7 Cocktails to Be Thankful For
As the temperature drops, heat things up with a savory cocktail perfect for the chilly season. This batch of holiday libations features the best of the season’s flavors, such as pumpkin, apples, pears and warm fall spices, in recipes from master mixologists.
Give thanks for these seven cocktails, which taste like Thanksgiving in a glass.
A Pear of Roses
Recipe courtesy H. Joseph Ehrmann, Elixir (San Francisco)
1½ oz Square One Botanical Organic Spirit
½ oz Lemon Juice (Meyer when possible)
½ teaspoon Fresh rosemary leaves
1 oz Pear juice
½ oz Sonoma Syrups lavender syrup
Strip 3 inches of rosemary leaves (about 1/2 teaspoon) into a mixing glass and muddle lightly. Add the remaining ingredients and fill with ice. Shake well and double strain up. Garnish with a rosemary sprig pulled through a Meyer Lemon wheel floating in the cocktail.
Recipe courtesy John Byrd, The Bedford (Brooklyn, NY)
Byrd makes this pumpkin-infused vodka every fall, and when it’s gone, the cocktail comes off the menu.
2 small pumpkins cut, cored & deseeded
Sugar in the raw
1 liter vanilla vodka
1 liter 100-proof vodka
¼ Tablespoon fresh ground nutmeg
3 small thumbs ginger, crushed
2 whole cinnamon sticks
3 whole allspice berries, crushed
1 whole vanilla bean, split
5 Tablespoons cane syrup
Sprinkle the pumpkin pieces with sugar in the raw and bake in oven for 1-1.5 hours (until soft). Let cool. Take a large jar (Byrd uses a 1-gallon olive jar) and add the pumpkin remaining ingredients. Let sit for at least 3 weeks, then strain liquid into a bottle and close tightly.
To serve: In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 ounces Pumpkin Infusion with 1 ounce of heavy cream and ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Optional garnish: toasted marshmallow.
The Black and Blue
Recipe courtesy Tinika Green, beverage Manager, and Andrew Duncan, bartender, of Blue Smoke, New York City
Fall is the time to curl up by the fire with spirits made from autumn apples, like the classic Calvados.
2 ounce The Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky
½ ounce Calvados (apple brandy)
½ ounce amaretto
¼ ounce Frangelico
Combine all ingredients with ice and stir. Rinse cocktail glass with Frangelico. Strain cocktail into rinsed cocktail glass and garnish with orange twist.
Cinnamon Fig Sidecar
Recipe courtesy Bridget Albert, mixologist, Chicago
Enjoy the rich, toasty flavors of cognac as it brings out the sweetness of fresh figs.
1 black mission fig
1½ oz fresh sour mix
Pinch of cinnamon
½ oz orange curacao
1 ½ oz VSOP Cognac
4 bar spoons superfine sugar, for rim
Lime wedge, for rim
To rim the glass: On a small plate, measure the sugar. Rim the outside top of glass with lime wedge. Roll the outside rim of the glass in sugar. Set aside.
Remove stem from the fig, cut a thin slice for the garnish, and dice the remainder. Add diced fig and fresh sour to mixing glass. Muddle until combined well. Add a small pinch of cinnamon, orange curacao, and cognac. Add ice to tin. Shake hard. Strain into sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.
Garnish with fig slice.
Recipe courtesy Eyal Raziel and Elad Benisti, Upper West, Santa Monica, CA
A cranberry-and-spice drink worthy of Thanksgiving and beyond.
3 lime wedges
1¼ oz Absolut Berri Acai vodka
¾ oz Mathilde Framboise raspberry liqueur
¼ oz cranberry juice
Cinnamon powder, to garnish
In a cocktail shaker, muddle lime wedges. Add vodka, raspberry liqueur, cranberry juice, and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Sprinkle cinnamon powder on top of the drink to garnish.
Pumpkin Spice Margarita
This classic cocktail, created by Danielle Griffin, former mixologist at La Hacienda in Scottsdale, Arizona, gets a seasonal twist with the addition of pumpkin purée simple syrup
2 ounces Riazul Añejo Tequila
1½ ounces fresh lemon juice
½ ounce pumpkin purée simple syrup (recipe below)
Agave nectar, for rim
¼ cup crushed animal crackers, for rim
Pumpkin floret, for garnish
Cinnamon stick, for garnish
In a shaker filled with ice, combine the Tequila, lemon juice and pumpkin purée simple
syrup. Shake until mixed well.
Rim a cocktail glass by dipping it into agave nectar followed by crushed animal crackers. Strain the margarita into the cocktail glass and garnish with a pumpkin floret and cinnamon stick.
Pumpkin Purée Simple Syrup
1 (15-ounce) can of pumpkin purée
¾ cup sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
In a medium saucepan, combine the pumpkin, sugar, water and spice over medium-low
heat. Stir constantly for 20–30 minutes, or until the mixture is smooth and the consistency of a thin smoothie. Let cool before using. The syrup will keep for one week, covered and refrigerated.
This variation of an old fashioned, created by Lara Creasy, beverage director of JCT. Kitchen & Bar in Atlanta, is a perfect way to whet the appetite before a feast.
½ ounce maple syrup
4 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel
1 brandied cherry
2 orange slices
2 ounces Laird’s Applejack Brandy
Muddle the maple syrup, bitters, brandied cherry and one orange slice in an Old-Fashioned glass. Add the brandy and stir with a bar spoon until syrup dissolves. Add ice and stir again until combined. Garnish with remaining orange slice.