Well, November is here. Halloween has past and winter hibernation is starting to look more and more appealing so it’s time to stay at home and keep warm. The upside - it is time to start planning those holiday parties and preparing cocktails that will warm your heart and soul.
As the weather turns and gets chilly (if you live in that part of the world), it is necessary to adjust your cocktail menu. That doesn’t mean going straight for steaming hot drinks just yet—though I'm certainly not opposed to a good Hot Toddy, Buttered Rum (cover photo), or Irish Coffee, but now is the time for richer, more full-bodied spirits and libations.
Whether you’d rather sip on a glass of Scotch with Thanksgiving dinner or make a delightfully rich, seasonal cocktail containing apple, cinnamon, honey, or spices, these drinks will get you in the mood to party November-style.
A lovely deep red and aromatic concoction that requires some planning and time to prepare, but definitely a unique libation for Thanksgiving to pair with the cranberry sauce.
- 1.5 oz Gin
- 3/4 oz Campari
- 1 oz Maple beet shrub
- Glass: Rocks or Coupe straight up
Prep - Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker or mixing glass. Shake well and strain into rocks glass with fresh ice or strain without ice into a fancy cocktail coupe.
Maple Beet Shrub
- 4 medium-sized beets
- 1 one-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Prep - Peel the beets, cut each into eight wedges, and add to a 1-quart jar along with the ginger, mustard seeds and bay leaf.
In a saucepan, combine the vinegar, maple syrup and salt with 1 cup of water. Stir to combine and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour enough liquid into the prepared jar to cover the beets and let cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate for at least 12 hours and up to 2 weeks, shaking the jar every few days to distribute the flavors. Makes 1 quart.
Pear Brandy Sidecar
- 1.5 oz Pear Brandy or Calvados
- 1 oz Cointreau
- 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
- Garnish: Sugar rim (optional)
- Glass: Cocktail
Prep - Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into a cocktail glass.
Even though coffee and espresso deserve to be celebrated year-round, November 23 is officially National Espresso Day. This swanky Martini, invented in the ’80s, is the epitome of coffee decadence and perfect for getting a caffeine buzz. Shake up some vodka, Kahlua, fresh homemade honey syrup, and freshly brewed espresso and garnish with three espresso beans to create this classic.
British bartender Dick Bradsell invented this now-classic drink, a.k.a. the Vodka Espresso, at Fred’s Club in London in the late ’80s. Legend has it that Kate Moss asked for a drink that would “wake me up and then fuck me up” at the same time.
- 2 oz Vanilla Vodka, such as Stoli Vanil
- 1/2 oz honey syrup
- 1/2 oz Kahlúa
- 1 oz or shot of freshly brewed espresso or strong coffee
- Garnish: 3 coffee beans
- Glass: Cocktail
Prep - Add all of the ingredients to a shaker filled with ice and shake. Fine-strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with 3 coffee beans.
This cocktail truly is fall in a glass. Apple and pear brandies, amontillado sherry, maple syrup and apple bitters make up this sweet spirit-forward drink. Garnish with a dehydrated pear crisp or dried apple chip for a crunchy garnish, and spritz or sprinkle with an allspice tincture for a hint of spice.
This fall-forward combination of pear brandy, applejack and sherry is versatile enough to be served cold or as a warm Toddy.
- 1.5 oz Laird’s Applejack
- 1/2 oz Amontillado sherry
- 1/4 oz or splash of Pear Brandy
- 1/2 oz Maple syrup
- 3 dashes Apple bitters (check online or Amazon or look up recipe for making homemade)
- Garnish: Dehydrated pear crisp
- Glass: Rocks
Prep - Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Stir, and strain over one large hand-carved ice cube. Spray with allspice tincture atomizer (optional) or sprinkle seeds, garnish with pear crisp and serve on a burning maple leaf (optional).