5 delicious side dishes and cocktails perfect for sharing this holiday

This year, we're celebrating the unsung heroes of the holidays — side dishes — and pairing them with festive Flor de Caña. 

Side dishes and cocktails | Flor de Cana Old Fashioned

Around this time of year, the main event — be it turkey, honey-glazed duck or beef wellington — tends to get all the glory. However, there's a special place in our hearts for all of the tasty side dishes that make their way onto our holiday tables. And it just wouldn't be a party without some top-notch pairing options to go with our favourite festive side dishes, a.k.a. the real stars of the show.

Flor de Caña is the ultimate rum to cozy up to this holiday season. The sugar-free, single estate rum from Nicaragua is exceptionally smooth and full-bodied, making it a perfect accompaniment in cocktails or sipped solo. Flor de Caña is a versatile rum that has won accolades for its taste, and it's also the world's first spirit to be both carbon neutral and Fair Trade certified.

Flor de Caña is all about sustainability, from CO2 emissions that are captured and recycled during the rum's fermentation to a distillation process that has used 100 per cent renewable energy for over 10 years. The company has also committed to planting 50,000 trees every year since 2005, with over 750,000 trees in total planted to date.

Rum makes a dreamy matchup with a variety of side dishes like Baro's scallop and citrus aguachile from chef Brent Maxwell or Matthew Ravenscroft from Gia's maple molasses carrot dish. Feeling festive? Whip up a rum cocktail, like the Sippin' Santa from Civil Liberties' holiday popup or a Winter Daiquiri from The Drake. Flor de Caña might be a 5th generation company with roots dating back to 1890, but any cocktail made with the rum is a modern and sophisticated as the person drinking it (cough, you). Check out our recipes below.

To get $3 off of Flor de Caña Centenario 12 Year Rum until Jan 1st, click here.  

Order online and get two free bamboo cups.

5 delicious side dishes and cocktails

Sippin’ Santa's Sippin’ Santa cocktail

Side dishes and cocktails | Sippin’ Santa's Sippin’ Santa cocktail

Serves 1

Preparation time 25 minutes

Cooking time 0 minutes

“This is the menu’s headliner, and for good reason. A perfect blend of deep, rich rum and bitter amaro, balanced by fresh citrus, baking spice and ginger. It’s a perfect tiki drink dressed up for the holidays. The Surfin’ Santa mug doesn’t hurt the experience either!” — Alana Nogueda, Sippin’ Santa pop-up


Sippin’ Santa ingredients

  • 2 ½ oz rum
  • ¾ oz Averna
  • ¾ oz orange juice
  • 1 ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz nutmeg syrup
  • ¼ oz ginger syrup

    Nutmeg syrup ingredients
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp nutmeg


Nutmeg syrup method

  1. Add all ingredients to a pot and boil until dissolved.
  2. Fine strain.

Sippin’ Santa method

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker with cubed ice. Shake.
  2. Strain into a Surfin’ Santa mug.
  3. Add chipped or crushed ice to fill.
  4. Garnish with a red parasol stuck to a rolled-up orange or lemon peel and a surfboard stir stick

Maple Leaf Tavern's Chestnut Velouté

Side dishes and cocktails | Maple Leaf Tavern's Chestnut Velouté

Serves 1

Preparation time 1.5 hours

Cooking time 45 minutes

“For me, this dish is perfect to enjoy with family and friends by the fireplace with a glass of champagne, chenin blanc or beaujolais. A comforting French classic, perfect for the holidays.” — Stephane Renaux, Maple Leaf Tavern


  • 14 oz chestnuts, peeled and roasted
  • 4 oz celeriac, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 4 oz onion
  • 3–4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • ¾ cup whipping cream
  • 2 slabs bacon
  • 2 oz hazelnuts
  • 1 Tbsp canola oil
  • A pinch or two of salt


  1. Chop the onion into small pieces. In a medium saucepan, caramelize the onions with the canola oil.
  2. Add the chicken stock, chestnuts, garlic, thyme and celeriac. Bring to a boil. Keep on low heat for 30 min.
  3. Cut the bacon into small pieces and cook through in a small pan.
  4. Whip the whipping cream with 2 pinches of salt, then store in fridge.
  5. Roast the hazelnuts in an oven at 350 F for 10–15 minutes. Set aside.
  6. After 30 minutes, check on your medium saucepan and see if the celeriac is cooked through. If not, keep the pot on low until it is cooked.
  7. With a kitchen blender or hand blender, blitz the velouté until it becomes smooth. Add salt to taste.
  8. Divide the velouté into 4 bowls, garnish with a spoonful of whipped cream, bacon and hazelnuts on top.

Baro's Scallop & Citrus Aguachile

Side dishes | Baro's Scallop &  Citrus Aguachile

Serves 4-6

Preparation time 1 hour

“This is a super refreshing and slightly spicy dish; ‘aguachile’ translates to chili water. We recommend using smaller bay scallops, or large ones work well too, diced into smaller pieces. This dish will transport you to the sea; a nice escape during the winter months.” — Brent Maxwell, Baro


Aji Amarillo aguachile sauce ingredients

  • ½ oz ginger
  • 8 ½ oz lime juice
  • 5 oz aji amarillo paste
  • 1/2 cup peeled cucumber
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • ⅓ oz maldon salt

    Scallop & Citrus Aguachile ingredients
  • 1.25 lbs fresh bay scallops
  • 1 orange, peeled, segmented and cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 grapefruit, peeled, segmented and cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 pomelo, peeled, segmented and cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 jalapeno, thinly sliced into rounds and soaked in ice water
  • 1 red chili, thinly sliced into rounds and soaked in ice water
  • 20 picked cilantro leaves
  • 20 picked mint leaves
  • 1 tsp mint, chopped
  • 1 tsp cilantro, chopped
  • Olive oil
  • 2 mini cucumbers or 1 English cucumber
  • 1 Tbsp kosher or Maldon salt


Aji Amarillo aguachile sauce method

  1. Combine all ingredients except cilantro and purée well in a blender.
  2. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
  3. Gently smash the cilantro and add it to the strained liquid.
  4. Allow to steep overnight.
  5. Strain out the cilantro and reserve the aji amarillo aguachile sauce.

Scallop & Citrus Aguachile method

  1. Slice the cucumbers into rounds. Toss with the kosher or Maldon salt and mint stems from the picked mint.
  2. Place in a bowl and cover. Allow to sit for 30 minutes.
  3. Remove cucumbers and rinse in cold water. Refrigerate for plating.
  4. Mix the scallops, citrus, aji amarillo aguachile sauce, chopped herbs (not picked) and season to desired level.
  5. Evenly distribute the scallop mixture into bowls.
  6. Garnish with cucumbers, red chilis, jalapeno and picked herbs. You could also mix the jalapeno, cucumbers and red chilis with the scallop mix, if desired.
  7. Finish with a sprinkle of Maldon salt and olive oil.

Gia's Roasted Carrots with Molasses Maple Agrodolce

Side dishes and cocktails | Gia's Roasted Carrots with Molasses Maple Agrodolce

Serves 2

Preparation time 45 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

“When was the last time a carrot blew your mind? Honestly, I can think of two times that my brain melted from eating an unreal carrot. If I could, I would take a picture of those two moments and store it in a locket that I keep around my neck. I’m not Cher, I can’t turn back time though, sue me. So, instead, I’m here to make a new memory for you.” — Matthew Ravenscroft, Gia


  • 1 large carrot, rinsed and cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered 2
  • Tbsp light flavoured oil
  • ½ cup maple syrup
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • ½ cup cider vinegar
  • 1 cup white vinegar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 shallots, peeled and sliced into rounds
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 1 bunch medium-sized carrots
  • ½ cup pistachios, toasted and rough chopped
  • 1 knob butter
  • Dill, to taste


  1. In a medium sauce pot, add the large carrot and onion and cover with water. Add salt to season the water.
  2. Turn to high and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let cook for 20–30 minutes, until the carrot is tender. Add to a blender with oil and blend on high.
  3. Add water to get a desired consistency, and a bit of extra oil for desired smoothness. Now you have carrot cream.
  4. Combine the maple syrup, molasses and cider vinegar in a bowl and set aside. This is your agrodolce.
  5. In a small pot, add the white vinegar, water and sugar. Bring it to a boil and pour it over the shallots. Store in a heat-safe jar or container and let it cool in the fridge.
  6. Add your preferred cooking oil to a cast iron or skillet over medium-high heat. Once the pan is warm, add in your carrots and sear. Add salt to season. Don’t move the carrots too much. You should see caramelization on the entire carrot.
  7. Once the carrots are al dente, add in the agrodolce and let it finish cooking the carrots. Reduce until the carrots are glazed in this beautifully sticky sauce. Add the knob of butter to make it all come together. There should still be some loose sauce in the pan that coats your spoon.
  8. To plate, add some dollops of carrot cream, followed by your perfectly cooked carrots. Add some spoonfuls of agrodolce from the pan, followed by finishing salt, pistachio, the pickled shallots and dill.

The Drake's Winter Spiced Daiquiri

Side dishes and cocktails | The Drake's Winter Spiced Daiquiri

Serves 1

Preparation time 20 minutes

“This cocktail was dreamed up by our team, combining our love of classic cocktails with the Canadian winter. We used traditional winter ingredients and flavours and put them in a daiquiri, a cocktail usually enjoyed on a beach. The result is a drink that gives you a moment of escape exactly where you are. Enjoy yours responsibly and in good company.” – Gord Hannah, Drake Hotel Properties


Winter spiced daiquiri ingredients

  • 2 oz aged Cuban rum
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ oz cranberry winter spiced syrup

Cranberry winter spiced syrup ingredients

  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups cranberries
  • 1 clove
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • ¼ tsp allspice


Cranberry winter spiced syrup method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir until sugar dissolves.
  3. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.
  4. Once cool, fine strain the syrup and store it in a resealable jar or bottle. It can last for up to four months in the refrigerator.

Winter spiced daiquiri method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin with ice. Shake.
  2. Fine strain into a chilled coupe glass and garnish with sugared cranberries and mint.

Enjoyed this? Here’s a few more you'll like...