Wednesday, February 10, 2010
My brother made the mistake of asking me for seasonal cocktail recipes that we could make in Berkeley Springs last December. I took this challenge very seriously and responded with an 8 page document of recipes and research. Needless to say, he now thinks I'm crazy, but we made some awesome cocktails. I set out to use these flavors: lemon, orange, orange-clove, apple, pomegranate, cranberry, spice, fig, ginger, smoked honey, maple, bay, eggnoggish and horehound. I mostly did. I should revisit the pomegranate and the maple. These 6 drinks were the highlights.
Rock & Rye Toddy- I have become obsessed with Rock & Rye. This is one of the best ways to drink it- it's so warming and cozy. It does feel almost medicinal, but packs quite a wallop as well. Put 2 oz. of Rock & Rye in a mug with a whole cinnamon stick, two quarter slices of grapefruit (or other citrus, but I like the grapefruit because it keeps it from getting too sweet) and fill with boiling water. Garnish with a rock candy stirrer. (This will melt into the drink don't be tempted to add any more sugar!!) If my throat is sore I skip the rock candy and use honey.
Figgy Almond Cocktail- I have been infusing fig vodka for years but always am sort of at a loss about what to do with it. It is very figgy. I was inspired to make this drink by those fig almond loaves they sell in the cheese department of fancy stores. It's fig infused vodka, amaretto and smoked honey. (Smoked on the grill with wood chips in a shallow pan) I garnished with a dried fig on a rosemary skewer because I can't help but put rosemary in everything.
Gin Alexander- this is actually a very classic drink and was at one time more popular than the currently more common brandy alexander. It is soooo much better than a brandy alexander. The freshness of the gin cuts what would be a painfully sweet drink otherwise. It's gin, creme de cacao (preferably white) milk and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Don't be tempted to skip the nutmeg-- it's key. It tastes almost like a lighter (and easier) eggnog.
43 Cobbler- a cobbler is an old form of mixed drink that consists of a base spirit (originally some form of wine), sugar and fresh fruit. It dates from at least the 1830s. For my 43 Cobbler I wanted to use some Licor 43 that my grandma had given me. Upon sampling it I decided that it was really too sweet for my taste so I mixed it with cranberry juice, gin and a blood orange gastrique that I made. The gastrique especially was to help cut back on the sweetness. So it ends up fruity and vanilla-y without being too sugary. I garnished with a clove studded clementine slice.
Lemon Laurel Wreath- this recipe is nearly the same as the one in 2008 Food and Wine Cocktail book but I swapped out homemade infused lemon vodka, used less Galliano and added some seltzer water because I found it to be too sweet. The roasted lemon bay syrup is brilliant.
Salt Caramel Apple Cider- I guess this is fairly fall-ish, but I still have some apples kicking around and cider is still available in this area over the winter. And who doesn't like salt caramel? Fools that's who. So this is a dollop of salt caramel (I make it in big batches so I always have extra in the fridge- don't use a recipe that sets up into a hard candy) real unpasteurized apple cider and a shot of Drambuie. (Bourbon is good too, but I was trying to branch out) It's good hot or cold. Whenever I see little lady apples in the store I buy them and freeze them so that I can use them as ice cubes in drinks. I briefly considered dipping these is caramel to go completely over the top, but I decided that it would just melt off into the drink too fast to be worth the effort.