Gingerbread Winter Warm Up

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur. Recipe and ideas are my own.

Do you have a holiday cookie tradition? I think I may have perfected my gingerbread cookie recipe this year. I mean, I’m using Thomas Keller’s Bouchon recipe as the base, so you really can’t go wrong with that. But, it is the first year that I made a cookie like this that didn’t just separate and spread all over the cookie sheet pan. I’ve yet to find my perfect sugar cookie recipe though. That I can never get right and that always spreads and won’t hold its shape. So, we all have to go without any holiday cookies that are gingerbread; thankfully no one complains. Sorry Santa.

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comWhile making these cookies I thought about how great the baking spices would be in a cocktail. Sure, we see lots of dashes of cinnamon or nutmeg this time of year, but those in combination with an intense ginger flavor…well we’ve got a perfect pair for some whiskey and a hot cocktail. I refer to these heated cocktails during holiday time as winter warm ups. They’re a great companion to a fireplace and a pair of hands in need of warmth.

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.com

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThis month I’ve teamed up with Kerrygold Irish Cream to make my perfect fireside winter warm up with all the wonderful baking spices found in these gingerbread cookies. It packs a punch of ginger but also has lots of nice spice from the Irish whiskey, and that touch of chocolate and cream in the Kerrygold adds a superb richness to the drink that doesn’t get watered down. And that’s probably because they use real chocolate, and the cream used to make the liqueur comes from grass-fed cows and is a third creamier than what you usually find on the market. You can alter the hot water amount in here to your liking; I keep it around 3 ounces. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you might think about making your own whipped cream and adding some gingerbread syrup to the mix for a super dose of yummy gingerbread-ness (I did. It’s so worth it! Just a tablespoon is all you need to add to your canister.).

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comAfter making this cocktail I need to rethink my gingerbread recipe and add a little chocolate and whiskey and there too now. Then it will be perfect.

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comLet’s get warmed up!

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up (makes two drinks)

3 ounces Irish whiskey
1-1/2 ounces Kerrygold Irish Cream
1-1/2 ounces gingerbread syrup, see recipe below
3 dashes Angostura bitters
6-8 ounces hot water (just under boiling)
whipped cream, optional

In a mixing glass, add the Irish whiskey, Kerrygold Irish Cream, gingerbread syrup and bitters. Stir to combine everything and divide between two glasses. Pour in 3-4 ounces of hot water into each glass and stir gently to combine. Optionally top with whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon.

Gingerbread Winter Warm Up with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.com

Gingerbread Syrup

Adapted from Le Pain Quotidien
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tbsp ground ginger (or 3 slices, 1/4″ thick fresh ginger with skin on)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil. Lower temperature and keep at a simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, strain fresh ginger out if using, and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, place in an air-tight container. Refrigerate up to one month.

Make or Buy: Allspice Liqueur

Make or Buy: Allspice Liqueur // stirandstrain.comAllspice liqueur. Allspice dram. Pimento dram. Christmas in a bottle. Whatever you call it, this fragrant, spicy liqueur is an essential item in lots of drinks, especially of the Tiki kind. In fact, I believe the first time I came across this ingredient was while I was trying to make all the drinks from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s classic cocktail book, Grog Log. I rushed out to get a bottle and found that I was out of luck. 7 years ago not many liquor stores out there were carrying it, and this was in Los Angeles, a major city where you’re supposed to find everything.

Make or Buy: Allspice Liqueur // stirandstrain.comLuckily in my search to source hard to find ingredients two things happened:

  1. I found a handful of stores that actually stocked most of these unusual items
  2. I got my hands on recipes to make what I couldn’t find

So now I always had two choices when it came to hard to find bottles, make or buy. And that brings us to today and our first item in this new series on the site, allspice liqueur.

Make or Buy: Allspice Liqueur // stirandstrain.comLet’s start with what you can buy. While there are a few companies making the product, the first one I found on the market, and the brand that I’ve found the easiest to buy, is St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram. There are multiple online liquor stores that will ship it to you if your state allows that. The St. Elizabeth brand is dark amber in color and very heavy on the clove. It’s not too sweet or syrupy and has secondary spices in the nose and flavor such as cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper. The price point hovers around $24-$30.

Make or Buy: Allspice Liqueur // stirandstrain.comOn the other hand you can make the liqueur. Allspice berries can be found in bulk online for relatively cheap meaning you can scale up or down depending on your needs. For example, local favorite bar The Tong Hut makes their own allspice liqueur for all their drinks so they can buy in large bags and make a giant batch. But, you also can make a much smaller amount if you’re only sparingly using it. Infusing takes some time, around 4 weeks. And you’ll need to invest in a base liquor. This method allows for much flexibility in flavors as you can use anything from a neutral spirit (like Everclear) to an aged rum (like Appleton 12 year). My version using the recipe below has a balanced flavor of baking spices. I chose not to go too heavy on the clove (personal preference) so this recipe is much more subtle than the St. Elizabeth in that respect. The color is also more golden and cloudy. The mouthfeel is more rich and syrupy. It’s definitely allspice, but a different version than the store-bought.

Make or Buy: Allspice Liqueur // stirandstrain.comThere are definite pros and cons for each option. While St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram is easy to come by where I am, and I’m in a state that I can get liquor shipped to my house, YOU might not have either option available to you. And while anyone can get some allspice berries shipped to their house, YOU may or may not be into a project that will take up to a month to get a finished product.

And how do they compare in a cocktail? To test out the flavors in a drink, I chose the drink Jasper’s Jamaican from Beachbum Berry’s Intoxica. With the simple ingredients of rum, fresh lime juice, allspice liqueur and simple syrup, I figured I could gauge how each would play out in a cocktail.

Make or Buy: Allspice Liqueur // stirandstrain.comThe result? They both work great. While the flavors in the cocktails have some differences, mainly there is more spicy clove in the St. Elizabeth than in my home version, they are not drastically different to say one would work better than the other.

So now you have two choices when it comes to allspice liqueur. Want convenience and a proven brand? Gor for the St. Elizabeth! Want a DIY project that you can customize? Make your own! You’ll end up with a good one no matter which path you choose.

Allspice Liqueur

1-1/4 cups 151 rum
1/4 cup allspice berries, lightly crushed
1 2″ piece of cinnamon
3 whole cloves
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup Appleton 12 year rum

First, combine 151 rum, allspice berries, cinnamon, and cloves in an airtight container (I like using ball jars for this). Seal and shake gently to combine. Let sit 2 weeks in a cool, dry place, shaking once every day or so.

Next, strain the solids (I like to use nut bags for this to make sure all the particles get caught). Make a simple syrup by combining the sugar and water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat. Whisk to dissolve the sugar, bring to just under a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes and then let cool to room temp.

Finally, combine the allspice base, the simple syrup and add in the Appleton 12 year rum. Seal and let rest for an additional 2 to 3 weeks in a cool, dry place. Start tasting at 2 weeks and let rest an additional week if you’re not completely happy with the taste.

Pairing Rosé with Apples, 3 Ways With 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé

Apple Appetizers Three Ways with 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with 90+ Cellars. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Here is Southern California, September is a tricky month. While much of the country is starting to get cooler temps and fall into sweater weather, here we get scorching temperatures. Weirdly, if you journey into the mountains, barely an hour away, the apple farms are heavy with fruit ready to be picked; there’s a bit of a disconnect. But that means we can continue to savor summer just a little bit longer and make some cocktail and wine choices that transition between these two seasons nicely.

Apple Appetizers Three Ways with 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé // stirandstrain.comToday we’ve partnered with 90+ Cellars to show you how you can meld a summery, sparkling rosé wine with fresh Autumn apples. It’s what to make when you’ve over-picked at the orchard and bought way too much cider.

The 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé is made from Pinot Noir grapes planted in vineyards throughout the regions of Trentino and Alto Adige in Northern Italy. It is vinified as a dry rosé prior to second fermentation using the Charmat method. What does that mean you ask? The second fermentation happens in a tank as opposed to the wine bottle. This method preserves the flavor and aroma and allows for quicker production, without sacrificing taste. (Throw that fact out at a dinner party!)

Apple Appetizers Three Ways with 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé // stirandstrain.com

With a light bubbliness, aromas of berries and rose, and a slight acidity, pairing with sweet, tart apples is a perfect pair. These three dishes we’ve picked out work as part of an appetizer spread, on their own, or even as part of a larger meal, and they all pair very well with this rosé.

“Holiday entertaining” might still be a few months away, but we think there’s always a reason to celebrate with a party and this transitional time between months, with a few extra hours of sunlight left in the day, is definitely reason enough for us! Now on to the pairings!

Apple Appetizers Three Ways with 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé // stirandstrain.comTo start: Apple Jelly with cured ham and Manchego

  • An easy and quick appetizer to assemble! On water crackers or bread, layer a piece of cured ham, Manchego cheese, and a dollop of apple jelly. The fattiness of the meat and cheese with the smooth, sweetness of the apple jelly pair are lovely with the small bubbles of the wine.

Apple Appetizers Three Ways with 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé // stirandstrain.comPalate cleanser: Sweet and Spicy Apple Granita (full recipe below)

  • Enjoy this cool treat on its own, or between meals as a palate cleanser. Just don’t forget your wine! That acidity in the rosé pairs with the slight acidity found in the apple cider and lemon juice in the granita.

Apple Appetizers Three Ways with 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé // stirandstrain.comWith the main meal: Spiced Apple Chutney (full recipe below)

  • While a rich, spiced chutney might seem like a heavy match for rosé, the 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé lightens the dish up and the spices work really well together. The chutney can be enjoyed on a slice of toasted bread, or alongside a main dish like pork.
Apple Appetizers Three Ways with 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Sparkling Rosé // stirandstrain.com

Sweet and Spicy Apple Granita

3 cups apple cider
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1-1/2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

In a medium sized sauce pan, combine all the ingredients and bring to just under a boil. Remove from heat and whisk to combine. Pour into a 9×12 baking pan and place in the freezer. After 30-45 minutes, whisk mixture to break up any ice chunks. Wait one hour and with a fork, scrape through the mixture so that it is chunky. Wait an additional hour and scrape the fork through again, fluffing up the mixture. Freeze until ready to serve.

Spiced Apple Chutney

(adapted from Cooking Light)

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 diced and peeled apples (I used Gala)
1/4 cup seedless raisins
1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water

Heat a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add shallots; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add apple; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in raisins, mustard seeds, sugar, pepper, cloves, ginger and salt. Add vinegar and 2 tablespoons water; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until apples are tender and most of liquid is absorbed. Serve warm or let cool and transfer to an air-tight container. Refrigerate for up to one week.

 

If you’d like to find out more about 90+ Cellars Lot 49 Rosé and all their wines, please visit them at: ninetypluscellars.com/

Kerrygold Campfire S’Mores Cocktail

Dessert Cocktails with Kerry Gold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Kerrygold Irish Cream. Recipe and ideas are my own.

What happens when you combine chocolate-y Kerrygold Irish Cream, amaro, beer, a slight mist of smokey Islay Scotch and a blow torch?! One amazing dessert beer cocktail! You don’t need to an actual campfire to enjoy these S’Mores Campfire cocktails.

Kerrygold Campfire Cocktail

2 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream
.5 oz amaro
2-3 oz Smoked Porter beer
Mist of a Smoky Islay Scotch
Marshmallow
Dash cinnamon

In a mixing glass, combine Kerry Gold Irish Cream and amaro over ice. Stir to chill 20 seconds. Pour in beer and stir gently to combine. Strain over fresh ice into a double rocks glass or large stem glass. Mist scotch over the top of the cocktail. To garnish, spear a marshmallow on a cocktail pick, set over the glass, ignite with a kitchen torch or long match, and sprinkle cinnamon on top (watch for sparks!). Blow the flame out and enjoy!

24 Karat Irish Coffee whiskey - Chila 'Orchata - spiced coffee - coconut cream - gold

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Chila ‘Orchata. Recipe and ideas are my own.

Next week is St. Patrick’s Day, and while some of you out there might be stockpiling green food coloring and cheap beer, I implore you, back away from that green squeeze bottle and pick up… a coffee.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comNow there might be some purists out there who like their Irish Coffee in the straight, no nonsense way: Irish whiskey, coffee, cream. And that’s all good and fine, but I did not create this website to just stick to the classics. So, for those of you looking for a way to make an Irish Coffee even better (yes, I am saying I like my version better), then let’s talk about how to do just that.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comI’ll just say that we’re going to leave the Irish whiskey where it is; you really don’t need to change that part. But now here’s the fun parts: Chila ‘Orchata and spiced coffee syrup. Today we’re teaming up with Chila ‘Orchata, the most delicious blend of Puerto Rican rum, real dairy cream, Tahitian vanilla, and cinnamon, to make an iced version of this classic drink. Why iced? Because I drink about 3 cups of iced coffee a day and prefer that over hot. Also, I get to make more yummy coffee syrup this week and change it up by adding some warm spices to it. Playing off of the vanilla and cinnamon in the Chila ‘Orchata, I’m adding some additional cinnamon and star anise to the coffee syrup; it’ll be a warm spice bomb to the chilled booze.

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.comAnd while you could definitely top yours off with plain old whipped cream, I’m going the coconut cream route with just a touch of sweetness from maple syrup. You can actually pick up coconut whipped cream at the grocery store now, but if you have a can of coconut cream at home and a whipper, I’m including how to make it in the notes below. The coconut cream pairs really well with the cinnamon and spices, and I prefer mine barely sweetened to offset the sweetness in the drink (another plus to making your own coconut whipped cream is the ability to control the sugar going into it).

Because it’s not St. Patrick’s Day without a little gold, I’m garnishing the whole thing with edible gold leaf. It maaaay be too pretty to drink, but I’ll try anyway. And I hope you do too! Cheers!

24 Karat Irish Coffee with Chila 'Orchata // stirandstrain.com24 Karat Irish Whiskey

2 ounces Irish whiskey
1 ounce Chila ‘Orchata
1 ounce spiced coffee syrup, see recipe below
1 shot espresso, chilled (optional, see note below)
whipped coconut cream (see note below)
edible gold leaf

In a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, combine the Irish whiskey, Chila ‘Orchata, spiced coffee syrup and espresso shot, if using. Shake for 20 seconds and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Top with whipped coconut cream and a gold leaf garnish.

Spiced Coffee Syrup

½ cup strong espresso
¾ cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise, whole

Combine espresso with sugar in a saucepan over medium high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Bring to almost a boil and lower to a simmer. Add cinnamon and star anise. Reduce until thickened about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. Will keep up to 2 weeks.

Notes:

  • If you like your coffee bev to be even more coffee-y, you can add in an additional shot of espresso.
  • To make your own coconut whipped cream using a whip cream canister: add the solids from a can of chilled coconut cream (refrigerate the can for 3+ hours in advance) into the canister with about one tablespoon of the coconut water from the can. Then pour in 2-3 tablespoons of maple syrup to taste or leave out if you prefer unsweetened. Attach the nozzle, give a good shake to combine, and charge the canister with N2O. Store in the fridge until ready to use. Will keep for 2-3 days refrigerated. I use this whipped cream dispenser and these N2O cartridges.

For more information on Chila ‘Orchata, please visit their website at chilaorchata.com.

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur. Recipe and ideas are my own.

For a little over 3-1/2 years now I’ve been freelancing full time and while I love the multitude of perks that come with that (slippers! showers at 10am! Punch R&D before noon!) around holiday time I miss one of the best perks about working in an office: the vendor gift baskets.

They start sometime around Thanksgiving. You can always tell which vendor made a whoops that year by the size of the gift basket. Oh hey guys, let’s forget about trying to install that wrong range in the restaurant, instead, look at all this CANDY AND BOOZE we’ve sent you!!!!

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThere was the ubiquitous popcorn balls (bleck), the really cheap wine (Ok, we can try that come 3pm on Friday) and my favorite, the bon bon boxes. You know the ones: giant, golf ball sized chocolates filled and flavored with all kinds of fruits and nuts. The chocolate raspberry? Oh yeah, that’s mine thanks.

This week we’ve teamed up with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur to recreate a drinkable version of that indulgent treat. Kerrygold Irish Cream is made in Ireland with milk from grass-fed cows so it is SO rich and SO creamy, and the chocolate is real, not just flavoring, which you definitely want if you’re making a cocktail like this. With a hint of oaky Irish Whiskey it’s rich treat on it’s own but also fantastic for mixing in a cocktail. This drink is super simple to whip up and I’m giving you guys the option to either make your own raspberry syrup, or buy it, because sometimes… you just can’t.

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comAlso, FOLKS!!! If I’ve inspired you to grab a bottle of Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur just a head’s up that they’re giving away a trip to NYC for TWO to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Stir up your own cocktail and submit it online for a chance to win this fab trip (21+ USA residents only please!). Full details here: https://www.kerrygoldirishcream.com/NYC Contest runs from November 13, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

So let’s treat ourselves and make a cocktail!

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comChocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail

1-1/2 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur
1 oz vodka
1/4 oz Allspice dram
3/4 oz Raspberry syrup (recipe below or use store bought, we recommend Monin)
3 raspberries and Cinnamon for garnish

In a mixing glass 2/3 filled with ice, combine Kerrygold Irish Cream, vodka, allspice dram, and raspberry syrup. Stir 20 seconds to chill and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with raspberries and a dusting of cinnamon for garnish.

Raspberry Syrup

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 pint raspberries

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water. Stir to dissolve and add raspberries. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain into an airtight container. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Extras

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle blueberry - coconut - tequila

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle // stirandstrain.com

This post is brought to you by Tres Agaves Tequila. Recipes and ideas are my own.

All of my cocktails tend to take on a blue hue this time of year, even if I’m not setting out to make something patriotic. More than anything, I really just love putting blueberries in drinks right now. But what happens when those blueberries are out of season? We’ve got a trick to fix that!

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle // stirandstrain.comHave you guys ever tried quick infusions with dehydrated fruit?! A few weeks back I collaborated with a local bartender on a drink and she hyped me to this technique. I thought I had pretty much exhausted all the fast and furious ways you could get some flavor infused into drinks but I’d never thought of trying it with dehydrated foods. When you crush the dehydrated fruit into the drink, it sucks up the liquid and starts to seep its flavor out. Pretty neat huh?

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle // stirandstrain.comSo today I’m swizzling up tequila and dehydrated blueberries alongside creamy coconut milk and a little spice from a cinnamon syrup you can whip up in less than a half hour. For an extra kick, Angostura bitters is floated on top. We chose to work with 100% estate grown agaves Tres Agaves Tequila because of it’s slightly spicy flavor profile and subtle sweet and grassy aroma; it was the perfect match for our cocktail creation.

The swizzle is a super refreshing cocktail that has a lovely silky mouthfeel and let’s the tequila shine. It has a nice balance of having just enough sweet to balance out the spice while surprising you with new combinations of flavors as the ice settles and the blueberries permeate the cocktail.

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle // stirandstrain.comHope you guys enjoy this over the (long) weekend! If you try it, let us know what you think!

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle // stirandstrain.com1-1/2 ounces Tres Agaves Blanco Tequila
1 ounce coconut milk (full fat)
3/4 ounce cinnamon syrup (see recipe here)
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 cup dehydrated blueberries, lightly crushed (we used Crunchies* here!)
1/4 ounce of Angostura bitters

In a Collins glass, combine Tres Agaves Tequila, coconut milk, cinnamon syrup, and lime juice. Fill glass halfway with crushed ice and swizzle about 20 seconds. Add blueberries and more crushed ice to the glass. Float Angostura on top.

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle // stirandstrain.comFor more information on Tres Agaves Tequila, please visit their site at tresagaves.com

For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page!

Spiced Pear Fizz Cocktails

This post is brought to you by Everclear. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Are you browsing sites that are still offering to ship presents before Christmas? I am. I could have sworn I was done a week ago but there keeps popping up a missed gift or two. I’ve had to shoot a text to a few family members letting them know that their present might not make it in time (I wasn’t about to call and admit I forgot); an issue when your entire family lives 3,000 miles away and everything has to be handled by the post office or UPS and it’s obvious when you just plumb forgot.

I also found myself a little sad today that the holiday party season is coming to a close. My quota of warm punches and bottled cocktails was definitely not met. BUT! We still have New Years and I’ve been thinking about the perfect cocktail to serve for that, the last of the year’s parties.

I love the juicy, slightly citrus flavor that pears impart to cocktails and love them even more when they cozy up to some strong baking spices. My signature NYE cocktail will have all that with a touch more citrus bite from fresh lemon juice and a hint of smooth, rich maple to round the whole drink out.

The base of the cocktail uses Everclear to start and I infused that with cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, green cardamom and allspice using my favorite quick infusion method (cream whipper I love you). I keep that separate so that I can tinker with the adjustments to make the final cocktail perfectly spiced; it’s just of the ways I’ve used Everclear this season for cocktails. You can check out the myriad of ways Everclear is transforming craft cocktails as part of their Make It Your Own campaign.

If all these spices seem like a lot to go and buy, remember you can purchase in bulk online for cheap. I like having the option of whole spices at home for using in recipes or infusions, and when I need ground spices, I can make them fresh and keep some small jars on hand. It’s a little extra legwork up front for better tasting infusions and food down the line.

This cocktail also batches up well so, as the spiced Everclear base will make about 8 drinks. Feel free to adjust the recipe below to accommodate the number of guests you’ll be serving. No need to make individual drinks at the party this year; you can plop all this in the pitcher and mingle.

Spiced Pear Fizz Cocktail (~28 proof)

1 ounce spiced Everclear (recipe follows)
1-1/2 ounces pear nectar
1/2 ounce maple syrup
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 -4 ounces soda water, chilled
pear slices for garnish

  • Combine spiced Everclear, pear nectar, maple syrup and lemon juice in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice. Shake about 20 seconds and strain into a champagne flute. Top with chilled soda water and garnish with pear slices.

For the Quick Infused Spiced Everclear:

8 ounces Everclear
2 cinnamon sticks
4-5 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
5 dried allspice berries
1 tablespoon whole black pepper
3-4 whole cloves

  • Into a whipping canister (I use the ISI brand canister), add Everclear and spices. Screw on the top and charge with one charger of N2O. Discard charger and let the mixture sit for one minute. Release pressure, open the top and strain Everclear into a clean vessel for storage. Use spiced Everclear immediately or keep sealed in a cool, dark place for up to six months for optimal flavor.

Caramel Apple Jellies the cocktail you eat!

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.comThis post is brought to you by Everclear. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Ok everyone! Are you ready to start talking holiday entertaining? No? Wasn’t it just August?

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.comI’d say it feels that way except for this mountain of apples on my counter and the JUG of apple cider I decided was an economic buy this week. Why don’t they ever sell cider in small containers? However, I’m actually happy to have it around because it really is time to start thinking about holiday parties and batching drinks and well, making things with apple cider.

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.comAre you the person tasked every year with bringing the drinks to the party? I am. Regardless of whether I am going to a friend’s house or a relatives house, if I don’t show up with some sort of boozy concoction it’s as if I killed Rudolph and used him for the Thanksgiving Turkey. I mean, I get a lot of shade thrown at me and very raised eyebrows.

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.comThis year for the earlier Fall parties I have a new trick up my sleeve. Instead of the vast caldrons of spiked apple cider I usually inflict upon people, I’ve downsized the drink. Actually, I made the drink edible and it fits in the palm of your hand. Neat, huh?

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.comEdible cocktails have appeared a few times on this site and I stand by them as completely appropriate party “drinks”. To get in the festive Fall spirit we’re using up some of those apples you all probably have piled on your counter and, of course, that jug of apple cider. The booze portion is courtesy of Everclear. As part of their Make It Your Own campaign we’re elevating the edible cocktail into a fantastic fusion of apples, cinnamon, and rich caramel sauce. OH yeah. Caramel sauce.

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.comI made a small batch of my own caramel sauce but store bought is completely acceptable. I’ve linked to a favorite recipe of mine below if you feel up to making it from scratch (plus, if you do, it takes less than 20 minutes and tastes SO DANG GOOD).

The recipe for making these jellies easily doubles or triples depending on the size of your crowd. You can make it your own by customizing how you serve these. I hollowed out apple halves and sliced those after the jellies set (cute, right?), but you also have the option of using a mold and then popping them out to serve on their own.

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.comSo at your next pumpkin carving/Fall party/barn raising this season, show up with a tray of these Caramel Apple Jellies instead of the usual spiked cider and you will be cheered. Believe me, no one is going to miss it when they’re scarfing down these goodies.

Caramel Apple Jellies with Everclear // stirandstrain.com

Caramel Apple Jellies (approximately 35-38 proof)

4 ounces apple cider
1 packet of gelatine
2 ounces near boiling water
2 ounces Everclear
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 ounce (or 2 tablespoons) salted caramel sauce (Dessert for Two has my go-to recipe)

  1. In a large mixing glass with a spout, pour in apple cider. Sprinkle gelatine over the liquid and let it sit for 5 minutes to bloom. Then pour in near boiling water and whisk to combine. Add Everclear, cinnamon and salted caramel sauce and stir. Pour into cored apple halves or molds and let sit refrigerated for 6 hours or overnight.
  2. To remove jellies from semi-spherical molds, carefully run a small spoon around the edge and slowly invert the mold to pop out the shot. If using square or straight-sided molds, run a butter knife around the edge and slowly invert the mold to pop out the shot. For other shapes or non-flexible molds, dip the bottom of the mold in warm water for 15 seconds, invert mold onto a baking sheet, and gently tap the mold to release the jello shot.
  3. To serve from apple halves, slowly slice apple into desired thickness. Caramel Apple Jellies can be refrigerated for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Gift Guide: Falling for Apples

An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but keep those apple cocktails coming.

Gift Guide: Falling for Apples // stirandstrain.com

 

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).

1. Apple Ice Bucket 2. Apple Ice Cube Tray 3. Shrub & Co. Apple Shrub 4. Laird’s Apple Jack 5. Bar Keep Apple Bitters 6. Cinnamon Sticks 7. Large Copper Punch Bowl