To celebrate the release of Disney’s The Nutcracker and the Four Realms this weekend, I wanted to share a fun Sugar Plum Whiskey Smash inspired by the Sugar Plum Fairy herself! It’s a fun Christmas twist on a classic whiskey smash cocktail.
Sugar Plum Cocktail Recipe
The Nutcracker is a family tradition for so many of us, and while I’m still on the fence about whether or not my daughter could sit through the entire ballet version, I’m so excited to take her to see Disney’s new take on the holiday classic, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms.
Penned in 1816, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s original story, “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King,” has inspired imaginations worldwide, resulting in spectacular stage adaptations that have charmed audiences for generations—and now an epic big-screen adventure. “The story has changed a lot throughout the course of history,” says Lasse Hallström, one of the directors of “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” Disney’s upcoming feature-fi lm adaptation. “Alexandre Dumas’ version was less scary, and later became a ballet featuring music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The ballet is unique with each staging, evolving within the minds of those creating it. And we’ve done the same thing. We’re adding to the story.”
(PS – you can download this poster and print it out if you have any Nutcracker fans at home who would like it!)
In this adaption, Sugar Plum Fairy is the beloved regent of the Land of Sweets, the yummiest of the realms with its gingerbread architecture and gumdrop décor. Elegant, ethereal and naturally sweet, Sugar Plum wears a gown that sparkles like crystalized sugar.
“Sugar Plum is the personification of femininity,” says Keira Knightley, who portrays the character. “I like to do a lot of research, so I started with the actual music of the Sugar Plum Fairy, which led to her laugh. I later found her high-pitched, girly voice that has two sides to it: pristine femininity and at the same time, quite assertive.”
Eek, I can’t wait!
But for tonight, I’m celebrating with this simple Sugar Plum Fairy-inspired cocktail. Like Keira Knightly’s description of the character, this drink is feminine yet assertive. It has a natural, well-rounded sweetness that avoids being too saccharine and is complemented (rather than cut) by the addition of whiskey.
I had a lot of fun developing this recipe – and because I’m me, I had to start off with a bit of research into what exactly a sugar plum is!
I had always thought it would be a stewed or candied plum, but I couldn’t have been more wrong! The original sugar plums were more like a Jordan almond (those candy-coated almonds you get at weddings), only the center could be an almond, caraway seeds or cardamom. (I found this article about them quite fascinating.)
So, while the original sugar plums had nothing, well, plum-like about them, I still wanted to have a bit of fun with this. A more authentic “sugar plum” cocktail might be something like a sweetened chai tea cocktail (ooh, I’ll have to add that to my list!)
Today’s version features freshly caramelized plums perched in a cranberry-pomegranate whiskey smash. This is a fun holiday twist on a classic summer cocktail.
The key to keeping this drink smooth-tasting is buying a smooth, good-quality whiskey or bourbon. I can’t drink scotch or tequila (without grimacing) but I find this cocktail smooth and refreshing. (So if you’ve previously found whiskey too harsh, it may have just been the brand or the cocktail.)
Check out our quick recipe video to see just how simple this Sugar Plum Whiskey Smash cocktail is to make, and then don’t forget to scroll down below to grab your free printable recipe:
Sugar Plum Whiskey Smash Ingredients
- 1 plum, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons sugar, as needed
- 3 oz whiskey or bourbon
- 2 oz pomegranate juice
- 1 can cranberry ginger ale
Tip: you can prepare the caramelized plums in advance and refrigerate until ready to use.
Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful
- Frying pan
- Sharp kitchen knife
- Ice maker
- Liquid measure
How to Make a Sugar Plum Cocktail
Place your frying pan over medium heat and get the pan hot.
Meanwhile, slice your plum and sprinkle both sides of each slice with sugar.
Add the plums to the hot pan and allow to caramelize. (Note that I didn’t caramelize the plums fully because I didn’t want them to appear burnt in the photographs. You want them to start browning before you remove from heat.)
Allow the plums to cool slightly as you prepare the cocktail.
Fill your glasses with ice. This drink is best served cold.
Add your whiskey to the glass, followed by the pomegranate juice, then the cranberry ginger ale.
Garnish with the caramelized plums and serve immediately.
Grab your free printable for our sugar plum whiskey smash cocktail:
Is the Nutcracker a family tradition of yours? Let me know if you see the movie and what you think! (And if you try this recipe!)