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Thanksgiving Countdown: Breuckelen Harvest

Like many of you, I’ll be spending the afternoon road-tripping it up through the wintry mix that is the Catskills this time of year. So today’s post will be brief!

The Breuckelen Harvest cocktail is named for its starring spirit, Breuckelen Distilling‘s 77 Wheat Whiskey. This has everything you want in an autumnal cocktail: Hard Dry Apple Cider, an amazing Wheated Whiskey, a bitter sweet Amaro, and pumpkin pie spices! You’ll be drinking up the season, literally.

Breuckelen Harvest Cocktail

Thanksgiving Countdown: Cranberry Gimlet

Cranberry Time!

I hope that you’ve already made that SUPER easy cranberry syrup featured on the first day of the Thanksgiving Countdown. If not, do it now and then use the leftover cranberries for your sauce or relish for the big meal in a couple of days. Better yet, throw some leftover ginger in that sauce from when you made the ginger syrup. The by-products of cocktail syrups are dope!

Gimlets are one of my favorites. They are so simple, refreshing and, when made with fresh lime juice, hard to mess up. When coming up with this cocktail in order to feature the excellent Dorothy Parker American Gin from Brooklyn’s New York Distilling Company, I wanted to riff off a classic cranberry sauce recipe. My mom always used tangerines or mandarin peels in her version and now I always do! I love those super bright flavors together. And you can’t help but get into the holiday spirit with this one. It’s fresh cranberry time!

Cranberry Gimlet

Thanksgiving Countdown: Grey Gardens Cocktail

It’s happening, you guys. Winter is Coming!!!

GreyGardensEdieIt has officially become puffy coat weather this weekend in NYC. There’s been a shift in color palette across the city, the vibrant trees have been swept bare and the cold, grey days have started to set in…

Buuuuut, that doesn’t mean we have to strap a turban to our heads and crawl into our cat covered bed for the entirety of the season, waiting for the long, cold, dark to pass. It’s also just the beginning of the holiday season and there’s plenty of celebrating to be had!

Start by making the Grey Gardens cocktail! Like the Holiday Highball and Red Hot American Winter, this cocktail was created for the Hometown Spirits event a couple of weekends back, and features two of my favorite local spirits, as well as the ever familiar ginger syrup!

grey gardens cocktailI liked the idea of putting Owney’s and Atsby Vermouth together, and I originally was going to do a take on the Palmetto – a cocktail in the same vein as a Martini and Manhattan – equal parts spirit and vermouth with a few dashes of bitters – typically white rum and dry vermouth. But I kept thinking back to the first time that I tried Atsby “Armadillo Cake” Vermouth, and how taken I was by the earthy, chamomile and tea-like flavors that came through when sipped on its own. I love using tea in cocktails and Earl Grey tends to summon wintery cozy-time by the fire feelings in me this time of year, so that was clearly going to be an ingredient in one of my winter creations! It also lends a really lovely, almost smokey quality to the bright, vanilla, butterscotch flavors in Owney’s Rum. It all worked! And turned out to be one of the most popular drinks of the night.

Grey Gardens



Thanksgiving Countdown: The Holiday Highball

3 more days until Turkey Day!
And this lady is pretty pleased with herself…


Why is this lady-pilgrim-pin-up riding a gigantic turkey so happy?? Because she’s discovered a real crowd-pleaser of a cocktail: The Holiday Highball! I, personally, have tested the popularity of this Vodka/Cranberry/Ginger combo on a number of crowds big and small, recently, and I’m here to report, the lady-pilgrim-pin-up is on the money. You can’t go wrong with this tall glass of delight.

holiday highball

If you are unable to find the divine Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, you can substitute it for the ginger syrup that I know you’ve all made already. It will be a little less boozy, but will result in a similar flavor profile. If, however, you’re more of a Gin drinker, and you have notions of switching out the primary booze because you turn your nose up at the most popular girl in school – Vodka…well, first of all, get over it, second of all, you’re missing out and third, you have to realize that it’s cocktails like this that are MADE for the clean, neutral taste of vodka, like Industry Standard Vodka, from Brooklyn’s Industry City Distillery, distilled from sugar beets. I know, whiskey and gin have a sexier reputation as of late, but there’s room in the cafeteria for everyone – the cool kids (whiskey), stoners (um), goths (bitters), jocks (Jäger), princesses (vodka) and theater nerds (coconut water). (I just watched Breakfast Club again recently and this analogy couldn’t be helped. Sorry!) Disclosure: I was a teetotal-ing theater nerd in high school. Surprise!

The Holiday Highball is the homecoming queen of cocktails. But don’t hate, Judd Nelson. You know you’re gonna fall in love.

Thanksgiving Countdown: Ginger Syrup & The Red Hot American Winter

In continuation of our Thanksgiving Countdown, I hereby present this spicy, hot number:

Red Hot American WinterLast Saturday, I wanted to have a hot cocktail. I’m a huge fan of boozy, hot apple cider this time of year and Van Brunt Stillhouse Bourbon was a great addition. I also wanted to highlight the spices in the clove-forward Sorel Liqueur. Truth be told, this cocktail was inspired by the fact that I was suffering from a nasty cold and I was making a version of this for myself nearly every night that week leading up to the event! There is something therapeutic about all of these ingredients together, especially with the addition of the freshly made ginger syrup. I know it made me feel a little better!

Since I use ginger syrup in a lot of the cocktails featured on this blog – because it can add so much(!) – I’ve finally included a recipe. I haven’t, until now, because my portions have varied over the years…and I haven’t always measured the amount of ginger I use. I usually just put as much in as the pot can handle! I like it extra zingy!

Bit By a Fox Ginger Syrup Recipe

This syrup is also cuh-razy good drizzled over ice cream or used to create your own, home made ginger-ale, as a sweetener for tea, or in place of simple syrup in cocktails cold or hot!

MoPub Syrups.jpg

Makes about 2 cups

2 cups of peeled ginger, sliced into discs (I prepare this way because I like to save the left over ginger for other uses after I’m done)
2 cups of Sugar
2 Cups Water

In a large stockpot, bring everything to a boil then reduce to a simmer, uncovered for 30 minutes. Let cool, strain and bottle.

You can use the left over ginger for candied ginger, amazing muddled in an old fashioned or nibbled on its own! Both should keep for up to a month.

Thanksgiving Countdown: Quinciple & Classic Cocktails With a Cranberry Twist

thanksgiving vintage ann sheridan turkey

It is now less than a week until Turkey Day!! And for many of you hosting, you may be in full on planning mode…or panic mode, depending on your level of hosting duties or stress management skills! Whether you are hosting a house full of family and friends, or your plans next week involve apartment hopping various Friendsgivings before sneaking off to watch The Hunger Games: Catching Fire alone, we can probably all agree on one thing: The holidays are MUCH easier to handle with a few adult beverages on hand. But what do you serve your picky aunt Debbie, your wine snob friends or that late-blooming college buddy people still refer to as PBR Pete? Most likely, you won’t be able to please everyone, but there are a few sure-fire, seasonal tipples that I thought are worth sharing!

Every day until Thanksgiving, I’ll be featuring a cocktail that you can serve while waiting for that turkey to plump or alongside those marshmallow, sweet potatoes. And beyond. Each of the cocktails that were created for last Saturday’s pre-holiday Brooklyn spirits event will be featured as well a few others that seem appropriate. These were all designed to be simple to make, with minimal ingredients. But, still crowd pleasing. Low maintainance cocktails with high maintainance results!

The first cocktails featured in this Thanksgiving Countdown series are two recipes that I’ve created for Quinciple’s Thanksgiving box going out next week. If you live in New York and don’t know about Quinciple yet, you MUST check it out. It’s a locally based subscription service of finely curated farmer’s market ingredients, as well as products from specialty food purveyors. It maintains the ethos, convenience and quality of farm fresh ingredients that you might get in a CSA but also includes higher end products from their favorite bakeries, cheese makers and small producers. And they also always include recipes!

cranberriesKate Galassi, the dynamo behind Quinciple, wanted a few cranberry-inspired cocktail recipes to accompany the gorgeous, hand-picked, heirloom, no-spray cranberries that are to be included in their special Thanksgiving box. I was more than happy to oblige! I also included the recipe for my cranberry citrus syrup that can be used with booze, soda or drizzled over vanilla ice cream, for post-turkey gobbling!

cranberry fontHarvest Old Fashioned (featured on Quinciple’s blog)
12 Fresh Cranberries
Large Slice Orange Peel
3-4 dashes – Regan’s Orange Bitters or Aromatic Bitters
tsp – Maple Syrup
3 oz – Bourbon or Rye
Club Soda
Orange Wedge

At the bottom of a rocks glass, muddle 10 cranberries, orange peel, bitters and maple syrup with a splash of club soda. Add large cubes of ice and stir in whiskey. Optional – Top with a splash of soda, garnish with speared orange wedge and cranberry.

Cranberry 75
1 oz. – Gin
1/2 oz – Cranberry Syrup
1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Sparkling Wine
3 Fresh Cranberries

Combine gin, syrup and lemon juice in an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake 10-12 seconds. Strain into champagne flute or coupe glass. Fill rest of glass with dry sparkling wine. Garnish with floating cranberries.

Cranberry Citrus Syrup

A Friendsgiving Cocktail! The Green Pear Sparkler

The Thanksgiving countdown is underway! T-minus seven days until the turkey frenzy takes over America’s kitchens and tummys and couches and zzzzz. I cannot WAIT to be a lazy mofo for three days straight! Who’s with me?! (super lethargic virtual high-five) Maybe you’ve sorted out your main menu. Maybe you’re gonna wing it like an insane person. But have you figured out the most important item to be ingested of the day?! What are you drinking?? Well, now you have. Presenting The Green Pear Sparkler, a cocktail that you can have with your family or at your epic Friendsgiving feast! Let’s talk about it!

Green Pear Sparkler Cocktail5

Hard cider is having a moment. It’s been the fastest growing alcoholic beverage category for the last three years in a row. And there are more and more cider cocktails popping up on menus in craft cocktail bars and fine dining restaurants alike. Trend watchers point to the craft beer industry and rising foodie culture for helping the popularity of hard ciders.

Green Pear Sparkler6

For many years, I’ve found hard cider to be a great addition to a cocktail, using it as a secondary ingredient, as you would with champagne or beer in a cocktail, to add some dryness and bubbles. And occasionally I’ve used it as a star ingredient. And very dry, Normandy style pear cider is one of my favorites to use. Especially this time of year.

Green Pear Sparkler

For The Green Pear Sparkler, the hard cider is an important component, but is well-integrated with the other ingredients – rye whiskey, maple syrup and some healthy dashes of Tabasco’s Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce. The result is an easily drinkable cocktail that SCREAMS autumn.

Green Pear Sparkler4

The green pepper spice from the Tabasco and the sage garnish brightens up this cocktail and lends a “green-ness” to the overall drink. Quality maple syrup and a good, spicy rye whiskey like the newly released Russell’s Reserve Single Barrel Rye is also important for this. It’s the holidays, guys! Treat yourself right!

Green Pear Sparkler9

The Green Pear Sparkler
2 oz Rye Whiskey
1/2 oz lemon juice
1/2 oz maple syrup
4-5 dashes (to taste) Tabasco Green Jalapeño Pepper Sauce
3 oz Hard Pear Cider
Garnish: pear slices and sage

Add all ingredients except cider to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into an ice-filled tumbler and top with cider. Garnish with pear slices and sage.

Sponsored: This post was made possible by TABASCO®  in conjunction with the TABASCO® Tastemakers program. This is the fourth and final cocktail in a series of posts that feature the Tabasco Family of Flavors in cocktail recipes. As always, all opinions are my own!