from the heat. Use a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the mulling spices, and let the syrup cool. Refrigerate the syrup in a covered container for up to 5 days.

To make Apple Cider Soda: Stir 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Syrup, or to taste, into 10 ounces (1¼ cups) seltzer.

From The Artisan Soda Workshop (Ulysses Press). Reprinted with permission.

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