Photos and Feature by Julie Vitto
As the winter solstice kicks off a season for the senses, we celebrate. In Lancaster County, the traditional glow of lights and the festive presence of greenery on barns, lampposts, and windowsills are a charming and comforting sight to behold each year. And our impressive selection of bars and restaurants will do a fine job at facilitating a responsible charming of comforts.
Throughout the season, close friends will celebrate over a cold pint under warm light in the quiet corners of their favorite local pubs. Co-workers will celebrate over dinner and drinks, and maybe a conga line that seemed like a good idea at the time. Visitors from out of town will be treated by their Lancaster counterparts to a tour of bars and clubs in the area, raising glasses and voices above the kinetic energy of the crowd.
Being in that number of partygoers on what are statistically labeled the busiest drinking nights of the year can be easy on the spirit, if not a little hard on the wallet. So I would argue that the real highlight of the holiday season is being able to celebrate with your favorite folks at home. The benefits are many, and you set the drink list. If you’re savvy to the potluck tradition, you’ll ask your guests to bring the short list of ingredients required for these two seasonal cocktails which you can customize for a party of one or for a crowd. Like a good outfit, these drinks help you transition seamlessly from morning to evening.
Cranberry Clementine Mimosa
For some, brunch is the most important meal of the day. Its devotees have even found a way to make it a commercially viable option at midnight. And a morning mimosa or Bloody Mary is seen as a traditional, not questionable, part of its charm.
This is where our first cocktail comes in. The Cranberry Clementine Mimosa works on so many levels. It celebrates seasonal ingredients that seem to overflow on sale this time of year; it’s elegant, works on a budget, and is a deliciously easy way to start your day of celebrating off right.
For a small crowd, here’s what you’ll need:
1 750ml bottle Prosecco, chilled
2 cups cranberry juice
2 cups clementine juice
Fresh cranberries and clementines for garnish
To make, mix the cranberry and clementine juices in a pitcher with a handful of sliced clementines and fresh cranberries and chill until you’re ready to serve. When it’s go time, pour the mix into glasses and top with Prosecco (or ginger ale for the innocents). If juicing a box of clementines sounds like more work than play, a bottled option is sold in stores. There’s even a sparkling version in the fancy soda section.