Monday, November 18, 2013

Cocktails for the Holidays!

                You may remember that I’m in a wine dinner club that produces some very good food. I’ve shared several recipes with you previously.  Last week we met at the home of Mary and Joel Smith.  They did a main course of deep-fried quail with root beer red-eye gravy, a Southern Louisiana dish.  I’ll get that recipe for you another time.
                The pre-dinner cocktail was the responsibility of Jennifer Biggs. In keeping with the Louisiana theme, we had Vieux CarrĂ© cocktails.  She altered a recipe she found online and it was delicious. It went particularly well with packaged kettle potato chips that she had heated in the oven, then sprinkled with sea salt and herbes de Provence that she had ground to a powder.

                She used Absinthe, and said that you could substitute Herbsaint. Both are anise flavored liqueurs. But guess what: remember that bottle of Pernod that I had you buy for a seafood soup back in June, which we used again in a marinated fish dish in September? If you have that, you may quite nicely substitute that. She used a simple syrup made with turbinado sugar, a raw (unrefined) cane sugar. You may use that, or substitute light brown sugar. Mix 1 part sugar with one part water in a small pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved.
                The couple who was to bring the dessert had a late change of plans, so I volunteered to bring a dessert cocktail. I’d read about ones made with a pumpkin cream liqueur that sounded pretty tasty. I adapted mine from several similar ones found online.  I added a puff of whipped cream to the top. With a crispy cookie, it made an excellent dessert. I kept the various components chilled until ready to make; I even keep the vodka in the freezer. 

                Both can very nicely be made ahead and kept refrigerated until ready to serve.   I’m sure sometime between now and the end of the year, many of you will want a special beverage to either begin or end a meal.  We’ve got you covered!!

 Jennifer’s Vieux CarrĂ©

 1 cup rye whiskey
1 cup dry vermouth
1/3 cup turbinado simple syrup
1/3 cup plus one more little splash of absinthe, Herbsaint or Pernod
A couple of dashes each of Peychaud and Angostura bitters
Lemon peel for garnish

                Combine all ingredients except the lemon peel.  Pour over crushed ice in martini or other small footed glass.  Give the lemon peel a twist over the top to release some of the oil and drop it into the glass and serve. Six servings.

 Alyce’s Pumpkin Pie in a Glass

 1 cup pumpkin cream liqueur
1 cup Kahlua or other coffee liqueur
1 cup vanilla-flavored vodka
½ cup whole milk (or more to taste)
Whipped cream

                Mix all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Strain into martini or small dessert wine glasses.  Top with whipped cream.  Six servings.