Toad Holiday Cocktails

Recently on an all-company virtual meeting (aka All Toad), we shared our favorite holiday sips to get us in the seasonal mood. The ideas were so delicious we decided we had to share them with you too. Bottoms up, friends.

Sarah P’s Mapletini:

  • • 2 shots Irish cream
  • • 1 shot brandy
  • • 1/2 shot cinnamon schnapps
  • • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • • Cinnamon stick for garnish

 

  1. 1. Combine all ingredients, shake ’em up. 
  2. 2. Pour into a chilled martini glass, straining out the ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick. 
  3. 3. Don’t plan any big activities for the next day.

 

Tessa’s Apple Pie Kombucha with a twist:
 
  • • Apple pie kombucha
  • • Whiskey
  • • If you don’t have apple pie kombucha or whiskey, try any kind of kombucha with champagne as a mimosa substitute. We’re not picky here.

 

  1. 1. Combine.
  2. 2. If you don’t have apple pie kombucha or whiskey, try any kind of kombucha with champagne as a mimosa substitute. We’re not picky here.

 

Prabhav’s Holiday Old Fashioned

  • • Bulleit Rye
  • • 2 – 3 dashes of Angostura bitters
  • • Cube of sugar
  • • Orange peel zest for garnish

 

  1. 1. Combine ingredients and garnish with orange peel zest.
  2. 2. Use whiskey stones instead of ice (this is key).  

 

Gordon’s Irish Coffee:

  • • Coffee
  • • Jameson
  • • Bailey’s

 

  1. 1. Keep it simple. Add Jameson and Bailey’s to your coffee, it’s all you need. 

 

Holly’s Mulled Wine

  • • 1 bottle of Merlot of Cabernet Sauvignon (a dry red wine)
  • • 1 orange
  • • 10 cloves
  • • 1 cardamom pod
  • • 2 star annise
  • • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • • 1 1/2 cups apple cider
  • • 2-4 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup
  • • Optional: 1 cup of tawny Port or brandy

 

  1. 1. Combine ingredients, bring to a boil.
  2. 2. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. 
  3. 3. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each, and serve.
  4. 4. Makes the house smell amazing no matter what. 

 

Mollie’s Naughty Chai Latte

  • • Chai tea
  • • Milk or milk substitute
  • • Irish Crème Liquor
  1. 1. Brew some Chai tea.
  2. 2. Heat one part milk (or milk substitute) and one part Irish Crème Liquor until steamy, then froth until it reaches a foamy consistency. 
  3. 3. Pour the boozy froth into your tea like a holiday boss. 

 

Lucinda’s Persimmon Martinis

  • • 4 persimmons
  • • 1 lemon
  • • 1 – 1 1/2 inches peeled ginger
  • • 2 teaspoons agave nectar
  • • Vodka

 

  1. 1. Quarter the persimmons and peel the lemon. Juice persimmons, lemon, and ginger.
  2. 2. For each drink, combine 4 oz of juice mixture, 1 teaspoon agave nectar, 1 1/2 oz of vodka (or more), and shake it up with plenty of ice.
  3. 3. Strain into a chilled martini glass. 

 

Steve’s Maple Bourbon Smash
 
  • • 1 lemon
  • • 2 oz bourbon
  • • 1 oz maple syrup
  • • Fresh sage leaves

 

  1. 1. Slice lemon and put 3 slices in a cocktail shaker. 
  2. 2. Cover with 2 oz bourbon and 1 oz maple syrup, plus a sprig of sage. Muddle.
  3. 3. Add 1 oz fresh lemon juice, fill with ice, and shake until chilled.
  4. 4. Strain into a rocks glass with ice, garnish with lemon and more sage. 

Watch This, Drink That: Holiday Movie Drinking Games

Nothing gets us in the holiday spirit like a festive cocktail and a good holiday flick (and maybe a Cashmoore Blanket). Gather your bar cart, light a fire, and curl up – we’ve got your holiday couch agenda covered with our favorite drinking games for Christmas and holiday movies. As always, drink responsibly and refrain from operating sleighs after consumption.

Watch: Elf – Released over 15 years ago (Yikes, we know – take a drink for that), this cheery comedy is one of our Yuletide faves. Will Ferrell as the tallest, most enthusiastic elf-slash-human, can do no wrong.

Drink: Spiked egg nog, with a dash of maple syrup. Drink every time Buddy the Elf refers to himself in the third person, every time sugar is referenced, and every time you hear a holiday-friendly alternative to a swear or an insult.

New Line Cinema, via Giphy

Watch: The Santa Clause – Despite the fact that things start out a little dark (Let’s not forget this movie begins with Santa’s traumatic fall off the roof), things quickly turn around and The Santa Clause is a true holiday classic.

Drink: Hot cocoa (with peppermint schnapps). Not too hot. Extra chocolate. Shaken, not stirred. Drink every time Tim Allen raises his eyebrows, every time Neil rocks an awful (but also kind of awesome) sweater, and every time someone mentions The North Pole.

Walt Disney Pictures, via Giphy

Watch: The Holiday – Filled with adorable (and OK, totally unrealistic) meet cutes, Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet’s life swap turned love story gets us in the spirit to celebrate “being young and being alive” year after year.

Drink: A champagne toast. Drink every time you catch yourself staring at Jude Law, every time someone cries, and finish your drink when you get on Airbnb to look for holiday homes.

Watch: Home Alone – Kevin McAllister, master of booby traps, makes a left-home-alone-holiday look equal parts amazing and terrifying.

Drink: Pepsi with a shot of whiskey. For the Home Alone drinking game, drink every time Kevin McAllister talks to himself (can’t say we blame him), every time Harry’s (aka Joe Pesci) gold tooth sparkles, and every time someone runs panicked through an airport.

Twentieth Century Fox, via Giphy

Watch: Bridget Jones’s Diary – A hilarious adaptation of the novel, Renée Zellweger as Bridget Jones makes us all feel a little bit better about our own lives during the holidays.

Drink: A bottle of whatever is in the fridge. No time for judgment here. Drink every time there’s an expletive, every time Bridget drops some shade, and every time you see your favorite reindeer jumper.

Miramax, via Giphy

Watch: Die Hard – This 1988 action thriller was voted the greatest Christmas movie by readers of British film magazine Empire in 2015. Enough said.

Drink: Straight Vodka. Drink every time someone says, “This isn’t a Christmas movie,” every time there’s a reference to Christmas (to prove your point), and take a shot in Alan Rickman’s honor whenever you feel like it.

Watch: Love Actually – Nine stories intertwine to bring us a watch-every-year-and-it-never-gets-old holiday favorite. Plus, Hugh Grant dancing.

Drink: Mulled Wine (a favorite, easy recipe here). Drink every time you hear the smash-hit “Christmas is All Around,” every time someone orchestrates a big romantic gesture, and every time Sarah’s (Laura Linney) phone rings. When you’re through with the Love Actually drinking game, you’ll likely be dancing along.

Universal Pictures, via Giphy

Watch: A Very Murray Christmas – Because there’s never a bad moment for some quality time with Mr. Murray, and this eclectic musical comedy includes a lengthy list of guest appearances (George Clooney, Jason Schwartzman, Miley Cyrus, Maya Rudolph, the list goes on…)

Drink: A strong martini. Bonus points if you’ve got a white piano to sit atop. Drink every time a new celeb makes a cameo (don’t plan on driving anywhere after this game).

Watch: How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The first Dr. Seuss book to be adapted into a full-length feature film, this unexpectedly heartwarming holiday favorite reminds us that Christmas “doesn’t come from a store,” and that The Grinch drinking game is always a good idea.

Drink: The Santa Shot. 1 part grenadine syrup, 1 part green creme de menthe, 1 part peppermint schnapps (recipe here). Drink every time The Grinch accidentally rhymes, has a fleeting moment of feeling, and every time Cindy Lou Who visits Mount Crumpit. Finish your drink when The Grinch’s heart grows.

Universal Pictures, via Giphy

Watch This, Drink That: Halloween Edition

If you’re like us, you’ve watched Hocus Pocus every October for the last two decades (and why not? Bette Midler IS Halloween). If you’re ready to change things up (and no, that doesn’t mean watching Nightmare Before Christmas…) these films should scratch the itch. Pair with spirits for an extra spooky time (sorry, we just couldn’t help ourselves).

Focus Features, via Giphy

Watch: Shaun of the Dead – The zombie apocalypse movie to rule them all. It’s funny, jumpy, and features some classic zombie-gore. There’s even a little romance, so you really can have it all.

Drink: Boddington’s Pub Ale. Drink every time someone says “pub,” someone says “Winchester,” or a zombie gets whacked.

Watch: Rocky Horror Picture Show – Fun fact: RHPS has the longest-running theatrical release in history, screening in cinemas across the world every year since 1975. Why the unstoppable run? Most performances turn into cult-like, fan-cast performances. If you haven’t been, check your local cinema listings.

Drink: Irish Coffee. You’ll need the liquid inhibition and caffeine to get you through a midnight viewing/performance.

Paramount Pictures, via Giphy

Watch: Clue – Doesn’t get more Halloween than a who-done-it in a gothic mansion. The 1985 theatrical release included three possible endings, with different theaters receiving one of the three finales. The original “Gotta catch ’em all.”

Drink: Anything from a can…and open it yourself. Invite your friends and give each a different drink in a paper bag. Bonus points for whoever guesses what they got first. A little trick, a little treat.

Watch: Coco – Disney Pixar pulls at the heartstrings in this gorgeous film about Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) traditions. Plus, the song “Remember Me” hits us with the feels every time. We’re not crying, you’re crying.

Drink: Spiked Horchata. How you spike it is your call, but rum, bourbon, and tequila all pack a good punch. Garnish with a little cinnamon.

Columbia Pictures, via Giphy

Watch: Ghostbusters – Because Bill Murray can do no wrong and we miss Harold Ramis. Channel the supernatural with the 1984 box office smash. Apologies in advance for the theme song being stuck in your head for the entirety of November.

Drink: Chartreuse Mezcal Margarita. 1 part mezcal, 1 part Green Chartreuse, 1 part maraschino, 1 part lemon (or lime) juice. BYO Proton Pack.

Watch: Rosemary’s Baby – Paranoia, persecution, and parenthood – what could possibly go wrong? Guy and Rosemary Woodhouse find the dark side of domestic bliss in their NYC apartment building. Best to watch if you’ve already got kids… and they don’t have their father’s eyes…

Drink: Manhattan. Chilled.

Warner Bros., via Giphy

Watch: Beetlejuice – (Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!) It’s said that Tim Burton’s only character direction for Michael Keaton was that he “lived in every time period, but was of no time period.” The result: a lovable ghoul and a quirky underworld that feels more like a fun-house than eternal damnation.

Drink: Pina Colada (and a Shrimp Cocktail). That calypso dance scene just has us feeling some sort of way… DAAAYOOO, me say DAYOO…

Watch this: Silence of the Lambs – BEWARE: Our copywriter was born after her mother went into labor while watching Silence of the Lambs in theaters. Soon-to-be moms, you’ve been warned.

Drink: A Nice Chianti. Maybe a little fava bean snack?

Paramount Pictures, via Giphy

Watch: Ghost – Fact: Patrick Swayze is the ghost of our dreams. Also fact: Ghost kicked off a national ceramics craze after premiering in July 1990. Just yes to all of it.

Drink: A buttery chardonnay (by the bottle) and a box of tissues for each person.

Paramount Pictures, via Giphy

Watch: The Addams Family – They’re creepy and they’re kooky, mysterious and spooky, they’re altogether… the First Family of macabre and fantastic inspiration for next year’s group costume. #AngelicaHouston4Evr

Drink: Sangria. Get a little monster smashed.

Save Water, Drink Tequila

 

Drought conditions are no joke (trust us, we’re headquartered in Southern California). We’ve become experts in reducing water consumption and one of the best ways is by offsetting the difference with tequila. You don’t even have to run the tap to whip up the Cucumber Margarita: a slow sipping, cucumber breeze that elevates your senses and carries you away to warmer places and friendly faces. Just don’t forget to hydrate (with real H2O, not tequila, please).

Sweet Chili Rim Salt

1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp coarse kosher salt
1 Tbsp sugar

Swirl together on a plate until completely mixed. Easy peasy.

Cucumber Margarita

4 oz tequila
2 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh orange juice
1 Tbsp agave
1 cucumber, sliced thick
1 jalapeno, thinly sliced

In a blender, add tequila, lime juice, agave, orange juice, and cucumber – pulse for 1 minute. Strain liquid into a cocktail shaker, add jalapeno slices, muddle. Shake with ice enthusiastically, then strain into serving glasses rimmed with sweet chili salt and filled with ice. Top with slices of cucumber or jalapeno to kick it up a notch. Olé!

Spiked Horchata

If you’re raising a glass to our amigos in the south this Cinco de Mayo, you need two things: a basic understanding of Cinco de Mayo (no, it’s not Mexican Independence Day), and tall glass of Spiked Horchata.

Cinco de Mayo commemorates the unlikely Mexican victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The Mexican army was outnumbered 2 – 1 and pulled out a victory, thus setting off an annual celebration of Mexican pride and resiliency. Though it’s not widely celebrated in Mexico anymore, Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of Mexican heritage in many parts of the Western US. (Fun Fact: Toad HQ is actually located on a street that was named after Padre Junipero Serra, the missionary who established the California Mission System in the 1700s).

So in honor of the cultural melting pot we call home, we’re putting a new twist on an old Mexican favorite with our Spiked Horchata. Horchata is a traditional sweet drink that you’ll find at any good taqueria. It’s a sweet, cinnamony rice and almond milk beverage, but in the spirit of celebración we figured a bit of rum was in order. Mix up a batch and share with your compadres.

Spiked Horchata

  • 4 oz horchata (We bought a carton at the Mexican market, but make your own if you’re feeling festive.)
  • 1 oz white rum
  • ground cinnamon

Combine 4oz horchata with 1oz rum in a tumbler with a pinch of cinnamon. Shake vigorously. Pour over ice and garnish with a stick of cinnamon. ¡Salud!

Easy Holiday Recipe

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Every holiday we roll up our sleeves, preheat the oven and get down to business. With full houses and empty glasses, we spend much deserved time with our loved ones and whip up our favorite things to share. So here’s our recipe for a perfect holiday:

Ingredients 
60 Minutes of volunteering (or more!)
52 Cards
24 Hours without the internet
12 Pack of your favorite local beer
10 year aged bourbon – take a sip, splash a sip
8 Tracks of The Boss (or whatever keeps the kitchen crew grooving)
4 Shotted-shotski (learn how to make one here)
Pair of stretchy pants
1 football
A liberal sprinkling of good company

1. Prep ingredients the night before.
2. Morning of, spend 60 minutes volunteering.
3. Preheat oven to 375, turn on 8 tracks.
4. Mix remaining ingredients, stirring occasionally.
5. Top with good company and share!