Thanksgiving is just one week away – who has their before and after dinner drinks planned out?? As your personal cocktail consultant, I thought I should do a recap of a few of the Autumn cocktails I posted during Philly Craft Spirits Week, as well as give you one new one to consider for Turkey Day. I’ll rank them from easiest to most difficult, but honestly none of them are hard to make; it’s more about searching for some ingredients. Let’s start with our before dinner drinks. Just click on the cocktail’s name to be taken to the post that contains the actual recipe.
Despite the fact that it has bourbon as its base spirit, the Bourbon Cider Smash is light enough to be a before dinner drink. It’s also a great way to introduce someone to bourbon who has either never had it or thinks they don’t like it. The ingredients are pretty straightforward and easy to get. I used Bluebird Distilling’s Four Grains Bourbon which is available at the PLCB Wine and Spirits stores if you want to give it a try, but you can certainly substitute another that is your favorite.
The Chai Apple Whiskey Sour is also a bourbon drink that’s on the lighter side. If you’re a fan of whiskey sours then this is the drink for you for sure! I used Manatawney Still Works Whiskey which you can also find at the PA. state stores, but once again feel free to substitute. I ranked this cocktail as medium in difficulty only because of the extra step involved in making the Chai tea simple syrup, but it’s definitely nothing to shy away from. Don’t forget to dry shake here to get the egg white frothy, and if you’d prefer not to use eggs you always have the option of using 1 ounce of liquid from a can of chick peas.
Early Autumn is really a very easy cocktail to make but it has a few ingredients that you might not have on hand. The base spirit here is Liberty Gin from Palmer Distilling in Manayunk, which is also available for purchase in the PA. state stores. If you want to substitute, I’d go with something that’s not too botanical like Tanqueray or Beefeater or even Bluecoat if you wanted to stick with a local spirit. St. Germain is easy to find, but it can be pricy, so look for a smaller bottle if you think it’s not something you’ll use very much in the future. The Suze is trickier to locate, but if you’re local to South Jersey, I know for sure that both Canal’s in Pennsauken and Benash in Cherry Hill have it. I found the sage bitters at The Art in the Age store in Old City, but they are on their website too. You can also substitute aromatic bitters here if you wanted to. I loved this cocktail because I used a spiced pear cider instead of apple!
Moving on to after dinner drinks, my Autumn in Manhatten cocktail is as easy as it gets. It’s simply a traditional Manhatten using Punt e Mes as the sweet vermouth, and adding Velvet Falernum in for its spice drop aroma and flavor. Both can be found at Canal’s in Pennsauken along with the Dad’s Hat Rye that I used as the basis of this drink. If you’d rather not go with the Dad’s Hat, feel free to substitute a rye whiskey that you like instead.
The drink you see pictured above is actually our new cocktail for today, blending Scotch whisky and Cynar, two spirits that we’ve been talking about only recently. It’s called Presbyterian’s Revenge and it’s from foodandwine.com. I made 2 small changes to the original recipe: I used 1 1/2 oz of Dewar’s, which is a blended scotch and 1/2 oz of Laphroaig because I love the smokiness that it brings to the drink. This isn’t a necessary change, just my spin for Fall; you can stick with 2 oz of the Dewar’s instead, if you prefer. I also swapped out a regular simple syrup for a Chai tea simple because I loved the spice note it brings to the drink, but again it’s ok to stick with the regular simple if that’s what you have on hand.
1 ½ oz Dewar’s White Label Scotch
½ oz 10-year-old Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch
¾ oz Cynar
¼ ounce of lemon juice
¼ ounce of Chai tea simple syrup*
Dash of orange bitters
2 oz Q club soda
Grapefruit peel for garnishing
Add all the ingredients except the club soda and the grapefruit peel to the bottom half of a shaker tin. Add your ice (1 large, 2 small if you have them) and shake for 15-20 seconds or until very cold. Double strain into an old-fashioned glass over 1 large cube. Top with ½ ounce of club soda and garnish with a big twist of grapefruit, squeezing it over the top of the drink to spritz its oils over the surface.
And finally, It’s the Great Rye Pumpkin! rounds out our list of after dinner drinks. Once again this is an easy cocktail to make, but its ingredients may have you running a bit to get them all. Let’s start with the rye whiskey. I used Cooper River Rye in my recipe, which can be located at Benash in Cherry Hill or directly from the distillery in Camden. It’s perfectly fine to substitute your favorite rye here. The Amaro Montenegro is available at Canal’s in Pennsauken, and the Tippleman’s Burnt Sugar syrup is from the Art in the Age store. The Tippleman’s is a really fun ingredient to have on hand, but you can definitely swap it out for a regular simple syrup here. Finally, pumpkin beer should still be available, but if it’s not you can always go with a brown ale.
I hope this helps to give you a jump start on your Thanksgiving cocktail planning. Remember to batch your cocktails if you want to make enough for a crowd. See you all on Friday!