Alyssa Bonagura is a Franklin, Tenn. native and recently has had cuts with Steven Tyler (“I Make My Own Sunshine”), Jessie James Decker (“Lights Down Low”) and Jana Kramer (“Circles”). She currently has a music video (“Rebel”) in rotation on CMT and will also be making her solo Opry Debut at The Ryman on December 23! Battered and Brewed caught up with her to talk about her Holiday plans this year!
What’s your favorite Christmas memory?
Singing Christmas carols with mom and dad around the dinner table after Christmas dinner!
What’s your idea of a good Christmas Dinner?
Cooking with momma in the kitchen all day and then everyone coming over and bringing something to put on the table. My mother and father have always had room for whoever wanted to come over for Christmas – the company with homemade food and good wine makes for the best Christmas dinners.
Do you have a favorite Christmas album?
Ella Fitzgerald – Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas! SO GOOD.
Do you have any favorite traditions or favorite movies for the holiday season?
In the last three years we’ve started a new holiday tradition! On the 22nd of December we have whats called the meatball extravaganza! My Italian family and our Italian friends make tons of meatballs and pasta and everyone comes over!! It’s so much fun and so Italian! Ha!
What’s been your favorite album of 2016?
Steven Tyler’s new album, “We’re All Somebody From Somewhere!” He cut my song “I Make My Own Sunshine” and it has just been the most amazing thing, to hear it on that entire record!
What are your hopes for 2017? Any exciting plans?
My hope would be to tour the world and play music and just try to heal people with my songs.
The holiday season brings the best parties and time together with friends and family. What is your signature Christmas Cocktail recipe that you will be serving?
We make British Mulled Wine with cloves, cinnamon and spices! So yummy!
Alyssa’s Mulled Wine! Christmas in a glass.
2 bottles of wine. (Chianti or Italian red wine)
1 cup of Sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 clementines or oranges
2 star anise
Put the Sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat along with the juice of the clementines. Add the cloves, cinnamon and some nutmeg and stir in enough wine to cover the sugar. Let this simmer until the red wine has soaked up all the sugar, and then let it boil for about 4 or 5 minutes so it makes a juice!
When the juice is ready, bring the heat down to low and add the rest of the wine and the star anise. Gently heat the wine for about 5 minutes and then serve in heat proof mugs with a sprinkle of nutmeg!
The trick to really good Mulled wine is to first add in the Sugar. The best part about this is that there really isn’t one recipe. We just add as we go. Start with 1 bottle of wine on the stove and do not let it boil. Add in 2 cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, Anise, and an orange, 1 cup of sugar, and then just stir until the entire kitchen smells like Christmas!
About Alyssa Bonagura:
One listen and it becomes crystal clear that Alyssa Bonagura was born to make music. With a voice that touches you somewhere deep inside, the soulful singer-songwriter produces powerful lyrics that will send you jet-setting into a broad range of human emotions. This daughter of country music (her parents being RCA country recording artists, Baillie & The Boys) received a full scholarship from Sennheiser after high school to attend Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts (LIPA) where she earned a degree in Sound Technology while continuing to perform in local venues throughout Europe. After graduating from LIPA and receiving her diploma from Paul McCartney himself, Alyssa returned to Nashville where she has evolved into a songwriting seamstress for several artists including Steven Tyler (“I Make My Own Sunshine”), Jessie James Decker (“Lights Down Low”) and Jana Kramer (“Circles”). Now, with musical influences from Sheryl Crow and Joni Mitchell, this six-stringed songstress has released Road Less Traveled, an album that showcases Alyssa as a solo artist in her truest form to date and shares the journey of finding her own voice while paving her own path as an independent country artist.