One of the greatest things you can bring to the table for this week’s Thanksgiving festivities is not your mom’s recipe for green bean casserole. Leave that one up to mom. Instead, bring some booze. Before you get all gooey with the day’s special bird, drink down something delicious to make the experience even more memorable. Here we have a couple cocktails that will either make your nap in front of the television more enjoyable, or will start an annual tradition where alcohol becomes a more prominent side dish than the green bean casserole (sorry mom).
#1 – The first of two tasty creations comes from Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book, and is called The Great Pumpkin. This drink is categorized as a ‘flip’, which essentially describes its frothy qualities, and contains spirit, sugar, spice and egg. The ‘flip’ dates back a long way to old world sailors mixing rum, beer and sugar together and using a hot iron rod to create a foamy refreshment. Since piping hot metal skewers are probably not part of your home bar setup, we’ll opt for one egg to get the job done. This variation of the flip will also be served cold. Instead of using rum, rye and apple brandy step in to create the base for this festive drink, while maple syrup is used as the sweetening agent. And last but not least, we are using a local pumpkin ale and some grated nutmeg to bring the spice to the party.
The Great Pumpkin
- 2 ounces Upslope Brewing Company Pumpkin Ale
- 1 ounce Rittenhouse Bonded Rye
- 1 ounce Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
- .5 ounce Grade B Maple Syrup
- 1 whole egg
- Whole nutmeg for garnish
Method: Add pumpkin ale, rye, apple brandy, and maple syrup to a mixing glass. Swirl to decarbonate beer. Add egg and shake without ice until foamy. Add ice, shake well, then strain into chilled serving glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
#2 – This next concoction has become a standard in my cold weather rotation. However, this year there was a twist that required a workaround to what would otherwise have been business as usual in stocking up for the season. You may be familiar with Helliemae’s Salted Caramels and The Salted Caramel Whiskey Project that Star Bar’s Justin Lloyd engineered last holiday season. If not, take a moment to learn the technique. I was surprised to learn when I went to go pick up a few jars of the heavenly salted caramel sauce that there is a new flavor out on the market, Helliemae’s Chili Palmer – caramel spiced with fiery chilies and cinnamon. Now, with the original recipe marrying perfectly with the flavor profile of Stranahan’s, the spiced caramel seemed to need another companion. Something with a solid oak backbone to compliment the caramel itself, and a bright note to power through the richness of the cream and sweet milk fat. Tequila was the obvious answer. I chose a quality añejo, Gran Centenario. You can drop a ton of cash on good tequila, but I’d put a cap at $50/bottle for this purpose, and obviously make sure whatever you buy is 100% blue agave. Drink this nectar straight up or on the rocks. In your coffee, or rub it all over your body. The stuff is amazing.
- 8 ounce jar Helliemae’s Chili Palmer Salted Caramel Sauce
- 750ml high quality añejo tequila
Method: Use double boiler to get the caramel to a “workable” state. You want to melt it to have the ability to mix it with the booze. Work in batches. Add half the jar of caramel sauce for the first batch. Once it is in a somewhat liquid state, add half of the tequila. Whisk until combined, and move mixture to a large mason jar. Process second batch, and store mason jar(s) upright in the freezer. In about an hour or so, there will be a layer of fat (from the cream in the caramel). Remove as much fat as you feel is appropriate. I keep it all, because it is delicious.