12 Days of a Wagon Christmakwanzakah

By now, you’ve seen a million emails and TV commercials touting the 12 Days of Christmas in order to get you to open your wallet. Per Wikipedia, “the lyrics of The Twelve Days of Christmas may have no meaning at all. Its meaning, if it has any, has yet to be satisfactorily explained.” Reminiscing about our crazy random drinking memories is a favorite pastime of us Wagoneers (strike that – and please slap me if I ever use that word again), and inspired Jim and me to put a Wagon spin on this holiday tradition.

Now drinking good shit is the common belief system that unites us here at the Wagon, so here’s our disclaimer that these articles are  recounting of times with our crazy aunts, uncles, grandmas and friends – all memories, all religions welcome (and you really need a shot of Whiskey and to read another blog if you prefer to live on the politically correct side of the line).

So check back here each day for the next twelve – like you were saddling up at the bar next to us, and we’ll share a few of our favorite holiday drinking memories with you. And be sure to share us your favorites in the comments!

No. 1 – WWJD? A Mezcal Margarita

The running joke is “Don’t drink, don’t dance, don’t chew, and don’t go with girls who do.”

Now I don’t have many childhood memories involving drinking as I was raised in the Southern Baptist church. For those of you needing context, the running joke is “Don’t drink, don’t dance, don’t chew, and don’t go with girls who do.”  On top of that, my dad served as a deacon, a position in which you must abstain from alcohol.

So you can imagine my surprise when I came home from college one year from Christmas, to find COSTCO-sized bottles of Patron Silver and Grand Marnier in the cabinet. Dual consternation – one, they make bottles this big, and two, am I in the right house? Turns out my dad has “retired” from his position as a deacon and a new dimension to our father-daughter relationship was born – time spent seeking out interesting spirits, wines and beers to expand our palates.

We don’t give much thought to seasonal-appropriateness of our libations, as our palates skew towards big flavors, e.g. Great Divide Espresso Oak Aged Yeti, peppery Syrahs, and spicy-smoky cocktails.  My dad’s all-time favorite cocktail is the margarita. And I’m happy to report we’ve both come to learn how much Patron sucks (sombering moment when we realized $25 Hornitos was 10x better than $50 Patron), that there exists an amazing smoky cousin to tequila – Mezcal, and that, for the love of god, there is no place for sweet and sour mix in a margarita (or any drink for that matter).

Every time I make a cocktail, I’m thankful for those amazing ladies and gents behind the bar who do it for a profession. But there is a lot of fun and memories to be had experimenting  with your family or friends. Below is a margarita recipe I came across via Google that my dad and I have had fun trying and tweaking. The Mezcal adds the amazing smokiness and the St.-Germain replaces the traditional orange liqueur, adding notes of tropical fruits, citrus, pear and honey.

Sombra Mezcal’s Margarita 2.0


  • 2 oz Mezcal (I prefer the Del Maguey brand and am currently using their Santo Domingo Albarradas™)
  • ½ oz St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
  • ½ oz Grapefruit Juice
  • ½ oz Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Agave Nectar
  • 3 slices of Cucumber


Add the cucumber slices, citrus and agave nectar to a mixing glass and muddle. Add spirits, then ice, into a shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Recommended Variation: We like a little spice to complement the smokiness of the Mezcal. You can either muddle some jalapeno (seeds included) with the lime juice and strain before adding, or infuse the agave with jalapeno (cut a jalapeno in half, leave the seeds in, and boil for 20 minutes with the agave nectar). Muddling allows for a bit more control since the spiciness of the jalapeno varies, as does the palate of the soon-to-be-delighted consumer of said drink.

[See all of The 12 Days of a Wagon Christmakwanakah]

About Jennifer Fowler

She drinks nothing but the finest of craft spirits. So think twice before you slide that cocktail glass filled with vanilla vodka in front of her. This lady likes her cocktails brown, bitter, and stirred.

  • http://www.beerincolorado.blogspot.com Chris

    I love the jalapeno touch. Spicy drinks need to start catching on more.