A weblog detailing cocktails, spirits, liqueurs, barware, bars, and bitters. Maintained by Michael Dietsch, a writer and hobbyist mixer in Brooklyn.
With Thanksgiving approaching, it’s time to plan for festive cocktailing! Mrs. Bitters has already started prepping our locavore Thanksgiving (there’s a story behind it being locavore, but you’ll have to wait for it), so now’s the time for me to plan my approach. I haven’t quite figured it all out yet. I know I want to get some Calvados and make a batch of sage simple syrup, so that I can mix up the Apple Sage Old Fashioned I created for the autumn issue of Edible Rhody (still on the stands, so if you’re local, grab a copy–it’s the one with the cranberry bog on front).
For my second drink, I’m still working my brain on it. In Friday’s edition of the Wall Street Journal, Malt Adovocate editor John Hansell edited a small advertising supplement on whiskeys. Included was a piece on cocktails by Gary Regan, or gaz regan as he apparently prefers to be called these days. Old gaz included four cocktails in the piece, one of which I think I’ll adapt for Thanksgiving. Here’s the gaz version:
- 1-1/2 oz. scotch
- 3/4 oz. B&B liqueur
- 1/4 oz. absinthe
- 1 lemon twist, for garnish
Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.
As gaz discusses in his piece, scotch marries well with anise flavors, and we definitely found that to be the case here.
Earlier this year, I picked up a bunch of anise hyssop from a local herbalist. Back then, I used it in a variation of the New Orleans classic cocktail, the Vieux Carre. On Saturday, when we were at the market, we stopped by the Farmacy table to pick up some local honey for Thanksgiving baking. They happened to have as well some small jars of honey infused with the anise hyssop. I immediately started thinking about cocktail applications and eagerly bought a jar. I might do a variation on the Babbling Brook. Or, I might do a scotch Sazerac instead, with a syrup made from the hyssop honey. I don’t think I’ll go wrong either way.
How about you? What Thanksgiving-themed drinks are you planning to mix this year? Do you have special Thanksgiving snacks that pair well with cocktails? Sound off in the comments!
Hey, folks. My fall 2009 column for Edible Rhody magazine is now online. As a reminder …
The focus of the column is on using seasonal, local ingredients in cocktails. Each column will have two recipes–one that I mix and one from a local bartender. Trust me, my focus will always be on classical techniques and interesting spirits.
So, now you can see whether I made good on that promise. First, though, the stunning cover:
Who knew there were cranberry bogs in Rhode Island? I didn’t! Now, the column (if you want to read the text without squinting, click here):
Photo for the article is by local photographer Chip Riegel, and boy did I have fun mixing drinks for a photoshoot at 9am.
Apple Sage Old-Fashioned
For this drink, I was inspired by traditional Thanksgiving flavors, particularly apple and sage stuffing.
- 2 ounces Calvados apple brandy
- 1/2 ounce sage simple syrup (recipe follows)
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters (when I made this at home, I used Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Bitters, which were superb in this, but aren’t for sale in Rhody as far as I know)
- Apple slice, for garnish
Build in an old-fashioned glass over ice. Add garnish.
Sage Simple Syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
Add sugar and water to a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. When sugar dissolves, remove from heat. Add sage leaves and stir. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain into a jar (discard sage leaves) and refrigerate. Will keep for one month.
photograph by the ever-loyal Jennifer Hess
Pippin’s Pear of Aces
This drink is by Providence bartender Bonnie Siharath. At the time of writing, she was at Chinese Laundry, but that restaurant closed just a week before this issue was released. I have not yet followed up to see where she’s landed. The food at Chinese Laundry was inspired by the tastes of East Asia, and this drink follows that theme.
- 1/2 fresh pear
- 1/2 stick of cinnamon
- 1 ounce Wokka Sake vodka
- 1 ounce Gray Goose pear vodka
- 1 ounce Asian pear nectar
- 1/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
- pear slice, for garnish
Gently muddle pear and cinnamon in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, vodkas, nectar, and lime juice. Shake well and strain through a tea strainer into a chilled cocktail glass. Add garnish.
My quarterly cocktail column for Edible Rhody starts in the latest issue, which is hitting stands this week. I should be able to post the full content next month, but for now, I urge anyone local to go out, grab a copy, and grab a croissant from Olga’s or a hunk of cheese from Farmstead while you’re at it.
The focus of the column is on using seasonal, local ingredients in cocktails. Each column will have two recipes–one that I mix and one from a local bartender. Trust me, my focus will always be on classical techniques and interesting spirits. There’s already enough vodka flowing in Rhode Island! Just to hint at what’s to come, it looks like my winter submission will be the Tom & Jerry, made from locally produced milk and eggs.