I failed at posting a Hanukkah recipe. I had one in my head but never got around to making it. I guess I'll just have to save it for next year. This seems to always happen to me when it comes to holiday recipes. Even this post, a cocktail to ring in the New Year, almost didn't happen. Vijay, Brandon and I had talked a few weeks ago about doing another What I Drink post, since we had such a blast with the first one. We're a few guys who not only love food, but enjoy getting creative with our cocktails. And whenever a holiday comes around, you can bet that the three of us have come up with a creative beverage to go with the celebratory feast. But, as I said, we were pretty close to not succeeding in our second installment.
I'm so glad we stuck to our guns, though. Each of us have come up with drinks that use seasonal ingredients and somewhat underused booze. Brandon's working with champagne and infused brandy. And Vijay did a little switch up by putting mezcal in his version of a Blood and Sand, and cranberries are always a wonderful addition to a cocktail, both in flavor and color.
As for this little concoction I mixed together, well, it took me a little while until I figured out exactly what I wanted to make. Originally, I had a hot toddy in mind, but I'd been anxious to try out this little cider syrup trick and I've already posted an apple hot toddy... so that was out. Then I considered doing something with mezcal (I know, I'm obsessed), but when I looked in our cabinet, I found that we were all out (GAH!). So, I went with Scotch. Despite my love for a little single-malt goodness, I've never had it paired with other ingredients. Well, I'm hooked now. Don't be skeptical. Try it, and you will be too. Promise.
I'm not sure I'll be able to whip up something for next week. I might just take a little time off. We'll have to see. Then again, if there's some free time and I'm inspired, you may see me pop up here. If not, I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.
Happy Hanukkah. Merry Christmas. Enjoy your Kwanza. Or your Festivus.
Oh, and happy New Year.
The Cider Mill (Scotch/Apple Cider Cocktail)
Yields: 6 drinks
For the cider syrup
3 cups apple cider
3 star anise
2 inch piece of ginger, peeled
For the cocktail
10 oz single malt Scotch (nothing too peaty, I used Tomatin)
2 tablespoons Amaro Luxano
3-4 dashes Grapefruit bitters
1.5 oz lemon juice
1. Add apple cider, star anise and ginger slice to a pot and set over high heat. Boil until the cider reduces to 2/3 cup or until it reaches a thin syrup consistency. Let cool. Remove star anise and ginger.
2. In a large bowl, mix together cider syrup, Scotch, Amaro, grapefruit bitters and lemon juice.
3. Add 8-10 ice cubes to bowl and give it a good stir with a spoon or ladle. Let sit for 10 minutes to let the ice melt a little. This will dilute the drink slightly. Ladle drink into punch cups and rub each rim with lemon peel.