portrait of a cocktail // the alpine buck

Christmas is this week — holy moly you guys! It seems like just yesterday I was planning my menu for Thanksgiving and now I am tying bows on presents, stringing lights, and hearing Christmas music everywhere I go! Perhaps it’s because I just got back from my honeymoon in a tropical local where my mind was literally far from thinking about picking out the perfect tree, but the holidays snuck up on me this year!

Portrait of a Cocktail // Alpine Buck // Jojotastic.com

The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, the halls are decked… but have you thought about what drink will you be serving on Christmas to keep everything merry and bright? We shared the Smoked Rosemary Olive Oil Martini earlier this week, but they are a one-and-done kind of drink (no sloppy Santas, please!). How about a cocktail that takes you all the way from presents to Christmas dinner to rocking around the Christmas tree? May I suggest one of these Alpine Bucks! They are a refreshing sipper that will keep you cool even in the warmest and ugliest of sweaters.

Portrait of a Cocktail // Alpine Buck // Jojotastic.comPortrait of a Cocktail // Alpine Buck // Jojotastic.com

A Buck is a term for drinks made with ginger beer, citrus, and liquor. You’re probably familiar with the vodka version, the Moscow Mule, but Bucks can be made with any number of base spirits. Here, I used gin to pair with the pine syrup. Yes, pine syrup!

Portrait of a Cocktail // Alpine Buck // Jojotastic.com

Pine trees are very much edible and actually have been used for medicinal purposes for hundreds of years. Creating a syrup with pine needles creates a lovely scented ingredient for sodas, desserts, and cocktails. Because gin derives from the evergreen family and it’s juniper berries, I felt it would be perfect to pair with the pine flavor here.

Can you get any more in the holiday spirit than drinking your Christmas tree?!

Portrait of a Cocktail // Alpine Buck // Jojotastic.comAlpine Buck

  • 2 oz gin
  • 5 oz ginger beer
  • 1/2 oz Alpine Syrup (recipe below)
  • 1/2 oz lime

Add the gin syrup and lime to a shaker with ice and shake for 10 seized, just to incorporate the syrup. Pour into a copper mug with ice and top with the ginger beer. Garnish with  pine needle sprig.

You can use pine trees, spruces, or for trees for this. Not all pines are created a like and a few like Ponderosa Pine and Yew are poisonous so be sure to avoid these when trimming trees for your syrup.

Portrait of a Cocktail // Alpine Buck // Jojotastic.comRich Pine Syrup

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 cups pine needles, Douglas fir, or spruce needles

Forage (i.e. head in your back yard or to your nearest park)a handful of pine branches. Make sure that you take the pine branches from an area not treated with pesticides. Carefully removed needles from stems. Add sugar and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Add in needles and reduce to low for 5 mins. Let steep and cool for a few hours. Strain into a jar.

If you are weary of making your own, they sell pine syrup here that is fantastic!

Photography, styling, and recipe via Craft + Cocktails.