A few suggestions for seasonally spooky drinks for this weekend:

Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned

A flexible syrup to be used in place of simple syrup in your Autumn drinks.  Try it in drinks based on dark spirits such as the Old Fashioned, Sazerac or Sidecar:

  1. Add 165g brown sugar and 200g granulated sugar to 350ml of water and stir over a medium heat to dissolve.
  2. Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of ground nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves and 85g pumpkin puree and whisk well.
  3. Simmer for eight minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Strain through a muslin cloth, add 1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract once cool and keep refrigerated for up to three weeks.

Corpse Reviver #2

Appropriately named, but delicious all year round:

  1. Shake 25ml gin, 25ml Lillet Blanc, 25ml Cointreau and 25ml fresh lemon juice with cubed ice for twenty seconds.
  2. Strain into a chilled absinthe-rinsed coupe.
  3. This time of year we like to top this with a thick green absinthe foam, whipped up strong enough to suspend a few spooky jelly sweets.

Nosferatini (Tony Conigliaro, Drink Factory)

Just the right side of disturbing, this is the drink Dracula would make himself after a long night out feeding:

  1. Make a ‘blood solution’ by crushing an iron tablet and adding three teaspoons of red food colouring and one teaspoon of caster sugar.  Stir well.
  2. Add 50ml London dry gin and 15ml dry vermouth and stir with ice.
  3. Strain into a chilled martini glass and add two drops of the blood solution.

Photo courtesy of Jon Joh, some rights reserved.

Christmas Corpse Reviver #1

Photo courtesy of Jason Swihart, some rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Jason Swihart, some rights reserved.

The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday, from the Latin for ‘rejoice’.  I’m choosing to rejoice in a Corpse Reviver #1.

Now this is a drink that is a long way from its more popular cousin, #2:  No citrus, no absinthe and instead, what is effectively a brandy-based Mannhattan with a Calvados twist and no time for bitters.

So there’s no call for bitters, and there’s no spritz of absinthe, so this leaves us with a seriously hard-hitting drink that’s going to punch the corpse back into life.

Believed to have been invented at The Ritz, Paris in the 1920s, Harry Craddock described this one as “to be taken before 11am, or whenever steam and energy are needed”, but, trust me, it is equally good later in the day:

  1. Add 30ml mince pie cognac, 30ml Calvados and 30ml sweet vermouth to a mixing glass with cubed ice.
  2. Stir for sixty seconds and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.

Christmas in Manhattan #2

Photo courtesy of Addison Berry, some rights reserved.
Photo courtesy of Addison Berry, some rights reserved.

Rich and red, and imbued with all of the flavours of a good Christmas postprandial, the Christmas Manhattan #2 is this week’s festive #midweekmanhattan:

  1. Add 50ml rye whiskey, 50ml Ruby Port, a teaspoon of agave syrup and three dashes of Angostura bitters to a shaker of ice.
  2. Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe glass.
  3. Garnish with an amaretto cherry.

Mince Pie and Sidecar

The second Sunday in Advent is upon us!  Another landmark on the path of expectant waiting and preparation; and another night for a warming mince pie cognac treat.

This week I’ve gone for a festive twist on the Sidecar as the orange and lemon of the brandy-based classic seem to be a good accompaniment to the candied peel and currants of the infused cognac.

  1. Add 40ml mince pie cognac, 20ml triple sec and 20ml fresh lemon juice to a shaker of ice.
  2. Shake well and strain into a chilled coupe.
  3. Garnish with a reindeer napkin, Santa peg and a fox (what else?)

Christmas Champagne Cocktail

(c) 2010 Fox.  All rights reserved.  

If you’re like us here at House of Bourbon HQ, right now you’re spending Advent Sunday sat by the fire, basking in the glow of your Christmas tree, listening to some Christmas music and wrapping presents or Christmas shopping (depending on your level of organisation).

If so, you need just the right drink to celebrate having Christmas totally under control, and nothing says celebration quite like the Champagne Cocktail – especially given this festive twist.  That’s right, this is the first of our Advent Sunday drinks making use of the mince pie cognac we made earlier this week:

  1. Sploosh a dash of bitters on a sugar cube and drop into a chilled champagne flute.
  2. Add 10ml mince pie cognac and then fill the glass with chilled champagne.

Serve and smile. What do you mean it’s just us?