Cocktail Recipes for Thanksgiving 2017

Pumpkin spice mule

Here at Drinkhacker, we are thankful for you—our drinking readers! Among the other things we’re thankful for are good food, good friends, and good cocktails. May these cocktails and snack recipes be among them on your holiday table.

Baileys pumpkin caramel apple

Caramel Apple
created by NYC mixologist Allison Kave of Butter and Scotch
2 oz. Baileys Pumpkin Spice Irish Cream
1 oz. Dickel Rye
1 cup apple cider
apple cider doughnut holes for garnish
caramel apple slices for garnish
whipped cream for garnish
caramel drizzle for garnish

In a saucepan, combine Baileys Pumpkin Spice, Dickel Rye, and apple cider over medium heat for ten minutes. Stir well. Pour contents into a coffee mug. Top with skewer of apple cider doughnut holes alternating with caramel apple slices. Garnish with whipped cream and caramel drizzle. This makes 2 servings.

‘Tis The Spritzer
created by Cody Goldstein, Founder of Muddling Memories
2 parts Tres Agaves Reposado Tequila
1 part blood orange juice
1/2 part Aperol
1/2 part cranberry juice
champagne, to fill
cranberries, to garnish

Add all the ingredients into a shaking tin and fill with a handful of ice. Shake for 5 seconds and strain into a Collins glass. Top with champagne and garnish with a few cranberries.

Hot buttered cachaca

Hot Buttered Cachaça
courtesy of Amanda Platt of The Public House by Evans Brewing Co.
2 oz. Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça
pureed real butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
cinnamon sticks
star anise
apple cider (we used Strongbow)

In a small pan, bring the apple cider, cinnamon sticks, and star anise to a boil. Mix the pumpkin, butter, and brown sugar. In a mug or hot coffee glass pour the Cachaça and whisk in a tablespoon of the roasted pumpkin mix. Top off with the spiced cider and serve hot.

Brockmans Berry Fresh
2 oz. Brockmans gin
1 oz. Lejay Lagoute Triple Sec
3/4 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. cranberry juice
1 bar spoon of Allspice Dram
frozen cranberries

Shake all ingredients together in an ice-filled cocktail shaker; strain into a tumbler of crushed ice layered with frozen winter berries (note: use cranberries or other edible berries because true Winter Berries are poisonous); then top with a little more crushed ice. Garnish with a few more frozen cranberries.

Pilgrims punch

Pilgrim’s Punch
created by Pamela Wiznitzer of Seamstress NYC
1 oz. Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur
1 oz. aged rum
4-5 oz. boiling hot chai tea
6 oz. fresh heavy cream

Mix the Kerrygold and fresh heavy cream. Stir in the hot chai. Top with the rum and serve hot.

Americano in Appennino
by Jacopo Misiano of Alchimista Pistoia
1 oz. Bitter Tuvè
1 oz. Vermouth Drapò Rosso
½ oz. bourbon
½ oz. honey
4 smashed blueberries
chopped chestnut
sparkling soda

Stir all ingredients except the soda, chestnut, and blueberries. Strain in a low tumbler; top with the soda and garnish with the chestnut and blueberries before serving.

Full Harvest

Full Harvest
created by Shaun Meglen of Péché, Austin, TX
2 oz. Basil Hayden bourbon
3/4 oz. limoncello
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/4 oz. lemon juice
1/4 oz. cinnamon simple syrup
1 dash of cranberry bitters
1 egg white

Shake all ingredients hard with ice. Strain into and serve up in coupe glass.

Pumpkin Spiced Mule
3 oz. Smirnoff No. 21 Vodka
1 1/2 oz. cinnamon pumpkin maple puree
1 oz. lemon juice
4 oz. ginger beer
4-6 cinnamon sticks
1 qt. simple syrup
2 Tbsp. real maple syrup.

Take 1 ½ oz. of cinnamon pumpkin maple puree and mix with Smirnoff and lemon juice. Stir to combine, then pour into copper Moscow Mule mugs filled with ice. Top with ginger beer; garnish with a lemon wheel and grated cinnamon. This recipe makes two.

To make the cinnamon pumpkin maple puree:
Toast 4-6 cinnamon sticks in a 2 qt. sauce pan until aromatic. Add 1 qt. simple syrup; heat until boiling. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes. Blend on high for about 20 seconds; then filter through a fine sieve. Add 1/4 cup pumpkin puree and 2 Tbsp. maple syrup. Whisk until smooth.

Evening in the Empire
by Meaghan Levy of Rose Hill Bar & Lounge, HGU Hotel
1 1/2 oz. BenRiach 10 Year Old Peated Curiositas
3/4 oz. Neversink pear liqueur
1/2 oz. Cinnamon and cacao nib infused Laird’s Applejack
1/4 oz. Del Professor sweet vermouth

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, stir. Serve in a tulip glass and top with hazelnuts.

Winter Hill Punch
8 parts toasted hazelnut-infused Drambuie
4 parts Glenfiddich 12 Years Old
1½ parts Cardamaro
4 parts pomegranate syrup
4 parts fresh lemon
8 dashes Angostura Bitters
16 parts club soda
20 parts Brut sparkling wine

In a punch bowl add all ingredients and slowly stir with large ice block. Add garnishes and serve well chilled. Garnish with Lemons wheels and 1 inch rosemary sprigs. Serve in punch cup.

To make toasted hazelnut-infused Drambuie:
Toast nuts over medium heat until browned and you can easily smell toasted aroma. For every 1 part of Drambuie, add ½ part of toasted nuts. Let infuse in airtight container for 24 hours. Strain and reserve for use.

Because everyone has their traditional recipes for the turkey or ham Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to give you a couple of recipes for things you can use for a party or just parked in front of the television watching football or a movie. Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip and Sweet Potato Chips are both easy to make and very yummy.

Pumpkin cheesecake dip

Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip
courtesy of Melissa Russo at thefarmgirlgabs.com
8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
15 oz. can of Libby’s pumpkin
2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. pure vanilla (we used 1 Tbsp. of bourbon instead!)

Add softened cream cheese and sugar to a mixing bowl. Mix until smooth. Add pumpkin, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice; then mix well. Transfer to serving bowl; cover and chill for 4 hours. Serve with apple slices, pear slices, ginger snaps, or graham crackers. (We used salted caramel Biscotti, pictured.)

Marigold Sweet Potato ChipsSweet potato chips
courtesy of wearecocina.com
2 sweet potatoes
2 Tbsp. plus 1 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 package edible gold glitter (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Wash your sweet potatoes and slice very thin using a mandolin (We made ours thicker because we just like them that way; they did take longer to bake.) In a large mixing bowl, add your sweet potato slices, olive oil, and salt. Mix well to coat all sides of the potato slices. Place onto large sheet pan in a single layer. Bake for about 10 minutes or until crisp. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, toss the chips in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil and glitter. Serve right away with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream and enjoy the magic!

Review: The Botanist Islay Dry Gin (2017)

In 2012 we looked at The Botanist, a gin produced at Bruichladdich distillery on the Scottish island of Islay, where peaty Scotch is the order of the day. It remains the only gin produced on this island, though the brand has seen some changes, namely with a striking new bottle design, meant to turn away imitators and prevent consumer confusion. The recipe remains the same, however, with 22 ingredients, many of which are grown on the island, making up the bill.

For history’s sake, here’s the complete botanical list again: Angelica root *, Apple Mint, Birch leaves, Bog Myrtle leaves, Cassia bark *, Chamomile (sweet), Cinnamon bark *, Coriander seed *, Creeping Thistle flowers, Elder flowers, Gorse flowers, Heather flowers, Hawthorn flowers, Juniper (prostrate) berries, Juniper berries *, Lady’s Bedstraw flowers, Lemon Balm, Lemon peel *, Liquorice root *, Meadow Sweet, Orange peel *, Orris root *, Peppermint leaves, Mugwort leaves, Red Clover flowers, Sweet Cicely leaves, Tansy, Thyme leaves, Water Mint leaves, White Clover, Wood Sage leaves. (* = Non Islay Botanical)

Tasting the gin again from a fresh bottle in 2017, it’s clear that The Botanist is one of the top gins on the market, a versatile gin that is highly worth seeking out no matter what your favorite gin tipple is. The nose remains lively and enticing, a melange of juniper, sage, forest floor, and scorched orange peel. On the palate, the gin really shines, a modest juniper slug tempered by slightly sweet notes of citrus, savory herbs, cinnamon sticks, and a bit of licorice. Mint is particularly evident on the finish. Best of all, the gin’s balance is utterly perfect, the various components melding into a cohesive whole that is better than the some of its parts, and which, again, drinks beautifully despite the relatively high alcohol level.

Still exceptional!

92 proof.

A / $46 / bruichladdich.com [BUY IT NOW FROM CASKERS]

Check out these Botanist original recipes, all of which are worthwhile additions to your cocktail repertoire.

Pine for Islay
1.5 oz The Botanist Gin
.75 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
.75 oz Small Hands Pineapple Syrup

In a cocktail shaker, add The Botanist Gin, fresh squeezed lime juice and pineapple syrup. Add ice and shake. Strain into rocks glass filled with large ice cube. Garnish with cilantro leaves in the center of the glass.

Fino Fix
1.5 oz Pink Peppercorn-Infused Botanist Gin
.75 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
.75 oz Tio Pepe Fino Sherry
.5 oz Simple Syrup
1 Strawberry

In cocktail shaker, muddle 1 strawberry. Add The Botanist Gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice and Sherry. Shake and strain into Coupe Glass. Garnish with halved strawberry on side of glass.

Wisemen’s Negroni
1.5 oz The Botanist Gin
.75 oz Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
.25 oz Suze
2 Sage Leaves

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients. Fill with ice and stir for 15-20 seconds. Strain into rocks glass filled with large ice cubes. Garnish with 2 sage leaves resting on top of ice.

Bitter Fizz
1.5 oz The Botanist Gin
.5 oz Cappelliti Vino Aperitivo
.5 oz Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth
.5 oz Small Hands Orgeat
2 drops Housemade Fig Bitters
3 oz Soda Water

In highball, build all ingredients and add ice. Top with soda water. Garnish with a quartered fresh fig.

Recipe: Sweet Effort

We’ve written about the Tahona Society Cocktail Competition in the past, where tequila is the name of the game and where bartenders from all over the world compete to create a unique cocktail. The most recent installment concluded with this winner from Jeppe Nothlev of Helium bar in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It’s a sweet little number with lots of complexity — though the rhubarb syrup may be a bit tricky to obtain. (Olmeca Altos — now often going by just Altos — provided us a pre-mixed sample, making this a bit easier.)

Sweet Effort
50ml Altos Plata tequila
10ml Pedro Ximénez sherry
30ml rhubarb syrup
30ml lime juice
dash of egg white
grapefruit soda

Mix the Altos Plata, Pedro Ximénez Sherry, rhubarb syrup, lime juice and egg white, shake and pour into a highball glass and top with grapefruit soda.

How to Make the Perfect Sazerac Cocktail

So you’ve mastered mixing the manhattan, the old fashioned is old news, and you can recite the difference between a gin martini and a vodka martini in your sleep. And yet, that classic cocktail itch is still there. Well read on, because today we’re going to explore another simple, early cocktail, one that isn’t as well-known as the others. If you want to impress your whiskey cocktail-loving friends, try to mix up a Sazerac and see what they think.

The story of the Sazerac goes back to New Orleans in the 1830s, where apothecary Antoine Amédée Peychuad began providing Cognac toddies using a bitters of his own design. The toddies became such a local sensation that a bar called the Sazerac Coffee House began buying his bitters to use in their own cocktail, mixing Cognac with absinthe, bitters, and sugar to make the Sazerac, which is claimed to be the first-ever ‘branded’ cocktail (the old fashioned was around at the time, but was generally just referred to as a ‘cocktail’). Eventually, the Sazerac Coffee House simply bought the rights to Peychaud’s bitters entirely, and when an insect epidemic destroyed French vineyards used to make cognac, the heart of the drink was switched to rye whiskey. In a big blow for Sazerac lovers, absinthe was banned in the US in 1912, and for the next hundred years Sazeracs generally used an anise-flavored liquor called Herbsaint in its place, though in these enlightened days absinthe is freely available again. Now that you know the history, let’s gather our materials and see what we can do with NOLA’s historic (and official) drink.

The ingredients for a Sazerac might sound familiar if you make a lot of classic cocktails: a sugar cube or sugar syrup, 1.5 ounces of rye whiskey (bourbon if you’re a modernist; Cognac if you’re feeling really old school), a quarter ounce of Herbsaint or absinthe, three dashes of Peychaud’s bitters, and a lemon peel for garish. The Sazerac company, no longer a meager bar but now an enormous multinational corporation most well-known for owning Buffalo Trace, of course recommends its own Sazerac brand rye for the job, which is a solid, spicy, and fairly inexpensive choice. We here at Drinkhacker are always fans of Utah-based rye wizards High West, or for a rounder drink you can try Old Grand-Dad’s rye-heavy bourbon. For bitters, there’s only one choice: the Sazerac was built around Peychaud’s bitters, and without it, it’s hardly a Sazerac at all. Peychaud’s is lighter and more floral than the more commonly-used Angostura bitters, and will highlight different aspects of the rye in the glass. The choice of absinthe isn’t quite as vital as the choice of rye, since as you’ll see you really use a very small amount of it, but Lucid is a perennial favorite in our Sazeracs. Just like with an old fashioned, sugar syrup works just as well as a sugar cube and requires much less work, but if you’re serving for guests and want to go through the whole ritual, muddling a sugar cube will add to the mystique.

Now that you have your materials, let’s start making the drink! First, pack an old fashioned glass with ice, and in a second glass mix the sugar with the bitters. If you’re using a sugar cube, pour the bitters on top of it before muddling; if you’re using syrup, just make sure it’s well-mixed with the bitters. Add the 1.5 ounces of whiskey to the glass with the sugar and bitters and stir well — don’t shake. Now that your first glass is sufficiently chilled, dump the ice and add the absinthe. You’re really just using the absinthe to coat the glass, swirl it around good and get it on as much of the inside surface as you can, and then discard the remainder. Finally, add the contents of the second glass to the old fashioned glass with the absinthe rinse. Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel, and enjoy!

The Sazerac might sound a lot like an old fashioned, but the change in bitters and the addition of the absinthe both show that little things can have a big impact on our cocktails, in this case giving the drink a more complex, herbal character. It’s a unique treat for fans of classic cocktails, and is sure to impress at your next gathering. Try it out and let us know what you think in the comments, and as always, if there are things you’ve always wondered about in the world of alcohol but have been afraid to ask, send us an e-mail to [email protected]

NaNoWriMo Special: Great Authors’ Great Cocktails

It’s that time again. November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, where authors of all ages and experience levels challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word novel in a mere 30 days. Whether you’re already hard at work on your next opus, or you’re getting things ready for an attempt next year, get those creative juices flowing with a look at four great Jazz-age authors and the cocktails they loved.

Ernest Hemingway

“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.”

Notable works: The Old Man & The Sea, The Sun Also Rises, For Whom the Bell Tolls

Hemingway is one of the literary titans of the so-called ‘Lost Generation’ writers who were prolific after World War I, a group of bitter young souls who crafted dark, nihilistic prose to strike out against a dark, nihilistic world. Hemingway was almost as famous for his drinking habits as he was for his literary work; this is a man who had a granddaughter named after the French Bordeaux wine Château Margaux. There is enough brainpower put behind Hemingway’s drink of choice that there are debates about which he truly loved the most: was it the mojito, invented in his home-away-from-home in Havana, Cuba? Or the daiquiri, supposedly sipped while he wrote The Old Man & The Sea? We’ll put both drinks down here and the reader can decide which one is more effective as a source of inspiration.

Mojito

1 1/2 oz white rum, 1 oz lime juice, 2 tsp sugar, 6 mint leaves, soda water.

Muddle mint, lime juice, and sugar in a glass of ice. Add rum and top off with soda. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Daiquiri

1 1/2 oz white rum, 1/2 oz simple syrup, 1 oz lime juice.

Pour all ingredients into a shaker full of ice. Shake well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Truman Capote

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the music the words make.”

Notable works: Breakfast at Tiffany’s, In Cold Blood

Truman Capote perfected the art of the literary celebrity, by using his fame from writing pioneering nonfiction works such as In Cold Blood and his larger-than-life force of personality to get adoration from the people around him. A gay man who refused to let himself be ignored by society, Capote took many lovers, hosted massive gala events, partied with Andy Warhol in the ’70s, and remained a dear friend to Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird. Capote’s drink of choice was the screwdriver, a simple drink with a taste as big and flashy as Capote himself.

Screwdriver

1 3/4 oz vodka, 3 1/2 oz orange juice.

Mix all ingredients in a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with a thin orange slice.

Dorothy Parker

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

Notable works: Enough Rope, A Star is Born

While Dorothy Parker doesn’t have a work that stands up to In Cold Blood or The Sun Also Rises, the New York-based poet and essayist had a fiery wit that endures to this day. Parker wrote for Vanity Fair, Vogue, The New Yorker, and countless other famous magazines, and eventually parlayed that success into a time screenwriting for Hollywood, where she was nominated for a Best Screenplay Oscar for A Star is Born. Parker had a known love of the whiskey sour, and she wrote of the effects of too much drink in many acerbic poems.

Whiskey Sour

1 1/2 oz whiskey, 1 oz lemon juice, 1/2 oz simple syrup.

Pour all ingredients into a shaker full of ice. Shake gently and strain into an ice-filled old fashioned glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.

Raymond Chandler

“As honest as you can expect a man to be in a world where its going out of style.”

Notable works: The Big Sleep, The Long Goodbye

Next to Dashiell Hammett, author of The Maltese Falcon, Raymond Chandler is the most influential author on the world of mystery fiction, with every good mystery novel written since the 1939 publication of The Big Sleep at least partially influenced by Chandler’s novel, and his protagonist Philip Marlowe. Like Capote and Parker, Chandler also dabbled in screenwriting, best known for working on the script to Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train. Chandler, like Ian Fleming with James Bond, used his literary creation to popularize a drink of choice; Philip Marlowe was fond of gimlets in The Long Goodbye, and the detective’s preference for the drink led to the gimlet really catching on in America.

Gimlet

2 oz gin, 2/3 oz sweetened lime juice (Chandler specified Rose’s Lime Juice).

Mix all ingredients into a mixing glass full of ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a slice of lime.

* * *

Are you braving NaNoWriMo this month? Do you have a favorite boozy author that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!

Cocktail Recipes for Halloween 2017

Whether you celebrate Halloween, All Saint’s Day, or Day of the Dead, you need a solid cocktail to go along with it. Here’s a selection of our favorites from the year, along with a recipe for Caramel Pumpkin Monkey Bread. It’s quick and yummy for any celebration you have planned.

First we start off with two wine cocktails, both of which come from Apothic.

Apothic Midnight Blossom
2 oz. Apothic Dark red blend wine
1/2 oz. crème de violette
¼ oz. elderflower liqueur
2 blackberries, muddled
3 oz. champagne

In a cocktail shaker, pour Apothic Dark first, followed by liqueurs and muddled berries. Strain and serve into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and a lemon twist. (If you want to be fancy, take a lemon peel slice–cut into a round–and then cut out a Jack O’ Lantern face in it; a cut at the bottom will allow you to slide it onto the glass rim.)

Dash of Fire

Dash of Fire
1 ½ oz. rye whiskey
1 ½ oz. Apothic Inferno whiskey barrel aged red wine
1/4 oz. sweet vermouth
4 cherries, muddled
dash of bitters (we used Critter Bitters from Seven Stills)

In a cocktail shaker, muddle cherries, bitters, and sweet vermouth. Add ice and shake until chilled. Strain and serve into a martini glass. Top with a cherry and splash of cherry juice.

Dia de los Muertes Blood Orange Sour
courtesy of the Tuck Room, NYC
2 oz. infused Pelotón de la Muerte Artisan Mezcal
1 oz. blood orange juice (or ½ oz. blood orange puree)
½ oz. black lime juice
½ oz. agave syrup

Shake and strain into a black-salt-rimmed, ice-filled rocks glass.

Note: Infuse 750 ml. bottle of Mezcal overnight with the zest of 7 limes of 3 crushed black limes. Black Salt is a black lava Salt from Hawaii, which tastes like a beautiful mineral salt.

Pumpkin Spice Negroni

Pumpkin Spice Negroni
created by Mia Mastroianni, Soho H
ouse West Hollywood and Bar Rescue
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. Bulldog Gin
3/4 oz Frangelico
1/2 oz. pumpkin puree infused syrup
egg white

Combine all ingredients and dry shake. Re-shake with ice and strain into a small pumpkin (or coupe). Garnish with a light dusting of cinnamon and pumpkin seeds before serving.

Reyka’s Passion Fruit Potion
courtesy of Reyka Vodka
¾ part Reyka Vodka
¾ part gin
¾ part passion fruit syrup
½ part Peychaud’s bitters
¼ part lime

Combine all ingredients together in a cocktail shaker. Shake, strain, and garnish with a grilled peach slice.

To make passion fruit syrup
3/4 cup Goya passion fruit juice
1/4 cup lime juice
1 cup sugar

Combine and stir until sugar is dissolved.

Blood Bath

Blood Bath
by SakéOne
3 oz. Tombo Saké
6 black raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/4 oz. lemon/lime juice

Pour Tombo over ice in a shaker, then add berries and remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously. Serve in sugar rimmed martini glass.

The Angry Spell
courtesy of Angry Orchard

4 oz. Angry Orchard Crisp Apple (or the new Pear) Hard Cider
1 oz. white rum
3/4 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. ginger syrup
1/2 oz. Creme de Cassis or Creme de Mure

Add white rum, lime juice and ginger syrup to shaker. Strain into Collins glass with ice. Top with Angry Orchard Crisp Apple and Crème de Cassis. Garnish with a lime wheel and blackberries.

To make ginger syrupAngry Spell
1 cup finely chopped fresh ginger
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Combine in a small sauce pan. Heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool before using and strain out any ginger bits.

The Velvet Vampire
courtesy of Kelly Fell, The Duke and Elephant Food and Spirits
2 oz. Old Overholt Rye Whiskey
2 tsp. St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1 1/2 oz. pumpkin juice
1 tsp. house made hibiscus juice (infused with lemon and orange)
1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
1/2 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. ginger juice

Combine all ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake. Serve in chilled glass with ice.

Pumpkin Spice Shotte

Pumpkin Spice Shotte
courtesy of Captain Morgan
1 oz. Captain Morgan Jack-O’Blast pumpkin spiced rum
1 oz. Captain Morgan LocoNut coconut rum
2 oz. cold brew (We used coffee but you could also use a stout beer.)
whipped cream
cinnamon
caramel sauce

Combine Jack-O’Blast, LocoNut, and cold brew in a shaker with ice. Pour into 2.5 oz. shot glass and top with whipped cream, cinnamon, and a caramel drizzle.

Nightmare
courtesy of Cakewolf.com
1 part absinthe
1 part coffee flavored liqueur
1 part crème de cacao

Build in a mug and top with strong coffee.

Brockmans Black and Gold
courtesy of Brockmans Gin
2 oz. Brockmans Gin
1/2 oz. Drambuie
1 oz. lemon juice
.75 oz. honey and heather syrup
2.5 oz. pineapple juice
3 drops of black food coloring
gold edible glitter

Shake all liquid ingredients and serve over cubed ice in a Hurricane Glass. Apply one spray of edible gold glitter to the top half of the glass to stand out against the black food coloring. Garnish with a lemon wedge fan.

Caramel Pumpkin Monkey Bread

Pumpkin Caramel Monkey Bread
courtesy of Pillsbury.com
½ cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. pumpkin pie spice
4 cans (16.3 oz. each) Pillsbury Grands! Flaky Layers refrigerated Original biscuits
1 cup packed brown sugar
¾ cup butter
¼ cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)

Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 6-cup (9-inch) fluted tube cake pan or angel food (tube) cake pan with cooking spray.

In large food-storage plastic bag, mix granulated sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Separate each can of dough into 8 biscuits; cut each biscuit into quarters. Place 6 to 8 biscuit pieces in sugar-spice mixture; shake well. Continue to add more biscuit pieces to sugar-spice mixture until all are completely coated. Place biscuit pieces in pan.

In 1-quart saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar and pumpkin over medium heat. (We added a tablespoon of brandy.) When mixture begins to boil, cook and stir 1 minute. Pour over biscuits in pan.

Bake 35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Place plate upside down over pan; turn plate and pan over. Remove pan. Serve warm. This is great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top!

L.A. Mixologists Elevate Absinthe at the Lucid Cocktail Classique

It was hot in the Seventy7 Lounge in Culver City that day. Maybe it was the blazing sun outside or the close quarters inside, filled with contestents and onlookers. Maybe it was the absinthe. Maybe it was the goat. I can’t say for sure.

It’s been a few weeks since we — Drinkhacker and Hood River Distillers, the importer of Lucid Absinthe — asked L.A. bartenders to come up with new cocktails that showcased absinthe in a fresh and exciting way. As we saw in Austin earlier this year, “absinthe forward” turned out a ton of variations, from tiki drinks to glowing-green refreshers.

A week ago Lucid narrowed down the finalists to 11, and all were on hand last Monday to prepare their cocktails and submit them for judging.

Our big winner: Austin Doner, GM of the Seventy7, whose Chai Tea of the High Seas brought back fond memories of a similarly-inspired libation, Chris Morris’s Sogni D’Oro from Austin. A truly delightful spin on chai, the cocktail is at once unusual and beautifully balanced. Here it is:

Chai Tea of the High Seas
1 oz Vanilla Chai black tea infused Lucid Absinthe
3/4 oz Zaya 12yr dark rum
3/4 oz whole milk
1/2 oz R. JelÍnek Amaro
1/2 oz Wildflower honey water
1 dash Angostura Orange bitters

Served shaken, up, with cinnamon dust on top

That’s a cool $1000 for Austin, and our fan favorite from Danny Natali earned $500. That prize was selected by the attendees, and the roar of the crowd when Danny won the prize is something I’ll never forget. Here’s his cocktail, a spin on a Trinidad Sour that uses, gulp, a whole ounce of Angostura bitters in the mix. You’d never know — and this was one of my personal favorites of the day.

Lost in Trinidad
1 oz. Angostura bitters
1 oz. Giffards Orgeat syrup
3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz. Lucid Absinthe
1/4 oz. Combier
1 egg white
mint sprig garnish

Dry shake, then shake with ice. Served up.

And boy was it hard to pick a winner. The judges voted for nearly all 11 of the contestants, and the debate was intense. Some of my own personal picks included this bunch of bevs:

My Blue Heaven
from Christopher Barragan
1 1/2 oz Maison Rouge VSOP Cognac
1/2 oz Rothman Winter Creme de Violette
1/2 oz Lucid Absinthe
1/2 oz Blueberry Gomme Syrup
1/2 oz Meyer Lemon Juice
Garnished with three Blueberries and a zest of Meyer Lemon (discarded)

Blueberry Gomme Syrup is a homemade syrup with Farmers Market fresh blueberries, sugar and Gum Arabic. Shake with ice and serve in a coupe.

Lune Du Miel
from Adam George Fournier
.5 oz Lucid Absinthe
1 oz Bar Hill Tom Cat Barrel Aged Gin
.5 oz Honey Syrup (3:1 honey to water)
.25 oz unsweetened coconut cream (like Thai Kitchen Coconut Cream)
.25 oz fresh lime juice
1/2  bar spoon organic matcha (green tea) powder
1 egg white

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker. Dry shake without ice. Add ice and shake hard. Strain into a Nick and Nora glass. Sprinkle mukhwas (Indian spiced fennel candy) on the top for garnish.

Two of these and you’re done for the night…

Shibboleth
from Reid Joseph
1 oz Ardbeg 10 Years Old scotch
.75 oz Green Chartreuse
.66 oz Letherbee Fernet
.5 oz Lucid Absinthe
.25 oz raw sugar simple syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters

Stir with cracked ice for approximately 30 seconds, strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with lemon zest & bruised rosemary sprig.

I would say that things got weird once this next contestant made his drink… but he was first, so I guess things got weird immediately. Not only is the syrup in the drink made with goat brains, but a live goat was brought into the bar as a sort of unofficial mascot. Probably one you won’t be trying at home.

The Crazy Goat
from Ramon Aguirre
.5 oz Lucid Absinthe
.25 oz Yellow Chartreuse
homemade passion fruit bitters
Jarabe De Cerebro De Cabra house made simple syrup (made with sugar and goat brains)

Shaken, served up.

How about some straight-up tiki?

Head Shop Yard Sale
from Michael Whiteley
.75oz Coconut Chai infused Four Roses Bourbon
.75oz Leblon Cachaca
.5oz Zaya rum
.5oz Lucid Absinthe
.5oz Suze
.5oz Liquid Alchemist Orgeat Syrup
.5oz Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
1oz Passion Fruit Juice
2 Dash Angostura Bitters

Whip all ingredients with one ice cube and pour into a Pilsner glass, fill with crushed ice. Garnish with large mint bouquet and a garnish pick with a raspberry, blackberry and orange slice.

Tiki drinks made with gin aren’t terribly common, but this entry worked really well.

Surfer on Absinthe
from Chad Austin
1.5 oz Fords gin
.75 oz lime juice
.75 oz pineapple juice
.5 oz Lucid absinthe
.5 oz coconut cream

Shake and fine strain into a coupe, garnish with a star anise.

Good Housekeeping’s Lauren Pool was our only female finalist, and her drink was sure enough the most feminine of the bunch.

None of Your Hibiscus
from Lauren Pool
1 oz Lucid Absinthe infused with toasted almonds and hibiscus flowers
1 egg white
3/4 oz grapefruit juice
3/4 oz honey
1/2 oz Kerns guava soda
2 dashes Rhubarb bitters

Shaken, served up. Garnish with a hibiscus flower.

Lucid Dreamer
from Sherwood Souzankari
1.25 oz Lucid Absinthe
.75 oz pineapple juice
.75 oz lemon juice
.5 oz dry white rum
.5 oz Demerara rum
.25 oz Simple Syrup
muddled cucumber skins + 1 slice
Garnish: Cucumber skins + cucumber ribbon

Muddle cucumber and add other ingredients. Shake, fine strain, serve over fresh ice in a Collins glass.

And finally, every cocktail competition needs a true wild card. This one is it, inspired by the bubbling green acid pools found in cartoons and comic books.

The Acid Bath
from Alex Hoyt-Heydon
.5 oz Lucid Absinthe
1.5 oz Absolute Vanilla Vodka
.5 oz Green Creme de Menthe
.5 oz Small Hands Foods Pineapple Gum Syrup
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers Rhubarb Bitters
Garnish: Swath of Lemon Peel

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, and shake with ice. Double strain and carbonate with either a Soda Stream or iSi siphon. Serve in a champagne flute neat or over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a swath of lemon peel.

Thanks to all of our competitors and to my co-judge Jason Horn. That’s it for the 2017 Lucid Cocktail Classique. Hope to see you all again in 2018!

All photos courtesy Eugene Shoots.

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