Picture it now: the entire family in their holiday best, holding their bellies full of ham or turkey — whatever your Christmas Eve preference — and the mood is winding down for the night. Dishes are piled high in the sink with hopeful promises to touch them before bed, and the couch is looking better than it ever has. The holiday music is mere background noise at this point; perhaps the kids are begging to open just one present tonight, and you want something warm and cozy to sip on. Something with a kick to keep you going for at least another hour before the guests officially leave, but still boozy enough to finally relax after a successful dinner. May we suggest Silver and Gold?This drink, inspired by a colleague’s trip to Budapest in 2017, mixes espresso and steamed milk with cognac, an added spiciness sneaking its way in through the milk and honey. Three distinct layers sit atop each other for a beverage that is not only delicious, but gorgeous to look at. There’s enough of a kick that you get a warm feeling in your mouth, but not enough to take away from the drink — though the overall spice is customizable.
Here is what you will need to make it:
- Shot of espresso
- Milk of choice (whole milk steams best for the layers)
- Orange bitters
- Optional but recommended spices: Ground cayenne pepper, cloves, nutmeg and/or cinnamon
Directions for Honey Cognac
For this part of the recipe, we recommend making the Honey Cognac ahead for easier preparation and to free up some hosting duties. We used Thrillist’s Honey Whiskey recipe as our inspiration. However, we substituted cognac for the whiskey, and also found that the honey to alcohol ratio was a little too heavy on the alcohol side for this recipe. Remember, the Silver and Gold also features espresso and creamy frothed milk, so we don’t want the cognac to overpower those flavors. Where Thrillist’s recipe calls for a ratio of 1.5 cups liquor to 2/3 cup honey and .5 cup water, we suggest starting with 1 cup liquor to start.
- Make the honey syrup by adding the honey and water to a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Let the syrup simmer, stirring frequently, until the ingredients are mixed, for about 5 minutes.
- Once the syrup has cooled, combine it with the cognac in a Mason jar or bottle.
- Give the jar a good shake and it’s done! You can serve immediately or allow it to sit for a day. Store your delicious Honey Cognac in the fridge and you are ready to go for Christmas Eve!
Silver and Gold
Now you’re ready to make your drink! Take your syrup out of the refrigerator and gather the other ingredients. Most importantly: prepare to be amazed by these gorgeous layers!
- Squeeze honey into the bottom of your glass. This is both to taste and for presentation (the gold!) but we found 1 tablespoon is a good place to start.
- Optional, but encouraged: add some spices! Cayenne, cloves, nutmeg and cinnamon are all recommended. Start with a pinch of each of those you like best, then add to taste.
- Next, pour one shot of your Honey Cognac mixture into your glass. Yes, more honey!
- Add 8 drops of orange bitters. We used Fee Brothers West Indian Orange Bitters.
- Next, prepare a shot of espresso and add it to your glass. We used the Gaggia Magenta Prestige for an easy one-touch brewing process. Our coffee of choice was, of course, Whole Latte Love's Crema Wave for a sweet notes of honey and almond. The shot should mix somewhat with the Honey Cognac, but your “gold” at the bottom will be intact.
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- Finally, add frothed milk on the very top for the “silver.” An option here, though another we strongly recommend, is adding some of the same spices in with your milk before you froth it. This will give your guests first sips a nice kick — the cayenne is definitely recommended here. We do not suggest simply shaking spices out on top of your already frothed milk. Why? The spices will cause your beautiful silky froth to disintegrate, and the flavor won’t be consistent through the froth either.
When all is said and done, you will have a gorgeous, layered cocktail that will wow your guests this holiday season! This drink has the perfect amount of sweetness and spice, letting you sip as the night comes to a close.