A Very Southern Christmas: Cocktails and Cookies for Your Yuletide Parties


This holiday season, add a little kick to your entertaining with these delicious Southern recipes. Classic milk punch, the South’s answer to eggnog, pairs beautifully with rich butter rum cookies for a combination that will put everyone in festive spirits.

Classic Milk Punch
1¼ oz brandy or bourbon
½ oz dark rum
2 oz whole milk or half-and-half
¾ tsp vanilla extract
½ oz simple syrup (To prepare, heat equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is entirely dissolved. Cool before using, and store in refrigerator.)
Grated nutmeg, for garnish

Pour all liquids into a cocktail shaker filled three-quarters with ice. Shake vigorously until chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into a tumbler or rocks glass, dust with grated nutmeg, and serve immediately.

Dixie Butter Rum Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1¼ cups granulated sugar, divided
3 large egg yolks
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon almond extract
2 tablespoons plus 1½teaspoons rum
2½ cups unsifted flour
2 tablespoons orange zest, finely grated

The day before:

1. With beaters or a stand mixer, cream butter with ¾ cup sugar, then beat in egg yolks, vanilla extract, almond extract, and rum.
2. Gradually add flour, using hands to knead in the last of it.
3. When dough is smooth and silky, roll into logs about 1½ inches in diameter. Wrap individually in plastic and chill for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
On baking day:
4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice dough into ¼ rounds and roll the slices evenly into balls.
5. Mix the remaining sugar and zest, then roll the dough balls in the mixture until coated. Place cookies on greased, floured baking sheets spaced well apart. Flatten each dough ball with the bottom of a glass that has also been dipped in the sugar/zest mixture.
6. Bake 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve immediately, or store in airtight containers for an additional day for the strongest rum flavor.