To all you sweet lovers out there… this one’s for you!

To all you sweet lovers out there… this one’s for you!

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Yesterday’s cocktail, the Old Time Holiday Shrub, focused on sour in a big way by featuring a drinking vinegar as one of its main components. Today I thought it would be best to give equal time to all my non-sour-loving readers by going with something that’s quite a bit sweeter. The Candy Cane Martini seemed like the perfect choice. Made in true martini fashion, it’s a clear and strong cocktail that brings together 3 different spirits and has a simple garnish. The vodka provides the backbone in this drink and while the recipe calls for a vanilla-flavored version, you can certainly go with one that is non-flavored if you want to tone down some of the sweetness. If you choose to follow the recipe exactly then I would go with the Absolut since it’s vanilla flavors are naturally sourced and no additional sugar has been added in. The second ingredient in this cocktail is crème de cacao, which is a liqueur made from the cacao bean that has a subtle chocolate flavor with just a hint of vanilla too. There are two versions, light and dark; the light version is the one used in this drink. The third and final ingredient is peppermint schnapps, a clear liqueur with a flavor a lot like crème de menthe, but with a much less syrupy consistency.

Now, those of you who were recoiling yesterday from the idea of drinking anything vinegar based are probably smiling from ear to ear right now. And I’m equally sure that the sour lovers are about ready to hit the sugar overload button! Don’t panic yet. While there is quite a bit of sweetness in this cocktail, it’s not without its merits. First of all, it’s fun, very Christmasy, and it tastes like a candy cane! Secondly, the peppermint has a stomach settling quality to it that makes this drink work as an after dinner digestivo of sorts. Finally, it’s very pretty and festive to look at with its peppermint candy garnish. It was a huge hit when I served it last Christmas. If I still haven’t convinced you then there are ways to tone down the sugar. You can start by choosing to go with regular vodka instead of vanilla vodka, as I mentioned earlier. Even though the Absolut has no sugar added, the vanilla flavor will enhance the sweetness of the other 2 liqueurs. You can also opt for a berry and mint leaf garnish instead of the peppermint candy, which will add more sugar as it dissolves in the drink. Finally, this is a cocktail that needs to be served very cold. It’s sweetness will be magnified the warmer it gets so go for a chilled martini glass that’s on the smaller side. That’s how ALL martinis should be served. Oversized glasses mean that you will either end up drinking a warm martini or drinking a cold one way too quickly. Neither scenario is good. I’ll be serving this Candy Cane Martini at Gorshin’s Trading Post this Friday night. Stop by and give it a try!

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Candy Cane Martini (originally from Coastal Living, reposted by myrecipes.com)

1¼ oz Absolut vanilla vodka
1¼ oz white Crème de Cacao
¾ oz Peppermint Schnapps
Peppermint Starlight Candy for garnishing (or berry and mint leaf for less sweetness)

Combine all the ingredients except your garnish in a mixing glass and fill 2/3 full with ice. Stir using a long-handled bar spoon until very cold (about 45 seconds). Strain using a julep strainer and pour into a Martini glass. Garnish and enjoy!

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