Happy holidays, now drink up 

When the nog runs out peppermint schnapps and crème de menthe call

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The holiday season is here and the only justification required for pouring a drink is simply that it's December.

Every day for the rest of the month is a good day for a nip of gin, rum, vodka, wine or anything else with a percentage sign on the label. Good friends gather in December and it is just natural to toast the season with a holiday beverage.

The old favourites are exactly that – old. Holiday standards like rum and eggnog, hot buttered rum and mulled wine have endured the test of time.

But, people, it is almost 2013 and there's got to be some more creative new concoctions out there to entertain the taste buds.

To help raise the bar this holiday season here's a few drinks to try if the nog is off and all the butter went into the shortbread cookies.

Lorien Schramm, director of product development at Pemberton Distillery, says her favourite holiday cocktail is the SpudNog Martini.

She says this little number is made with an ounce and a half of Schramm Vanilla Vodka, half an ounce of Pemberton Hazelnut Liqueur and two ounces of organic eggnog. She puts the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker with crushed ice then shakes it up for 20 seconds and strains the mixture into a chilled martini glass. The finishing touch, says Schramm, is a dusting of fresh grated nutmeg.

For those who just can't take another drop of nog, here are a few other ideas.

The Snowball is a blended, creamy cocktail with tequila and cinnamon. If you just can't have enough poinsettia in your life there's the drink named after the plant with its champagne, Cointreau and cranberry juice.

For the sweet-toothed, a Candy Cane is the perfect drink solution. Candy Canes are made with peppermint schnapps, berry vodka and crème de cacao. Are you kidding? This is dessert in a martini glass.

Speaking of Christmas cooking, there's the Christmas Cookie made with an ounce of peppermint schnapps, an ounce of Kahlua and an ounce of Bailey's Irish Cream.

The Santa Shot celebrates the anticipated arrival of the big guy himself with grenadine, green crème de menthe and peppermint schnapps.

For those who like it hot, how about a Red Hot Santa Tini? This Christmas alt favourite features two ounces chili-infused vodka, two ounces of Godiva chocolate liqueur, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, sweetened whipping cream and a single small Thai chili pepper.

If all the holiday cheer is just too much the answer is found at the bottom of a Grinch. This green cocktail features two ounces of Midori, a half-ounce of lemon juice and a teaspoon of simple syrup. Your heart will grow two sizes with this holiday spirit.

One more for the road. A Chocolate Peppermint Stick has an ounce and a half of white crème de cacao, an ounce of cream and an ounce of peppermint schnapps.

For recipes and more drink ideas visit www.whattodrink.com/christmas.

If you drink, please make sure to be chauffeured when the party is over. They don't serve peppermint schnapps in jail.

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