With the backdrop of a wonderful new daughter welcomed into our lives in July, the last several months have been anything but casual and relaxing. While fatherhood has been fantastic, it does...ummm, cut into my available 'free time'. And with that, I've had (as expected) noticeably less time to contemplate, consume, and critique new cocktails, flavor combinations, and spirits. Nonetheless, the wheels continue to turn...I read little bits here and there, keep up on what is becoming available in my area, and, of course, never stop conjuring up a new mix or two.
As we rolled into November, I put together a list of ideas for an after-dinner cocktail that would suit the Thanksgiving holiday. And what more traditional dessert is there than pumpkin pie? The sweet and savory aroma of baking spices, perhaps some candied pecans strewn about, and you've got the perfect backbone to a Thanksgiving-inspired after-dinner cocktail. Here's where I went with mine...
The Glutton's Reward
2 oz W.L. Weller, 12 yr
3/4 oz The King's Ginger
1/2 oz pecan maple syrup*
3 dashes spiced pumpkin tincture**
2 dashes Angostura
Combine all ingredients with ice in a mixing glass and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and serve to post-meal comatose Thanksgiving guests...
Pecan maple syrup*
8 oz pecans
4 oz grade B maple syrup
4 oz water
Crush and dry roast the pecans in a saucepan until they toast up a bit and give off a nutty aroma. Add the syrup and water, and cook at a bare simmer for ~20 minutes. Remove from the stove and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain thru cheesecloth into a clean bottle and store in the fridge.
Spiced pumpkin tincture**
6 oz neutral grain spirit (Everclear)
4 oz canned pumpkin
1/2 tsp nutmeg, freshly ground
1/2 tsp allspice, freshly ground
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a heat-proof vacuum seal or ziploc bag and place in a 140 degree sous vide water bath for 3-4 hours. Alternatively, bring a pot of water to a boil, remove it from the heat and wait for the temperature to drop to 160 degrees. Submerge the sealed ziploc bag in the water, lid the pot, and let sit overnight. Strain contents thru a very fine sieve and/or cheesecloth into a clean dropper bottle and store in fridge.
Of note, for a decent substitute of the tincture, I have found that using a few dashes of Bittercube Jamaican #1 bitters works very well given its ginger and baking spice overtones.