Summer officially comes to an end September 21. Did you notice? While the heat and humidity show no sign of abating, and it is probably a little premature to bust out the Isotoners and scarves, we can at least pretend the leaves are changing to their fall colors with a few autumn-inspired cocktails.
Friday Happy Hour: Great Grapes of Fire!
Grapes may not seem like a fall fruit, but harvest is happening as you read. And ginger probably doesn’t sound like a ready complement, but they make a pretty dynamic duo. Today is just full of surprises, isn’t it?
Bombay Sapphire’s Ginger Grape Martini is a straight slap to the taste buds. Muddle and mix one up and get this weekend started right.
Ginger Grape Martini
- 1½ parts Bombay Sapphire
- 1½ parts white cranberry juice
- 4 pieces of fresh ginger (½-inch cubes)
- 8 fresh white grapes
Muddle ginger, grapes and juice in a cocktail shaker. Add Bombay Sapphire and ice; shake vigorously. Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Enjoy!
*Recipe courtesy of Bombay Sapphire.
Saturday Night Fever: The Perfect Pear
Few fruits imbue the flavor of fall as much as pear. Pears take me back to when I was child, impatiently waiting for the Harry & David delivery that officially started the Christmas countdown. Nowadays, the holidays seem to fly by in a blink, making me wax poetically about the good old days.
Well, now that I’m wearing big boy pants, I no longer have to wait for the fruit delivery to incite fall; I simply pour some poire into an adult beverage. Grey Goose’s Wandering Poet is a superb mix of the exotic and sentiment, a great way to ease into fall and the perfect cocktail companion while perusing the Great Big Toys R Us holiday catalog, circling my Christmas wishes.
- 1½ oz. Grey Goose La Poire
- 1 oz. Sake
- 1 oz. Lychee puree
- 1 oz. lime juice
- ½ oz. simple syrup
- 1 strip pickled ginger
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a mint leaf.
*Recipe and image courtesy of Grey Goose.
Sunday Funday: When the weather outside is frightful ...
Okay, I know it’s not cold. But this summer seems endless—like 20 months long. And cripes, if retail stores can start rolling out their Halloween merchandise, I can have a cold weather cocktail. So I’m cranking down the AC, dusting off the Cosby sweater and whipping up a few piping hot Pumpkin Buttered Rums this weekend.
This warm and buttery—that’s right, butter ... honey badger don’t care—is, well, just awesome. Cheers!
Pumpkin Buttered Rum
- ¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
- ¾ cup light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup pumpkin butter (see recipe below)
- 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice
- Dark rum
- Boiling water
Mix butter, brown sugar, pumpkin butter, pumpkin spice and a pinch of salt using a mixer on a low setting. In a mug, add 2 tablespoons of the mixture and 2 oz. of rum. Fill glass with boiling water; stir to mix. Garnish with whipped cream and a light dusting of pumpkin pie spice.
♦ ♦ ♦
This recipe is a little complicated, a tad in-depth, but the end result is well worth the work. Because it is only September, some of these ingredients might be a little hard to come by, especially the pumpkin butter. The following recipe is quick and simple to whip-up that uses readily available ingredients, and the left over pumpkin butter makes for a great snack on toast.
- 1 can (29 oz.) of pumpkin puree
- 1¼ cup apple cider*
- 1½ teaspoons ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 cup light brown sugar**
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
In a large saucepan, combine pumpkin puree, cider, spices and sugar. Stirring well, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 30 minutes, or until thickened. STIR FREQUENTLY; this stuff will burn quickly and taste pretty awful.
*Many recipes call for apple juice. I, for one, prefer cider because it has a little extra bite. For a thicker consistency, use ¾ cup of cider; for a thinner butter, bump the dosage up—experiment.
**As for sugar, I prefer the taste of brown sugar. For those opposed, use 1 to 1½ cups of white or cane sugar.
If you would like to nominate a cocktail recipe to appear in our latest series "Weekend Cocktails," email the online editor here.
Tools of the Trade
Become a master mixologist, or at least look like one, with the tools that make the trade.
- Muddler: This little tenderizing stick is a godsend and a must for any home bar. If fruity cocktails are in your future, the muddler is the only way to unlock fruits’ flavor.
- Handheld Citrus Juicer: Nothing beats freshly squeezed juice, but it can be a pain. Invest in a handheld citrus juicer; they are cheap and do the trick tout de suite.
- Cocktail Shaker: Don’t be a chump stirring your martini like a noob; purchase a nice shaker and become a master home barkeep.
- Jigger: This little apparati will make mixing the perfect drink as easy as pie. It's equipped with 1½ oz. and ¾ oz. cups for perfectly measured pours every time.
*Pictured available at Williams-Sonoma