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Everyone loves a holiday cocktail party, but in this economy, a full bar may not fit the budget. That's not a problem, says Certified Specialist of Spirits Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan. Throw a one-bottle party with diverse cocktails based on that one spirit, and that becomes part of the fun. Here are some short cocktail courses for the holidays from this acclaimed mixology expert.

Simonetti-Bryan is course lecturer for The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions, a DVD and downloadable guide to cocktails video course. She says, "If you’ve only got one bottle, embrace it. Theme your party to that spirit. There are a wide variety of creations you can make with just one spirit ... it’s knowing what the key ones are and how to make them well."

Vodka Cocktails

Vodka is so versatile, it goes with almost anything. Classic vodka cocktails include the Bloody Mary (which can also be made with gin) and the Moscow Mule (named for its gingery kick). Vodka goes well with a variety of mixers, and it can be infused or flavored at home. Just add ingredients such as citrus, apple, spices, ginger, or nuts, and let the bottle sit a day or more as the flavors infuse.

Vodka Bloody Mary recipe:

2 oz. vodka, 4 oz. tomato juice, ½ oz. lemon juice or juice of half a lemon, 4 dashes Tabasco(R), 2 dashes Worcestershire, 2 pinches of salt, and 3 pinches of pepper. Celery stalks to garnish.

Says Simonetti-Bryan: "People might know the ingredients for this cocktail but vary the amounts, which can change the flavor significantly. This recipe allows the full flavor of this cocktail to come out. It's best served in a tall glass."

Rum Cocktails

Rum is another versatile spirit, central to such classic cocktails as the Mojito, Daiquiri, Pina Colada, and Caipirinha. Here's a classic rum cocktail with the Simonetti-Bryan touch.

Mojito recipe:

2 oz. white rum, 1 oz. simple syrup (mix and heat 1 part water to 1 part sugar), ¾ oz. fresh lime juice, and 2 oz. club soda. Two sprigs of fresh mint to garnish.

A good selection of garnishes, mixers, fruit juice, and fresh fruit can make a cocktail sparkle. If you use the right ice (cubed, shaved, crushed, or cracked) and some well-matched glassware, no one will even think of what your party cost.

The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions is an eight-lecture course covering classic spirits, cordials and liqueurs, recipes, and a mixology toolkit. For further information on mixology courses and how to purchase a DVD or a digital video download, visit

For further information on The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails or The Great Courses please contact Kirsty Shaw or Gina Tunley at Punch Communications: +44 (0) 1858 411 600 or email

• The Everyday Guide to Spirits and Cocktails: Tastes and Traditions is available from for $27.95 (digital video download) and $29.95 (DVD). Shipping and handling costs apply.

• Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan is a definitive authority on spirits in the United States and among a small number of people to have received the highest credentials in the spirits and wine industry. She has a Professional Certificate in Spirits from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and is a Certified Specialist of Spirits from the Society of Wine Educators. Ms. Simonetti-Bryan is also one of only a few hundred people in the world to hold the Master of Wine title (M.W.) from The Institute of Masters of Wine in London, England—the highest and most difficult title to achieve in the industry. Winner of the Wiesbaden Tasting Trophy from the Institute of Masters of Wine, Ms. Simonetti-Bryan has trained thousands of professionals in the spirits and wine industry, has judged international spirits and wine competitions, and has hosted seminars with Food Network stars including Rachael Ray and Bobby Flay. She is a frequent guest on television programs, including Fox Business and Bloomberg TV, and has been featured in Fortune, Wine & Spirits Magazine, and Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

• The Great Courses is a highly popular series of university-level lectures crafted and delivered by top professors and experts. Designed to meet the demand for lifelong learning and to change the way people think about the world, The Great Courses currently offers more than 350 courses in a range of video and audio formats including DVD, CD, and digital downloads. Courses span more than 5,000 hours of content across ten subject categories: science and mathematics, history, fine arts and music, religion and theology, philosophy and intellectual history, literature and English language, business and economics, better living, professional, and high school. Since 1990, over 10 million courses have been sold around the world.

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