Category Archives: fall/winter cocktails

Happy [Vegan] Thanksgiving

The past two Thanksgivings for Ms. S&C have been meat free. This means no turkey, no Virginia ham, and when she’s visiting family in Southwestern Va., it also means no gravy and no stuffing. Some of you may be thinking “What’s left to eat?” Trust me, you can have a rich and hearty vegetarian (or vegan) Thanksgiving dinner that’s reminiscent of the one you know and love. (And it may be one you feel better about eating.)

Start off with a cocktail we’re calling the Old Fashioned Pilgrim. Adapted from Imbibe Magazine‘s Maple-Cranberry Bourbon Smashed, we used the same ingredients as those in our cranberry sauce (yes, the same sauce that’s served alongside the tofurkey).

The instructions are easy: add a tablespoon of the cranberry sauce to two and a half ounces of bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace). Stir well. Fill glass with ice and garnish with an orange twist. Enjoy a sweet and warming seasonal variation of a classic drink.

cranberryorangesauce

oldfashionedpilgrim

The Old Fashioned Pilgrim is a lot like the classic Old Fashioned but made with fresh cranberries, orange, agave nectar, and cinnamon

Enjoy this beverage while you’re putting the finishing touches on this delicious all vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner.

  • Herbed Tofurkey (we used the Quorn Turk’y and roasted with fresh parsley, rosemary, and thyme)
  • Bourbon Mashed Sweet Potatoes (we mostly followed this recipe but eliminated the cream, almost all of the butter — used vegan butter actually — and the brown sugar)
  • Chorizo-style Protein & Apple Stuffing (we used Field Roast protein sausage in this stuffing recipe and subbed veggie broth and beer for the chicken stuff)
  • Roasted Cauliflower (there’s nothing to it: roast cauliflower with salt, pepper, and olive oil)
  • Cranberry Orange Sauce (we fixed this version with agave nectar so it could be used in cocktail as well)

veganthanksgiving

If you’re not used to eating a protein other than turkey and sausage, the taste will surely be different (and the tofurkey on its own could have used a little gravy), but the spicy stuffing and tart citrusy cranberry sauce are more than enough to give this all veggie dinner a lot of flavor.

What to drink on Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving from S&C!

Over here at S&C, we are grateful for a lot of things this Thanksgiving. We’re grateful for loving family and friends. We’re grateful for our good health. We’re grateful that we continue to be inspired. We’re grateful for you!

Thanksgiving is a great holiday. It is a great holiday filled with some really great food. (Ms. S&C *loves* Thanksgiving Day food.) In addition to that turkey you’re brining, that homemade cranberry sauce you’re making and that pumpkin pie you’re baking, there are beverages to think about! Don’t get overwhelmed though, Ms. S&C is here to help.

PUNCH

Why not start off the afternoon with a seasonal punch? Your guests (especially if you have a lot of them) will think it is festive and fun and delicious. You can go with the Autumn Spiced Punch (a S&C fave that has been referred to as “autumn in a cup”). Or, you can try this new S&C punch recipe (which is good with or without the booze). It is another crowd-pleaser, not to mention it looks so pretty with the floating apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

Sparkling Cinnamon Apple Punch

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 gallon apple cider , chilled
  • 4 cups cranberry-apple juice, chilled
  • 12 bottles sparkling wine , chilled (or sub one liter ginger ale for mocktail version)
  • Fresh apple slices
  • Cinnamon sticks

Directions:

In a saucepan, bring the water, sugar and cinnamon to a boil; stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill (preferably overnight). Just before serving, combine the syrup mixture, juices and sparkling wine in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Garnish with fresh apple slices and whole cinnamon sticks. Serve over ice, or use an ice block to chill.

BEER

For those non-punch-drinkers, offer them beer before dinner. And if you are going to drink beer on Thanksgiving, you might as well drink a pumpkin beer, right? There are some good ones out there. There are a lot of good ones, actually. There are some mild ones and there are some full-bodied ones. Ms. S&C gave a rundown of her faves awhile back. (And yes, Dogfish Head Punkin Ale is still high on the list.)

WINE

Opinions run far and wide about what wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner. Some say Zinfandel goes best with turkey. Others say Riesling, for its acidity and touch of sweetness, is a good match. You could have the best of both with a rose. Or, Beaujolais Nouveau is often a popular choice because it is light and fruity, and it goes well with turkey and the melange of side dishes. Ms. S&C says drink what you want! (But you should probably have a mix of red and white. And don’t forget the champagne! Because: it truly goes with everything.)

NIGHTCAP

Have a bourbon. Or a glass of prosecco. Or a cognac like B&B.

Ms. S&C wants to know: What’s on your Thanksgiving dinner menu? What will you and family and friends be drinking around the dinner table?

posted by Ms. S&C

Cocktails by numbers

Ms. S&C hasn’t blogged a lot recently, but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t had some notable experiences to share — especially on the cocktail front. Here’s a little glimpse of what she’s been up to.

13 — Points scored in a blind beer-tasting game

Friends, who host an excellent Halloween bash each year, led guests in a blind tasting of eight beers at their most recent party. Points were awarded for correctly guessing the beer style, brand and country of origin. Ms. S&C had a respectable third place finish.

2 — Punches made in a one-week period

Ms. S&C made a punch for her friends’ Halloween party. Ingredients included: cinnamon-infused simple syrup, lemon juice, apple cider, apple brandy, sparkling wine.

Ms. S&C made a second mocktail punch for a co-worker’s baby shower, using many of the same ingredients: cinnamon-infused simple syrup, apple cider, cran-apple juice, ginger ale. Please note the lovely garnishes of fresh apple slices and cinnamon sticks.

2 — Parties hosted in a three-day stretch

The two cocktails Ms. S&C created for her bookclub and a post-dinner party deserve their own dedicated posts. The Clover Club Cocktail was tres apropos for discussing “The Group.” And the pear margarita (secret ingredient: pear-infused simple syrup) was an inspired choice for post Mexican dinner imbibing.

7 — Football games left in the regular season

One recent game day beverage was a Red Eye (or Michelda). A simple combo of lager and tomato juice (but feel free to add lime and spices), is a great treat for those days when you want something more than just beer.

posted by Ms. S&C

Three (farm-related) things

Three quick things. All farm-related (sort-of).

(photo from The Sartorialist)

(1) Farmer’s Market Chic

Ms. S&C loves this farmer’s-market-chic-look. Perfect blue eyes (that match the shirt, that match the apron). Perfect use of the tie. Perfect hat. Perfect coat. Perfect rugged pants. Perfect weathered boots.

(photo from little brown pen)

(2) Applejack

Hello, fall produce. Ms. S&C is glad you’re here. Ms. S&C is also glad she recently came across Applejack (apple brandy) in her bookclub book “The Group.” Now, she must use it in a punch, in an Old-Fashioned, in something! (Especially if that something includes apple cider, fresh sliced apples, and maybe a dash of maple syrup?)

(3) Country-rock

The Flying Burrito Brothers: the Gram Parsons’ band that made country music cool — the band that made 70’s rock laid back — is in heavy rotation in the S&C household. Ms. S&C thinks you should listen to the “Hot Burritos” anthology album, particularly songs: Dark End of The Street, Hot Burrito #1, The Train Song, Image of Me, and their cover of Wild Horses.

The three things blog posts give Ms. S&C an opportunity to share a combination of shoe and cocktail-related finds, along with something else. That something else usually includes music or yoga.

posted by Ms. S&C

Bourbon drinking time

With the Kentucky Derby right around the corner, (read this great article from NPR about how to throw a Kentucky Derby party), it seems right now is prime-bourbon-drinking-time.

Around this time last year, Miss Mojito visited New Orleans and shared her Pat O’Brien’s mint julep experience. Inspired by this, and the pretty fantastic weather we’ve been having (which means planting and playing in the yard), I present, with unbridled enthusiasm, the Bourbon Mojito. I like to think of it as the mint julep’s less intoxicating sister. It has similar ingredients, but the tartness of the citrus and the bubbliness of the seltzer make this a great, early Spring, sit out on the patio, with maybe even some dirt left under your fingernails, drinking companion.

The mint julep’s less intoxicating sister, the bourbon mojito.

Bourbon Mojito

Ingredients (for one cocktail):

  • 1/2 lime, quartered (plus extra for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 full sprig of mint
  • 2 oz bourbon
  • Soda water

Directions:

In a glass, muddle the lime, sugar, and mint until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice and bourbon. Stir well. Top with soda water. Garnish with lime.

Bonus Tip: Growing mint is perfect for a beginning gardener. It is hardy and fast-growing, and thrives in all kinds of conditions. But, it should be contained. Seriously, use a pot, because this lovely aromatic herb spreads quickly, and will take over your yard.

posted by Ms. S&C

My winter refuge

This long, cold, brutal winter has put Ms. S&C on something of a whiskey kick.

It started with the Clementina Old Fashioned during the first snowstorm. Then I was introduced to the Cocktail à la Louisiane at The Passenger. Aftermath of the second blizzard had the mister and I seeking refuge at The Gibson, where we tried a Derby and a Vieux Carre.

All of these cocktails are made with bourbon or rye whiskey, and three out of four are made with my new favorite mysterious herbal liqueur, Bénédictine. They all pack quite a punch. Of course, instead of calling them “strong,” I can now refer to them as “body-warming.”

I first tasted the Vieux Carre at a cocktail seminar on Great Hotel Bar Cocktails. I didn’t think it was a standout there, but I also hadn’t spent my days digging out of three feet of snow. Sure, it’s boozy, but it also makes for a great sipping and soothing cocktail after long days of shoveling.

How has Ms. S&C survived the winter? With help from
whiskey cocktails like the Vieux Carre.

The drink was invented by the head bartender at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans, and is named after the French term for what we all know as The French Quarter. Le Vieux Carré translates to “Old Square.” I found this recipe and history over at The Gumbo Pages, which covers all things Louisiana.

Vieux Carre

Ingredients (for one):

  • 1 ounce rye whiskey
  • 1 ounce Cognac
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1 teaspoon Bénédictine D.O.M.
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Fill a double Old Fashioned glass with ice. Combine all ingredients in glass and stir well. Garnish with lemon peel.

posted by Ms. S&C

Snowden

At the bar where Mr. and Mrs. S&C worked while in college, we came across the word “snowden” etched in one of the wood tables. We had fun discussing (and still do) whether the table defacer was referencing a literal “snow den,” giving a literary nod to the character Snowden from Catch-22,  or my personal fave — phonetically spelling “snowed in.”

As DC’s snowmageddon approached (and the second one now in full force), Ms. S&C reached out to her Facebook friends for ideas on a snowstorm cocktail. She was amazed at the response and creativity. Read on.

Ms. S&C it has been suggested that I come up with a snowstorm cocktail. Ideas?
February 5 at 3:50pm

MB likes this.

RSB You have to include snow in the glass instead of ice.
February 5 at 4:06pm

JW It should contain milk and toilet paper.
February 5 at 4:07pm

ETD Oooh…intriguing. I like this already.
February 5 at 4:18pm

KKS Use snow around the rim of the glass!
February 5 at 4:58pm

BG Strong whiskey and ice!
February 5 4:59pm

WHW How about a snow cream martini?
February 5 at 5:17pm

NB Hot Chocolate! (with Booze) Sounds gross but maybe there’s a way to make it tasty.
February 5 at 5:31pm

SLC I like WHW’s idea for the name!
February 5 at 5:33pm

NDB A little powdered sugar might give you a fluffy “snowlike” effect.
February 5 at 5:37pm

CT bloody marys!
February 5 at 5:59pm

Ms. S&C The best I could come up with is sloestorm — already had sloe gin in the house. Terrible pun, I know.
February 5 at 10:18pm

JO’L something with milk!
February 5 at 10:39pm

GS coconut martini with a liberal sprinkling of sugared coconut on top… mmmmm….
February 5 at 11:20pm

JTM I would go in two directions… something with a frosted glass… vodka… with bits of rock candy or something… Or i would do something with this Godiva chocolat liquer i have or cream… let me know what you create!
February 6 at 12:42am

JP Think fresh snow, sweetened fruit syrup of your choice, more sugar, rum, and copious quantities. You can survive the storm.
February 6 at 8:19am

SS I agree with JW – definitely needs to include milk and TP. Maybe a white Russian in a martini glass with an empty roll of TP on the stem of the martini glass?
February 6 at 10:59am

JW Having spent all day shoveling, I’m changing my suggestion to the Drivewaytini: two belts of scotch and a prescription painkiller chaser.
February 6 at 9:39pm

An article in today’s Washington Post says that making snow cream couldn’t be simpler: mix together fresh snow, milk, (or cream, or condensed milk), sugar and vanilla. Add a creamy liqueur (your choice of Godiva White Chocolate, Bailey’s Irish Cream, or maybe something coffee flavored), top with a garnish of toasted coconut, and I think you’ve got a winning snow-inspired cocktail! One could also try the classic snowball cocktail, but I’m no fan of creme de menthe, nor the number of ingredients.

Ms. S&C wants to know: What do you drink when you’re “snowden?”

posted by Ms. S&C