I’m back east right now visiting with family in New England and everywhere I go I am reminded of just how much more it feels like Autumn. Besides the fact there is an actual chill in the air, we drive by corn mazes and apple stands and people really deck out their houses for Halloween. Entire towns decorate for Halloween. I’m trying not to think about the 90° temps that we will be returning to in Southern California. For now, I’m just going to soak all this Autumn in and give you guys some of my favorite Spooky, and just plain seasonally appropriate cocktails.
Growing up in New England, once the calendar page turned to October, inevitably the Colonial time plays in school began. But what they didn’t cover in grade school was the real story of how America came to be: those Colonists got drunk and invented America.
If you’re intrigued about just how these fine folks did this, then this week’s giveaway is for YOU! We’ve got a giveaway package that tells you the whole story, AND an amazing new on the scene bar tool you can use to replicate some of the toasty beverages those Colonists enjoyed while, you know, inventing America.
Colonial Spirits: A Toast to Our Drunken History by author Steven Grasse combines a love of cocktails and history into an immensely entertaining book that’s perfect for your cocktail book shelf. Here’s a few facts from the book you can throw out at your next Fall Holiday party:
- George Washington had a treasured recipe for Small Beer stashed in a notebook, brewed with Bran Hops and 3 Gallons of Molasses
- Martha Washington developed Cherry Bounce, a brandy-based drink that keeps her husband warm while he is away fighting the Revolutionary War
- Benjamin Franklin took it upon himself to pen the Drinkers Dictionary, kind of like a colonial version of Urban Dictionary, where he published at least 200 synonyms for getting drunk
- Thomas Jefferson imports red wines from all over the globe, collecting 20,000 bottles during his presidency; and toasts the Declaration of Independence with a glass of Madeira
- John Smith and the early settlers at Plymouth Rock learn how to ferment alcohol from corn, as taught to them by Native Americans
- John Adams preferred hard cider and drank a tankard of the stuff every morning; and Adams would live to be 90 years old, the third longest living president.
- The Triangular Trade (and the blight of slavery) fuels the rum business and Fish House Punch is created at Philadelphia’s Tun Tavern as a way for people to “forget their mother-in-law”
How many of you have a loggerhead in your home bar? My bet is no one. However, this bar tool has been around for centuries helping to create toasty cocktails going all the way back to the Colonial era. And now one lucky Stir and Strain reader will get their hands on their own! But what is it you may be asking. The loggerhead is a unique bar tool that’s simple in design, yet has an effect on cocktails that’s complex and incomparable. Heat up the loggerhead, prepare your drink and then plunge the loggerhead in to create an exciting effect (and heat up your drink). This is the perfect bar tool for those chilly nights ahead of us.
The loggerhead is finishing up its Kickstarter run but has already been funded which means you’ll get yours by December. For more info on the loggerhead, head over to their page!
Ready to drink like this nation’s forefathers? Enter below and score up to 10 entries to win the Colonial Spirits and Loggerhead Bar Tool (approximate retail value $90)! Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST Wednesday October 12th, 2016 (US residents only). Good luck!
School’s back in session and you have some reading to catch up on… About cocktails of course!
There’s been a slew of new cocktail releases we’re excited about and we wanted to share some of our favs. And watch this space in the following weeks because some of these guys are going home with you for free!
Do you guys have a favorite you can’t wait to read?
Did you know that Oktoberbest is happening RIGHT NOW? While many of us stateside can only dream of visiting Germany for the biggest beer fest ever, that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy an Oktoberfest brew in the comfort of your own home. Enter this month’s giveaway: an Oktoberfest Brew Kit from Craft a Brew.
Craft a Brew takes the guesswork out of brewing beer at home. They deliver to your doorstep a kit with all the items you need and practically do everything but hold your hand and pour the ingredients into the pot for you. Today we’ve teamed up with Craft a Brew to offer one lucky Stir and Strain reader their very own Oktoberfest brew kit. Oktoberfest may be over on October 3, but you’ll be able to enjoy your brew for as long as you want.
Can’t wait and want a kit now? Visit Craft a Brew’s website and get 20% off an Oktoberfest Brew Kit with promo code PROST now through October 3!
Ready to get in the DIY spirit? Enter now and get up to 9 entries to win by entering below. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST Wednesday September 28th, 2016. Entrants must live in the continental US and be 21+ only please! For more information on Craft a Brew, check out their website at craftabrew.com today! Good luck!
Sadly, peaches are quickly disappearing from the farmer’s market this month so I thought I’d give them one final nod before we go full into Fall this week.
I don’t know about yours, but since it is the end of the season, my peaches are starting to look a little worse for wear. They’re RIPE, and maybe not so pretty looking anymore. When this happens, I fire up the grill and send them on their way Viking style (on fire).
Today just happens to be yet another drink holiday, but one I tend to enjoy: Rum Punch. Yes, even Rum Punch gets its own day now. But you know, Tuesday is a good enough reason too to enjoy one of these cocktails.
Keeping it simple, but full of flavor, this punch gets a double peach kick from grilled and caramelized peaches and a few good glugs of Bundaberg’s Sparkling Peach brew. We’re big fans of Bundaberg’s ginger beer so we thought we’d try their sparkling brewed drinks too.
The final rum punch comes together with an aged rum, fresh lime juice and the peaches. It tastes a bit tropical, with juicy peach flavors and a sour bite from the lime juice. The rum rounds it out with earthy notes and the sparkling peach gives it a pleasant, but not overpowering, bubbly lift. Nice and simple.
Yields 2-3 drinks
1/2 peach, sliced
2 ounces freshly squeezed lime juice
4 ounces aged rum
Bundaberg Premium Peach Sparkling Brew*
- Lightly oil a grill or grill pan over medium high heat. Grill peaches until soft and with noticeable grill lines. Flip sides once or twice to fully cook through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the grill and let the peaches cool.
- In a small pitcher, muddle 2/3 of the peach slices with the lime juice. Add in the rum and let sit, refrigerated, for at least an hour (mixture can sit up to 8 hours).
- When ready to serve, top mixture with the Bundaberg Premium Peach Sparkling Brew and stir gently. Pour over ice and garnish drinks with remaining peach slices.
We’re closing out #AppleWeek on the site with a collection of our favorite apple cocktail recipes. Hope we’ve inspired you to go out apple picking this Fall and bring home a bushel or two for your Fall cocktails. Enjoy!
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but keep those apple cocktails coming.
We’re squeezing in apples every which way now that Fall is almost here. Apple shaped ice in an apple ice bucket? I wouldn’t bat an eyelash at that. A couple of big ol’ cinnamon sticks make perfectly fine cocktail stirrers when we’re talking apples. But you’ll need a giant one to stir that punch bowl of spiked apple cider. And you’re spiking it with Apple Jack, correct? And what will you top your apple cocktail off with… bitters and shrubs (made from apples of course).
Switchel is a delicious non-alcoholic drink that was enjoyed as far back as the 17th century and was what we talked about on the site yesterday. You can read more about that here! But if you just want to get to the cocktails, well then let’s do that!
The base of this cocktail starts with our Autumn Apple Cider Switchel recipe and then gets a kick from Añejo Tequila and floral lime juice. I see it as that clashing of seasons in September where you want it to be Autumn but the thermometer reminds you it’s still summer. I could have gone my usual full Fall route here and made this with a gold rum (as my Apple Cider Warm Up I make every October contains. There’s no real recipe for that–mainly apple cider and rum thrown together in a stock pot on the stove while adults imbibe and dangerously carve pumpkins. Do so at your own risk.). However, the aged tequila brings out those spice notes but still keeps the drink light and refreshing while the limes gives another sour and sweet layer to the drink.
3 ounces Autumn Apple Cider Switchel
1-1/2 ounces Añejo Tequila, 1800 Tequila used here
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
apple slices for garnish
In a mixing glass, combine the Autumn Apple Cider Switchel, Añejo Tequila and lime juice over ice. Stir 20 seconds to chill and strain into a double rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with apple slices.
About a year ago I saw an article about a new (very old) elixir riding on the coattails of the cocktail world’s shrub renaissance. This drink’s name: Switchel. I think switchel sounds a bit more fun than shrub. Shrub sounds like the friend you have who won’t go out on a Thursday night because they have to turn in a term paper the following Monday and need the time to study. Switchel sounds more like that friend calling you at 4am asking if you want to get doughnuts.
Anyway, Switchel quietly died down and I completely forgot about the saved article. I continued on with shrubs despite the name. (see here here and here) Recently though I remembered I had saved this article and revisited it again. More likely out of my desperation for it to be Fall already, I was looking for recipe ideas using apples. Instead it uses apple cider vinegar, a starting point I’d use to adapt to my own Autumnal tipple.
Switchel recipes are all basically the same plus or minus an ingredient or two. It also batches really well. So you can mix up at gallon of it Sunday night and drink it all week.
Guys! Maybe I should back up here a second and remind you that switchel is NON ALCOHOLIC. Just like a shrub it contains no alcohol, but you can use it as a base for your cocktail creations. I even have a recipe for you I’ll link to. The flavor of this switchel on its own is sharp and tangy and almost like drinking a cocktail, or at least that’s what you tell yourself if you’re -cough- well into your second trimester and desperately miss cocktails. So, pregnant ladies out there, you’re welcome.
For my variation on a switchel, I added in some of my favorite Fall flavors: cinnamon, green cardamom, cloves and steeped that in a base of apple cider vinegar, ginger and maple syrup. The spices are subtle when compared to the strong, zingy ginger, but I like that those flavors are not too overpowering. The apple cider vinegar provides a sharp sour contrast that you can adjust by adding or subtracting the water from the mix. Personally I like that sour flavor and I find the drink quite refreshing. If you’ve found shrubs to be a bit too strong for you, you definitely might want to scale back on the vinegar and up the water a bit; taste and see.
Autumn Apple Cider Switchel
1 5″-piece fresh ginger (about 6 ounces)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
4 cups water
2 4-6″ pieces of cinnamon
6 green cardamon pods, lightly crushed
4 cloves, whole
Pass ginger through a juicer (you should have about ⅓ cup). Strain the juice through a fine sieve to remove any larger pieces. Combine ginger juice, vinegar, maple syrup, and water in a large container and stir until maple syrup is dissolved. Add in cinnamon sticks. And then put the cloves and cardamom pods into a tea filter bag (Bags are not necessary but help in collecting all the bits later on. I prefer the bags with the drawstring for easy collection later on.) and add to the mix. Refrigerate overnight or at least 12 hours.
When ready to drink, remove the cinnamon sticks and the bagged spices. Switchel can be drunk as is, over ice with a splash of lemon juice or in a cocktail.
And speaking of cocktails, we’ll have an end of Summer cocktail using the Autumn Apple Cider Switchel here tomorrow! Enjoy!
I seriously received no less than 6 emails from PR companies pitching me “Labor-less cocktail ideas” over the past two weeks. Eye rolling aside, I get it. No one wants to spend time outside at their Labor Day BBQ making single drink requests for every person that stops by. It’s time for PITCHERS OF COCKTAILS! And I have a few ideas for you guys. Check them out below.