Liberate Your Holidays with These Easy Cocktail & Punch Recipes

This article is part of our 2019 Holiday Entertaining Series sponsored by Roots Catering

Tamu Curtis started her company, Liberate Your Palate, to host hands-on cocktail classes for the at-home enthusiast that are designed to “take the mystery out of mixology.” In her chic, social, and interactive classes guests learn about the history of alcohol and proper techniques for crafting balanced cocktails while making 3 different cocktails throughout the evening. Tamu and Liberate Your Palate are also available to book for private in-home classes and corporate team building activities, special occasion birthday parties and celebrations, and more. She’ll be at our upcoming Meet Up at WeWork sampling her holiday punch. To view her upcoming holiday class schedule visit the website here.

We asked Tamu for some easy-ish to make cocktail recipes for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s. Something a little unexpected for your SIGNATURE COCKTAIL at your holiday soiree this year!

Autumn in a Glass

The beauty of this crisp and versatile cocktail is that it will work with almost any spirit as a base. Add more of a seasonal twist by using a spiced apple cider.


  • Makes 1 cocktail
  • 2 oz bourbon, rye whiskey, dark rum or cognac
  • ¾ oz Amaro Montenegro (available at most Mecklenburg County ABC stores)
  • 1 oz honey simple syrup
  • ½ oz apple cider
  • ¼ oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 drops of orange blossom water (Find it on Amazon)


  1. Add all ingredients into a shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake vigorously until chilled
  3. Strain and pour into a rocks or Old Fashioned glass over ice
  4. Garnish with an apple slice

*To make the honey simple syrup, combine 1 part honey to 1 part warm water and stir until combined.

TAMU’s Easy entertaining tip:  This cocktail also serves well as a punch.  Prepare a batch ahead of dinner in a punch bowl, add ice and ladle into guests glasses as they arrive and throughout the evening.  

Photo Credits:

Floral arrangement: City Stems (custom plants + flowers + orchids
uniquely designed for your interior)

Location: Dress My Room Interiors showroom

Photo and recipe: Tamu Curtis, Liberate Your Palate

Sorrel Rum Punch

Sorrel punch is a spiced up drink that is enjoyed in Jamaica and throughout the Caribbean during the holiday season. Sorrel is the Jamaican word for hibiscus, a flower that grows in abundance all over the island. Enjoy this deconstructed version which can also be served in a Collins glass over ice.


To make the version as pictured:

Layer ingredients in the following order into a Nick and Nora glass: ginger syrup, club soda and slowly pour hibiscus infused rum on top.  To float the hibiscus infused rum the bottom ingredient of your drink needs to be heavier than the top layers. The greater the density difference between two layers, the better separation you will get in the layers.

To make a highball version:

  1. Pour 1 ½ oz spiced ginger syrup to your Collins glass first
  2. Add ice to your glass
  3. Pour 2 oz of club soda over ice
  4. Lastly pour hibiscus infused rum 

*Hibiscus Infused Rum: In a glass jar with a lid add ¾ cups of dried hibiscus flowers to every 2 cups of rum.  Warm up the jar by placing it a pot with hot water (not boiling) for 3 minutes.  Remove from pot and let the jar sit on the counter for 24 hours.  Strain and store your hibiscus infused rum in a glass bottle.  Dried Hibiscus flowers can be found at any Compare Foods grocery store and at Savory Spice Shop.

*Spiced Ginger Syrup: Peel and puree ginger in a food processor. Add 2 cups of sugar and 2 ½ cups of water into a pot.  Add pureed ginger (about 1 cup), 4 cinnamon sticks, 1 TBSP all spice berries, 1 TBSP whole cloves, 4 whole star anise to pot and bring to a boil.  Turn down and let simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn off burner and let mixture steep on stove for 4 hours. For a deeper spice flavor place in refrigerator overnight.  Strain into a glass jar with an air tight lid.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  Use in cocktails, coffee and teas.

Photo credits:

Photo and recipe: Tamu Curtis, Liberate Your Palate

The 20-20

Celebrate the New Year in style by toasting with this elevated version of a French 75.


  •  1 oz gin
  • ½ oz St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • ½ oz Thyme Simple Syrup
  • ½ oz Lemon Juice
  • Sparkling Wine or Champagne


  1. Add St. Germain, Thyme Simple Syrup, and Lemon Juice to your mixing tin.
  2. Add ice and shake
  3. Pour ingredients into champagne flute and top with sparkling wine.

* Thyme Simple Syrup: Add 1 cup sugar to 1 cup water along with 7 sprigs of fresh time to a pot and let simmer for 15 minutes.  Turn off burner and let steep for 30 minutes.  Strain into a glass jar with an airtight lid.  Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

* TAMU’s Easy entertaining tip: batch this cocktail ahead of time by making your base 2 to 4 hours before the party starts.  Combine gin, thyme simple syrup, lemon juice and St. Germain in a container and stir well.  Store in the refrigerator.  When your guests arrive simple pour the base into Champagne flutes and top with the sparkling wine.

Need a toast for the new year?  Here’s one of TAMU’s favorites:

Here’s to a bright New Year | And a fond farewell to the old; | Here’s to the things that are yet to come | And to the memories that we’ll hold.”

Photo credits:

Location: Dress My Room Interiors showroom

Photo and recipe: Tamu Curtis, Liberate Your Palate

Sparkle coasters and Cheers sign: West Elm Charlotte

This series is brought to you by Roots Catering, which provides the community with locally-sourced, handcrafted catering for any event. Led by Executive Chef Craig Barbour, who with his experienced crew can specialize any menu for any occasion. From weddings, to social gathering and corporate events to everything in between, the Roots Catering team goes above and beyond to create and execute an unforgettable experience.


scoop team
This article was written by one of the many QC women who contribute to our website. They are out and about and around Charlotte digging up the latest & best scoop 🙂