Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving Cocktails

Turkey Day commeth!  So, for anyone looking for a little something by way of drinks for the holiday, here's a few ideas. 

Let's start with a pretty simple one, the Turkey Feather.

Turkey Feather
2 oz. Bourbon (Wild Turkey is the obvious choice)
1/2 oz. Drambuie
1/4 oz. Amaretto
This is a solid drink for a whiskey enthusiast, but if you are looking for something that's either a bit more easy going or more of a challenge, I have something that fits the bill as well.  The In the Land of Cocktails website has a webisode featuring a cocktail from the head bartender at Commander's Palace in New Orleans, Ferrel Dugas:  the Drunken Pumpkin.  This cocktail has a fascinating array of ingredients:  Bourbon, Fee Brother's Pumpkin Spice Cordial syrup, an orange liqueur, lemon juice, black cherry vinaigrette, and simple syrup (with a rosemary garnish).  Now, looking at this list, if you are anything like me, your first reaction will be something like "oooooo" and your second will be "where the hell do I get Fee Brother's Pumpkin Spice Cordial syrup"?  And my answer to those of you in the Boston area for this is...I haven't a clue.  I hunted around, and no luck (you CAN order it online from Fee Brothers, however).  But, fear not, there's a solution to this problem, namely DIY!  A simple recipe for some pumpkin spice syrup that uses ingredients that aren't uncommon this season is as follows (based on recipe from Cook Like a Champion):

Pumpkin Spice Syrup
1 1/2  cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar (I used Turbinado)
4 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp ground cloves (I would probably try subbing 3 whole cloves on the next go-round)
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree or canned pumpkin (in the interest of time, I used the latter)
-  Heat sugar and water in a sauce pan until dissolved
-  add other ingredients and cook 6-8 minutes while stirring (do not boil)
-  let cool for a bit, then strain and bottle

Note:  if you are thinking this might be excessive effort for a cocktail, I will point out that this will also give you the makings for a pumpkin spiced latte/pumpkin spiced coffee.  I for one find this a great bonus.

Even with my pumpkin spice syrup in hand, I was still lacking a few of the other ingredients used in the original recipe, so since I was changing things up anyways, I decided to play around with the Cranberry Shrub that I had recently mixed up.  I must say, the results were very pleasing.  I had to play around with the ratios a bit, but the result I liked best was the following:

Drunken Pumpkin (with a side of Cranberry)
2 oz. Bourbon (Eagle Rare)
1 oz. Pumpkin Spice Syrup, homemade
1/4 oz. Grand Marnier
1/4 oz. lemon juice
3/4 oz. Cranberry Shrub, homemade
If you are lacking in Cranberry Shrub, and also lacking in black cherry vinaigrette, I think you could use the original recipe and probably get away with substituting a more common vinaigrette like raspberry without too much harm.  I also omitted the garnish and still found it pleasing (I didn't try it, but you might even be able to leave out the orange liqueur and use an orange garnish instead if you want to experiment).

Finally, if you are still searching for another option, Glamnest has an interesting recipe for a Pumpkin Mojito that I have not had a chance to try, but which looks intriguing.  Also, I finally did get a chance to try an idea I suggested in my Cranberry Shrub post, namely adding the shrub to some pumpkin ale (in particular, Southern Tier's Imperial Pumpking).  I must say, the result was very tasty!

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