Category Archives: Vanilla Extract

I’ll Be Drunk for Christmas: Holiday Drinks

December is here, and that means you can’t get away from holiday themes and decorations everywhere — which has technically been true for the past three months. September, we hardly knew ye.

As it turns out, this blog is no exception to the rule, since I more than happy to welcome the extra traffic that will come in from search engine hits if I do a holiday theme.

So welcome to my post for the holidays! Hopefully most of these drinks will be somewhat non-denominational (I mean, Christmas doesn’t have a monopoly on peppermint, right?), but there might be a few drinks specific to one holiday. Maybe next year I’ll really get into the whole denominational thing, and do an eight crazy shots post or something. Sounds fun.

In any case, no matter what you celebrate this year, it’s a great time for family, love, kindness, and alcohol. Lots of alcohol. After all, you are going to be seeing your family, so it’s kind of a necessity. So while you’re giving your loved ones the gift of junk you wouldn’t buy for yourself, give yourself the gift of intoxication. Here’s eight drinks to enjoy this season.

 

Holly Berry
-1 1/2 oz Raspberry Vodka
-1/2 oz Triple Sec
-1/4 oz Rose’s Lime Juice
-3 oz Cranberry Juice
-Holly Sprig without Berries

The Holly Berry

The Holly Berry

I think the recipe book I got this from just decided to make a reddish drink and add a holly sprig to it to make it look relevant to the season. With that in mind, I encourage you to use this method to invent your own festive holiday drinks — just be sure to pluck off all the berries (they are poisonous) and wash the sprig. Hell, you can use a plastic replica for all I care. Just whatever you do, don’t die.

In any case, this drink is pretty good, even if its inventor was really lazy when thinking it up. Despite being mostly raspberry vodka and cranberry juice, it’s not overly tart at all. In fact, the flavor of the triple sec is very noticeable, making for a very nice orange taste. In the end, all the flavors of the drink work very well together, much in the same way that all the religions in America don’t this time of year.

To make this, shake the liquid ingredients with ice, strain the mix into a martini glass, and garnish with the holly sprig. Or, if you’re not trying to impress anyone, go ahead and skip this garnish. Your call.

Moving on…

 

Vanilla Dark and Stormy
-2 oz Dark Rum
-1 dash Vanilla Extract
-Ginger Beer
-Lime Wedge

Vanilla Dark and Stormy

Vanilla Dark and Stormy

So this is seasonal in that vanilla and ginger are both flavors associated with the season. Other than that, it’s not very special. However, it is pretty good. Just be ready for the ginger beer. If you haven’t tasted ginger beer before, it’s kind of weird, and it can be as shocking as waking up to cat butt, though definitely not as unpleasant.

Personally, I am not a huge fan of ginger beer, but it’s definitely not a bad flavor. It is weird at first, but it’s good. Unfortunately, the vanilla flavor isn’t all that noticeable in this drink, but you will get hints of it here and there. It’s nice when you do notice it, anyway. Either way, this is a good and easy cooler for the holiday season, so if you’re a fan of ginger, give this a try.

To make, just pour the liquid ingredients in a tall glass of ice and stir. Squeeze the lime wedge over the drink and drop it in. Not the most complicated of holiday drinks, but not bad at all.

Let’s make something a little more pretty.

 

Angel’s Delight
-3/4 oz Gin
-3/4 oz Triple Sec
-2 to 3 dashes Grenadine
-1 oz Cream

Angel's Delight

Angel’s Delight

Isn’t this drink pretty? The deep red is very appropriate for the season, and the cream on top looks like a mound of snow or the trim on Santa’s suit. It’s just… oh, so pretty. I almost didn’t want to drink it.

But drink it I did, and it was delicious. Grenadine and gin compliment each other very well, and the triple sec throws in a little bit of complexity for the occasion. The cream is wonderful and fluffy as it just sits on top.

So, it’s pretty, it’s yummy, and it’s alcoholic. I suppose not much else is required to make something angelic. Especially when I’m three drinks in.

Shake all of the ingredients except the cream with ice and strain it into a champagne flute. Then carefully float the cream on top of the rest of the drink. You can also use a wine glass or a martini glass for this cocktail. I chose the champagne flute because it looks prettier.

 

Evergreen
-1 1/2 oz Gin
-1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
-1/2 oz Melon Liqueur
-1 dash Lemon Juice
-1 splash Blue Curacao
-Maraschino Cherry

Evergreen

Evergreen

Gin always did kind of taste like a tree, so this seems like a natural fit for it. This is essentially a Kyoto Cocktail, but with the addition of blue curacao and a cherry. It’s not bad, but in all honesty, the lemon juice really conflicts with the melon liqueur. The recipe is clearly following the sweet ingredient and sour ingredient blueprint, but I don’t think it works here.

Other than that, the drink isn’t bad. The melon is nice, the gin gives that slight tree-like taste, and biting into the cherry at the end is a great finisher. It is also pretty, so that’s worth something. Go light on the lemon juice, and it might impress some guests. Otherwise, this drink will overwhelm you, and that nice tree-like taste will quickly start to feel like that one scene from Evil Dead that Sam Raimi later regretted.

Shake the gin, vermouth, melon liqueur, and lemon juice with ice and strain it into a martini glass. Top it with a splash of blue curacao and drop the cherry in. It’s pretty, but not as good as some of the others on this list.

Now let’s look at peppermint, that ever-popular holiday flavor.

 

Candy Cane Twist
-1 oz Raspberry Vodka
-1/2 oz Peppermint Schnapps
-2 oz Cranberry Juice
-1/2 oz Grenadine
-1 splash Lemon-Lime Soda
-Candy Cane

Candy Cane Twist

Candy Cane Twist

Yeah, we all have probably had enough of peppermint by now. But, alas, This list would be incomplete without a peppermint-themed drink. It’s not a bad flavor at all, but it is overdone this time of year. However, this fact apparently didn’t stop me from beating this dead horse with a comically large candy cane.

This drink is nice and smooth. It’s sweet without being too sweet, and it has that peppermint flavor without being overpowering. A note on that, by the way: The peppermint flavor is kind of subtle in this drink if you use the above proportions. It gives that cool feeling without being very strong. If you want to have a stronger peppermint flavor, increase the amount of peppermint schnapps a little at a time — maybe in quarter ounce increments. Be careful though, as peppermint schnapps is one of those ingredients that is very powerful, and can overpower whatever it’s in if you put in too much.

Shake the liquid ingredients except for the soda with ice and strain it into a martini glass.  Add the soda, garnish with the candy cane and enjoy. Also, if you want to put in the effort, you can crush another candy cane and rim the glass with it. I attempted to do this, but I couldn’t get the candy cane crumbs to stick to the glass. I’m sure there’s a good way to do this, but I didn’t figure it out. If you’re up for the adventure, be my guest.

 

Christmas Shooter
-1/2 oz Grenadine
-1/2 oz Green Crème de Menthe
-1/2 oz Cream

Christmas Shooter

Christmas Shooter

Turns out we’re not quite done with mint yet, because I wanted to do at least one shot for this post. I figured that the celebratory nature of the holiday season is perfect for shots, so here’s one with Christmas colors.

Often, layered shots are made to look pretty rather than to taste good. In this case, however, it works both ways. The flavors work pretty alright together (as long as you do it as a shot, rather than sipping it the way that assholes always drink shots), and the layering actually allows you to taste each ingredient individually and in order, giving you an enjoyable progression.

Plus, it does look very pretty. Especially if it’s in a clear glass, as opposed to the yellow-ish glass I used. Apologies. It will take a few minutes to layer them all correctly, but whip up a round of these at a holiday party, and people will really like it.

To make this wonder of alcohol and thick liquids, carefully layer each ingredient into a shot glass in the order given. Depending on the size of the glass, you may have to adjust the amounts. In order to layer the ingredients, pour the first one in, and then slowly pour in the next two, using the back of a bar spoon to break the liquid’s fall just above the surface of the shot.

Once you’ve made your shot, throw it down the hatch.

 

Menorah Cocktail
-1 1/2 oz Vodka
-1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
-1 splash Blue Curacao
-Sugar
-Blueberries

Menorah Cocktail

Menorah Cocktail

Jewish readers, I’m afraid I must apologize, as I fear I have let you all down. Not only is this a week late, but, as you see, finding a good Hanukkah-themed cocktail proved a challenge for me, especially given limited ingredients. If I could get every brand the Internet recommended to me, I could make a cocktail with nothing but Israeli spirits. However, most Hanukkah-themed cocktails proved to be nothing more than normal Winter-themed cocktails. That’s all well and good, but I wanted something a bit special.

But then I learned that blue is a big Hanukkah color, and I found this allegedly blue drink that some blogger or writer had invented specifically to celebrate the lighting of the menorah. On top of that, a sugared rim always looks frosty, so that adds a nice winter touch.

However, if the picture of this drink loaded on your computer and you’re not colorblind, then you already know the problem. This drink is green, not blue. You see, the sweet vermouth colored the drink too, and it simply came out green. I’m betting the person who invented this drink doesn’t know too much about mixing drinks and most definitely never actually mixed this drink. It still works for this post, since green is a Christmas color, but that just gives Christians another drink and robs the Jews of their rightful booze. I am sincerely sorry.

The taste is pretty good, in any case. Sweet vermouth and curacao play off each other in interesting ways. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but it is an interesting thing. You could try making this drink with dry vermouth — which would probably help keep it blue — but that would also drastically change the taste. Try it if you so choose.

First, rim a martini glass with sugar. Then shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into the prepared glass, and garnish with the blueberries. I know blueberries are out of season right now, which is all the more proof that the person who invented this drink didn’t know what they were doing. I have frozen blueberries in my fridge, so that worked out for me.

 

Cinnamon Old Fashioned
-2 1/2 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
-1/4 oz Simple Syrup
-2 to 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Cinnamon Old Fashioned

Cinnamon Old Fashioned

I was going to end there, but I thought that this post would be incomplete without some cinnamon. I also wanted a stiffer drink, so I decided to whip up an Old Fashioned, but use Fireball in place of bourbon or rye. This was an on-the-fly decision, and I think it worked out well.

A note for you Old Fashioned enthusiasts, though: I know you probably think this drink is an abomination. I know that Fireball is very sweet, and is closer to a liqueur than a liquor. So, I understand how some of you will punch your screen right now, because “This isn’t a real Old Fashioned!”

Calm down, please. This drink is just for the season, and there’s no reason to get upset over a novelty.

Now that we have that out of the way, let me say that this drink works very well. It’s good, delicious, and alcoholic. What more do want from anything?

So, pour the ingredients into a rocks glass with or without ice (your preference), and stir. Also, Fireball is already kind of sweet, so feel free to reduce the amount of syrup.

 

Denouement

Happy Holidays. Be safe. Be responsible. Check back next week for a New Year’s post with champagne drinks.


Giving Thanks for Booze: Thanksgiving Cocktails

Let’s level, readers: What the fuck are you thankful for? No, you can’t answer with vodka — though that certainly is an understandable answer.

It’s okay, I’ll give you some time to think about it. Do think about it, though. You’ll need an answer when someone inevitably asks you this week. Or don’t worry about it if you’re not reading this in the United States.

In the meantime, let’s look at some drinks! Thanksgiving will be tomorrow when I actually post this, and that means soon all of you will be talking to relatives that you probably don’t like too much. Well, why not make it all a better experience with alcohol?

Or, maybe you do like your relatives, and you just want to impress them with some cool theme drinks. I guess that’s alright.

Whichever group you fall into, here are six Thanksgiving-themed cocktails to try with your family this year. Or try them alone while crying. To each their own.

Also, note that all six cocktails are featured today. There will not be a new post on Friday.

And now, let’s get to it!

 

Spiked Pumpkin Pie
-Sugar and Ground Cinnamon for rimming
-2 oz Vodka
-1 oz Pumpkin Liqueur
-1 oz Cream
-1 dash Vanilla Extract
-Ground Nutmeg

Spiked Pumpkin Pie

Alright, so there is no shortage of pumpkin pie “martini” recipes during the Fall. A million cocktail recipes are just a Google search away. Even I gave another recipe when I did my Halloween theme.

Clearly, that didn’t stop me from doing this drink. I got it from a cocktail book and tweaked it a little bit. Even though pumpkin pie drinks are a bit overdone, I’m glad I drank this one. It’s pretty much what you would expect from a silly theme drink like this — forgettable, but FUCKING DELICIOUS.

This must be made of the pumpkins of Olympus and the spices of Eden. If you want a crowd pleaser this Thanksgiving, this is a good one to whip up.

So, start by mixing the sugar and cinnamon on a plate. Then wet a paper towel, and use it to wet the rim of a cocktail glass. Then, run the rim of the glass through the cinnamon sugar so it sticks.

Now to make the drink. It’s pretty simple — just shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into the prepared glass. Sprinkle some nutmeg on top to garnish.

Let’s try something else.

 

Cranberry Sauced
-3 oz Dry White Wine
-4 oz Cranberry Juice
-Splash Club Soda
-Sugar Cube

Cranberry Sauced

Two things about Thanksgiving: wine and cranberry sauce. So let’s put those two things together! Hooray!

So, this is a really good cocktail — inoffensive and simple, as well as a good way to change up your wine. The tartness of the cranberry juice, the sweetness of the sugar, and the complexity of the wine all work well together. This is the perfect Thanksgiving toasting cocktail.

Of course, you’re free to drink your wine without enhancing it like this, but that’s the mark of an unimaginative and sad alcoholic. So, make your toasting time more interesting, and give your relatives something to talk about.

So, put the sugar cube in a wine glass and add the liquid ingredients. The club soda is included because the bubbles help the sugar dissolve. Feel free to replace the white wine and club soda with a sparkling wine. Either way, this is a good general-use cocktail

Moving on!

 

Maple Old-Fashioned
-2 ½ oz Bourbon or Rye Whiskey
-1/3 oz Maple Syrup
-2 dashes Angostura Bitters
-Ground Nutmeg

The Maple Old-Fashioned

Here’s the drink you can make for your crotchety grandpa, your uncle who refuses to drink anything girly, or your female cousin out to prove that she can drink all those stereotypically male drinks, too. It’s pretty easy to make, so if someone asks for a stiff drink, don’t hesitate to give them this.

This was an interesting drink for me, because — as regular readers may know — I’m not the biggest fan of whiskey. However, I have been known to enjoy an Old-Fashioned on occasion. So, I’m not completely opposed to whiskey.

However, maple syrup doesn’t seem to sweeten the drink as well as sugar or simple syrup. Because of this, the whiskey flavor is stronger than in other Old-Fashioneds (not that it’s a subtle flavor in the original recipe). And, in all honesty, the maple flavor doesn’t come out that much when you’re sipping. However, this version does lend a very strong maple aftertaste. If that appeals to you, then go ahead and try this. But don’t expect to taste the maple over the whiskey when you’re sipping.

So, assuming that it’s time for you to put hair on your chest, let’s make this drink. Stir the liquid with ice and strain it into an old-fashioned glass. Sprinkle the nutmeg on top. You can add ice or not, depending on your own personal preferences. If you do add ice, the general rule is to use one or two large ice cubes instead of several smaller ones. Of course, if you’re a regular Old-Fashioned drinker, you probably already have ice cube trays to make larger chunks of ice, and you’re probably way ahead of me. If you’re not a regular Old-Fashioned drinker, I don’t know that I would start with this drink. But if you like whiskey, you might as well go for it.

With that behind us, let’s do something frou-frou.

 

Spiced Appletini
-1 ½ oz Vodka
-1/2 oz Spiced Rum
-1/2 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whisky
-1 oz Green Apple Liqueur/Apple Schnapps
-1 oz Apple Juice
-Cinnamon Stick

The Spiced Appletini

I’ll be the first to admit that the idea of the Appletini is a little silly. Well, maybe the name is just fucking ridiculous, no matter what John Dorian has to say about it.

Even so, the Appletini isn’t a bad drink at all, even with the numerous recipes for it out there. It’s fruity without being sweet, and just the right amount of sour.

This version is my own little creation. I wanted to figure out my own way of making an “apple pie” style drink. I think my endeavor was largely successful. The spices cut the sourness of the green apple liqueur, and the resulting flavor is pretty enjoyable.

However, this is quite a large drink, and the flavor just seems like it would lend itself more to a shot — it’s good, but you’ll get kind of tired of it after a while, just like most Mel Gibson movies. So, if you’re an enterprising individual, figure out a variation of this for a shot, and then proudly do shots with your older relatives. There’s no better family bonding experience than that.

Anyway, this is simple to make. Shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the cinnamon stick. You could also garnish with apple slices. Your call. Either way, this is a great non-standard cocktail with an interesting flavor to impress your family members with.

And so, we just did a manly drink and a frou-frou drink. Let’s see if we can combine the two.

 

Turkey Cosmopolitan
-1 ½ oz Wild Turkey Bourbon
-1/4 oz Lime Juice
-1/2 oz Triple Sec
-2 oz Cranberry Juice
-Lemon Twist

The Turkey Cosmopolitan

So, if this sounds like just a Cosmopolitan with bourbon instead of vodka, that’s because it is. If that sounds disgusting, it’s actually not. It works pretty well, and no one was more surprised than me. In fact, I found that the bourbon brought out the orange flavor of the triple sec more than the neutral vodka. That doesn’t make sense, and people will undoubtedly disagree with me, but there it is.

Also, I full-heartedly admit that the only thing about this cocktail that is turkey-like at all is that the bourbon has the word “turkey” in it. However, short of using turkey broth in a cocktail, this is probably the most turkey-like you’ll get with any cocktail. If you want to make a cocktail with turkey broth, be my rather unfortunate guest. Failing that, this is the best I can offer.

It also turns out that this is fairly appropriate for Thanksgiving not only because it uses Wild Turkey, but because it uses cranberry juice. Makes enough sense to me.

So, it sounds more disgusting than how Edward Cullen delivers his vampire child, but it turns out to work pretty well. It even manages to simultaneously make you a little girl (as all Cosmos do) and put hair on your chest (as all bourbon does), so that’s got to be worth something.

To make it, shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist to make it beautiful.

Let’s go on to our last drink.

 

Hazel Egg
-1 ½ oz Frangelico
-1 oz Crème de Cacao
-1 Egg
-Cream (optional)

The Hazel Egg

This drink might not be directly related to Thanksgiving, but I tend to think of hazelnut as a great Fall flavor. So, I decided to mix up a yummy dessert drink with the ultimate hazelnut liqueur, Frangelico. True, this isn’t a standard liquor-driven cocktail, but if you’re such an elitist that you can’t enjoy a hazelnut and chocolate dessert drink then you’re pretty much an asshole, and you’re welcome to have a good time with your straight whiskey. Jerk.

Anyway, this turned out delicious, and I guarantee you that most people will enjoy it after a long meal. The raw egg might put off a few people, but in all honesty a pasteurized egg in an alcoholic mix poses little to no danger. As we learned last week, there isn’t a known pathogen that can survive in alcohol. The chances of you getting salmonella — especially if you use a pasteurized egg — is incredibly low. However, in the interest of you not suing me, there is always at least a slight risk when consuming raw eggs, so understand that. If you do get sick, it might be a rare occurrence, but it isn’t my fault.

While we’re here, let’s talk about eggs in cocktails. Generally speaking, an egg white in a cocktail is there to add frothiness and thickness. If you wish to do without it, you can generally omit it. However, an egg yolk is included for flavor, and you cannot simply skip it, and therefore you can’t simply skip a whole egg. Now, you could make this drink without the egg, but it wouldn’t be interesting at all. The egg really lends a lot to this cocktail, so if you’re willing to take the risk, you might as well try it. Otherwise, you’re just adding dairy to some sweet liqueurs.

So, start by dry shaking the egg for a few seconds — no more than ten. Then add ice and the liqueurs to the shaker. Shake it until it’s too cold to touch. Then, strain it into an old-fashioned glass filled most of the way with ice. We fill it most of the way so that there is room to top off with cream—so top it off with cream! Stir it with a swizzle stick, and enjoy.

The cream is also only there for body, by the way, so feel free to omit it. If you do, you can go ahead and fill your glass with ice. Your call, of course.

 

Denouement

I’ve talked enough. Go hang with your family and get drunker than Diane Sawyer.


Monster Mash! Halloween Drinks (Part Two)

And now I’m back! From outerspace!

It is officially Halloween weekend, which means it is officially not okay to be sober for the next 72 hours (my how things have changed since I dressed up as the red Power Ranger). So, let the ghosts and ghouls run rampant with booze, and try one of these fun Halloween-themed cocktails.

 

Bloody Sundae
-1 ½ oz Vanilla Vodka
-1 ½ oz Whipped Cream Vodka
-Strawberry Syrup
-Plastic Vampire Teeth (optional)

The Bloody Sundae

Here’s one of those candy drinks, which, I keep telling myself is appropriate because Halloween is all about candy. Yeah, some of you might scoff at whipped cream flavored vodka. But, as silly as it sounds, it’s delicious, and you’ll be missing out if you write it off. Certainly, it isn’t classy, but it sure is good, and you can find some great ideas for it.

Case and point: this silly little novelty drink. This isn’t something you’d ever want to drink on a fancy cocktail night, but it definitely is something you’d think about drinking anyway. It’s sweet, but not too sweet. It’s alcohol-y, but not too alcohol-y. It’s just good. It’s no Martini, it’s no Manhattan, but it is a nice piece of alcoholic candy, which is the best you can hope for if you go out trick-r-treating.

So, first, you’ll want to put a little bit of the strawberry syrup into a cocktail glass and thoroughly coat the glass with it by turning the glass around so that the syrup coats the inside. Discard any excess syrup (or don’t if you want it extra sweet). Then, shake the two flavored vodkas together with ice, and strain it into the glass. If you have plastic vampire teeth, they make awesome party garnishes. Otherwise, just drink up, matey. It tastes like candy and gets you wasted. Best Halloween gift ever.

 

Black Widow
-2 oz Kraken Black Spiced Rum
-1 oz Coffee Liqueur
-1 oz Anisette
-Black Licorice

The Black Widow

Black Widow just so happens to be another one of those cocktails names (like “Jack-O-Lantern”) that gets used a lot, but without any standard cocktail. And, to be honest, I based this recipe on another “Black Widow” recipe that used vanilla vodka, black sambuca, and espresso (no licorice garnish). However, only clear sambuca appears to be available in North Carolina, so I was forced to change it up. I used generic anisette instead of sambuca (but use the kind of anisette you want), and swapped out the espresso with Kahlua (not too much of a flavor change, I hope). To keep it all good and dark, I decided to replace the vodka with a dark rum (let’s face it — the Kahlua couldn’t have kept is black on its own).

Okay, so, yes — the flavor takes a backseat to color and presentation here. But it actually doesn’t taste bad at all. The anisette dominates at first, but after a while the coffee liqueur begins to make itself noticed. The rum actually takes a background role, which is surprising because I chose the strongest and richest rum I have in stock. But, coffee and anisette are too very strong flavors, so it is understandable why vodka may have been used in the recipe I based this off of. Since vodka is neutral, it allows the two other flavors to duke it out on their own turf, with the base liquor taking a background role.

That being said, the Kraken is noticeable, it’s just not a power player in this mix. So, we focus on the coffee and anise flavors, which surprisingly work quite well together — a lot like Aerosmith and Run DMC. And that’s really the joy of mixology (still hate that word): you discover incredible combinations that otherwise you would have never tried.

Also, this looks awesome as all Hell thanks to the garnish. Given, the garnish is completely unnecessary, but that doesn’t stop it from being fucking sweet — which is the basic rule of thumb that bartenders have been using for garnishing Bloody Marys (coming next week), so why not try that rule with another drink?

Though, I still must admit, I broke my own rule, and didn’t eat all of the edible garnish. Licorice isn’t my favorite candy to begin with, but the sheer amount that you need to properly garnish this cocktail is overwhelming for those who don’t like licorice. I managed to eat two strands (while drinking) before giving up. So, the garnish is definitely worth the aesthetic value, but unlike the olives in the Martini, you probably won’t finish eating this garnish unless you like licorice a lot

One sidenote, though: It’s a lot easier to enjoy anisette than it is to enjoy licorice, so don’t let drink recipes that include anisette deter you. Including this one.

So, shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Now comes the fun part: the garnish. You’ll need eight strands of black licorice to properly garnish this cocktail. Once you have eight strands, bend them, and arrange them four on each side, so that it looks like a spider is submerged in your drink. Bonus points if you can drink the whole cocktail without removing the licorice. I managed to drink about two-thirds of this drink before the licorice started falling out of the glass.

 

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail
-1 ½ oz Spiced Rum
-1 ½ oz Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur
-1-2 dashes Vanilla Extract
-Graham Cracker Crumbs

The Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

Alright, so this cocktail isn’t so much a Halloween cocktail as it is a Fall cocktail, but I have no plans to do a Thanksgiving post, so this is the only exposure this drink will get. And, even though it’s a novelty and extremely non-alcoholic at 25 proof, Fulton’s Harvest Pumpkin Pie Cream Liqueur is absolutely delicious. It’s like if eggnog and a pumpkin fucked, and had an awesome-yet-unholy baby. And not just any sex session, at that; they had dirty and deep anal sex with amazing spices for a condom (Sober edit: And apparently still managed to conceive. Good basic reproductive knowledge there, drunk Dave). So, yeah, scoff at it as a seasonal fad, but it tastes so good, and you will love it.

And even though the alcohol content of the liqueur in this is ridiculously low, this cocktail tastes fairly strong. I used Captain Morgan, which is awesome, but below proof for liquor at 70 proof (80 proof is the standard for all liquors, if you didn’t know), and yet this still tasted very alcoholic. And yet, even though it tastes liquory, it goes down really easy. It’s really a great cocktail to serve to your family during the holidays if your intention is to get drunk with your family, and maybe find out a few things you didn’t know. Two of these will get most aunts a little tipsy, I’m sure.

So, as always, shake the liquid ingredients with ice and strain it into a cocktail glass. Garnish by sprinkling the graham cracker crumbs on top. Alternatively, you can rim the cocktail glass with the crumbs before shaking the cocktail. This method will keep the crumbs crispier, but it’s also a bit more effort. Of course, the crumbs will get soggy if you sprinkle them on top, which might turn some people off. I thought it worked very well with soggy graham cracker crumbs, but that’s not everybody’s thing.

Onwards to the last drink!

 

Bleeding Heart Martini
-2 oz HIGH QUALITY Gin
-1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
-Pickled Beet
-1 splash Pickled Beet Brine (optional, if you like it dirty)

The Bleeding Heart Martini

So, I saved this one for last because I love, love, LOVE Martinis. At the end of the day, the Martini is probably my favorite cocktail. In fact, I can’t wait until the new James Bond movie comes out, not because I’m excited about Skyfall, but because I’m going to use it as an excuse to do a Martini post. And I am very excited about the Martini post.

However, the Martini just so happens to be the perfect cocktail to demonstrate how the garnish for your drink FUCKING MATTERS. A Martini with an olive tastes much different than a Martini with a lemon twist. And both of those taste WAY FUCKING DIFFERENT than a Martini with a pickled beet. So, homeboy, let me tell you— Martinis are amazing, but pickled beets ain’t no olives.

I’m probably going to repeat this when I do my Martini post, but I prefer my Martinis with two (not one, but two) olives, pimento stuffed if available (and pimento stuffed is always available at my house). I prefer a lemon twist if I’m making a vodka Martini (a lot of cocktail enthusiasts shun the vodka Martini, but it is absolutely amazing if done right), but I usually use gin. (Also, this is as good a place as any to mention why I used caps locks on the HIGH QUALITY when mentioning the gin in the ingredient list. Use middle or high-low shelf gin for every other cocktail recipe. But, for a Martini, use a good gin. You owe it to yourself, and the Martini deserves no less.)

Also, if you happen to know how you like your Martini, feel free to make it that way — dry, wet, or dirty. Stirred or shaken. However, if you’re not that acquainted with Martinis, the 4:1 ratio of gin to vermouth works very well, so go ahead and use this recipe. If you don’t like gin that much, maybe go to 3:1 or 2:1.

But, going back to my original point, a pickled beet ain’t no olive. If you prefer a lemon twist in your Martini, then this is even more different. But, if you’re like me, and you love biting into that delicious olive after drinking a Martini, then the pickled beet is semi-acceptable. That being said, it still ain’t no olive. The beet brine is similar to the olive brine at first, but it loses its charm pretty fast, and it’s ultimately no where near as satisfying as an olive at the end of the drink. In fact, it’s kind of bland. So, final verdict is not bad, but no where near as good.

Sorry for all that text, but I really like Martinis.

To make this drink, stir the liquid ingredients with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Of course you can shake it if you prefer, but I’m recommending the traditional stirring method. Finally, garnish with a pickled beet, preferably pierced by a cocktail spear.

And thus we reach the end of our adventure.

 

Denouement

So, what have we learned? I think we’ve learned that a lot of things are scary, but we can’t let that hold us back. We need to stand strong, and drink, even in the face of adversity.

Happy Halloween, everyone. Don’t party too hard.


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