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What are you drinking these days? Fall/Winter Cocktails 2013-2014

Didn't see a recent thread on this, so thought I'd start one.

Last night I made up an interesting twist on the Manhattan that went down way too smoothly:

2 oz. rye (I used Old Overholt)
1/2 oz. sweet red vermouth (I used Noilly Pratt)
1/2 oz. Belle de Brillet (pear and cognac liqueur)
2-3 dashes Scrappy's cardamom bitters

Stir and strain over a (large) cube of ice. I was too lazy to dig out a garnish but a pear slice or cherry would be nice.

How about you? Any new recipes or old favorites for the holiday season?

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  1. With an onion stuffed olive. It's my antifreeze, been really cold.

    1. Best cocktail I've made recently is called "Equinox" (seems to be one of many), apparently created at Eastern Standard in Boston[1]:

      Spiced syrup:

      2 c water
      2 c sugar
      1 tbsp whole cloves
      1 tbsp whole star anise
      3 cinnamon sticks

      Heat up until sugar dissolves. Simmer 15m. Remove from heat. Pour into a container, allow to rest in the refrigerator for 24h. Strain and use.


      1.5oz calvados
      3/4oz lemon juice
      3/4oz syrup
      1d Angostura

      Shake/strain/garnish with a lemon twist.

      The syrup is really awesome. I made Peking Duck for Thanksgiving, to which I added a bit of Five Spice for additional aroma, and the spices in the syrup matched it perfectly.

      [1] Reference: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...


      Another drink I'm really interested in, but have not tried yet, is "Chancleta Vieja," created by Danny Valdez of The Regent Cocktail Club, in Miami. (Found in this month's issue of Imbibe):

      2oz rye
      1/2oz sweet vermouth
      3/4oz unsweetened coconut milk
      2d Angostura
      1d chocolate bitters

      Stir, strain into a coupe (even though the photo above the recipe shows it in a rocks glass, with a cube of ice?), orange twist.

      5 Replies
      1. re: davis_sq_pro

        The coconut milk cocktail intrigues me. I may try it, but I need to get some chocolate bitters. Any brand you favor?

        1. re: ChristinaMason

          The one I have right now is the Bittermen's Xocolatl, which I like a lot. It's not 100% chocolate-focused but I like the balance of flavors. If you want something a bit more one-note, the Fee Bros Aztec Chocolate is supposed to fit that bill.

          1. re: ChristinaMason

            Well I made the coconut milk drink just now. It is ABSOLUTELY GHASTLY.

            The result, after stirring, is something that looks rather lumpy and disgusting in the glass. Maybe shaking would help there. But there are deeper problems, like the fact that the drink has not nearly enough sweetness to balance. My first sip left me with a lingering flavor of disgusting in my mouth. The drink tastes a little bit better now that I've dashed in some simple, but I think I'll toss it down the drain and make a Negroni instead.

            1. re: davis_sq_pro

              haha, OK. Thanks for taking that bullet.

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                Yah, I saw coconut and Rye and my first reaction was blech.

          2. Electronic rotten tomatoes probably headed my way, but I really enjoy and "appletini" in December. The colors are just so festive. It makes me happy when I'm wrapping gifts.

            Otherwise, I've been putting a dent in our red wine collection to make room for the annual wine sale that happens in January. Just finished a better than expected California Cab.

            1 Reply
            1. re: autumm

              Me too, back when the family was nearby it was a bowl of eggnog, now I just do individual Brandy Alexanders for the few that stop by.

            2. I've had fun creating Old Fashioneds for the new bar I work with. Some on menu, some off menu specials. They are not too sweet and nicely balanced. The Gin Quince OF has been written up locally twice so far.

              Gin Quince - Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard gin, long simmered quince syrup, house pomegranate/orange blossom grenadine, Ango bitters.

              Rum Spice - El Dorado 12 yr. demerara rum, spice syrup- cinnamon, cassia, vanilla, clove, allspice, nutmeg, cardomom, mace, and my original Colonial bitters.

              Gin Five Peppercorn - New Holland Knickerbocker gin, peppercorn syrup- black, white, green, pink, szechuan, and Ango.

              Bourbon Spiced Fruitcake - Redemption bourbon, fruitcake syrup- figs, dates, dried apricots and pineapple, rasins, above spice syrup, and Ango.

              4 Replies
              1. re: JMF

                JMF: Your gin quince sounds lovely ....

                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                  Folks are going nuts over the Gin Quince OF, and the others almost as much.

                  1. re: JMF

                    I'd post the recipe for my quince syrup, but you need a lab centrifuge to extract the syrup from the puree. I think you could make it by letting the puree strain through a filter in a fridge overnight. Lots less syrup, but it actually might end up very clear. I'll come back later with a home version.

                    Gin Quince Old Fashioned- JMForester
                    2 oz. Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard gin (Bombay Sapphire East works well too)
                    .75 oz. House Quince syrup
                    .25 oz. House Grenadine
                    .25 oz. Rothman & Winters Apricot liqueur
                    2 dashes Angostura bitters

                    Stir on ice and strain over 1 large cube in a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon peel.

                    House Grenadine: 1 cup POM, 1 cup sugar, .5-.75 oz. Lemon juice, .25 Orange Blossom. Cold mixed.

                    1. re: JMF

                      I tried to make rose hip jam this summer but it turned out like syrup; so I've been using it in place of cranberry juice in mixed cocktails. I didn't strain at all, there are some seeds in the bottom but very well received, regardless.

                      I do quince too but you're right, it will always come out thicker than expected. I'll be watching for your home version.

              2. I'm a little lazy, I pour some tequila over ice and fill the glass with Pom pomegranate juice. Sometimes I'll add some tart cherry concentrate, or substitute Korean plum vinegar (more of a drinking vinegar, you couldn't pickle anything with it).

                1 Reply
                1. Most recently? Ramos Gin Fizz.
                  In the near future? 20th Century.

                  1. My partners sister shared this one- simple but delicious.
                    Trader Joes spiced cider, dark spiced rum (I use Gosslings), squeeze of lemon or lime and some
                    grated fresh nutmeg.
                    I also add a splash of brandy for good measure.

                    I've also been making a hot version with added spices and more brandy.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ghostpeppergirl

                      Goslings isn't a spiced rum. Just a blend of dark rums.

                      1. re: JMF

                        Sorry that's what I meant - dark rum not spiced. Although I guess you could use a spiced rum. I just like the depth it adds without interfering with the spices from the cider.

                    2. Another new favorite: vodka infused with vanilla bean, fresh ginger,cloves , cinnamon and cardamom mixed with lemon seltzer and a shot of cherry juice concentrate. Warm and refreshing without the cloying sweetness of some holiday drinks.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ghostpeppergirl

                        Darn it, more infusions to make! Do you infuse them all in one bottle or each flavor separately?

                        I already have vanilla and ginger home infused. Love the cardamom idea, it's so under utilized

                      2. Most of the year, I lean heavily towards gin-based drinks, and many of them feature some kind of citrus (with the exception of martinis). As the weather gets colder, I tend to gravitate more toward simpler drinks made with dark spirits and less citrus--things like Old Fashioned's, Manhattans, Sazeracs, Dark and Stormy's, etc.

                        I also turn more to cocktails with herbal notes in the colder months, such as the Last Word, The Vieux Carre, Cocktail La Louisiane, Chrysanthemum, etc.

                        I'm more likely to enjoy whisky or rum neat/on the rocks in the winter than in the summer. There's something more contemplative about colder months that lends itself to sitting by the fire and slowly sipping a spirit by itself.

                        1. Boulevardier for me. Now featuring Breckenridge bourbon, Vya sweet and Campari. Yum.

                          2 Replies
                            1. re: FlyerFan

                              substitute the sweet vermouth for dry and you have an Old Pal, which is what I'm really digging right now with Dickel rye. Dickel has a minty flavor that goes well with the bitterness of the Campari.

                            2. Fig and Sage. Muddle slightly 5 or 6 sage leaves, add 2 oz. Jameson Whiskey, 1 oz. fig syrup (homemade), 1/2 oz. lemon juice. Shake w/ice & double strain over a rocks glass w/fresh ice. Garnish with a sage leaf after rubbing around the rim of the glass. These proportions can be a little sweet, depending on the strength of the syrup--you can just use less of it too.

                              3 Replies
                                1. re: The Loaf

                                  That sounds delicious, TheLoaf. How do you make your fig syrup?

                                  1. re: curseofleisure

                                    Chop some dried figs & add 2x as much brown sugar (i.e. 1 lb. figs to 2lbs sugar). Cover with water, heat and simmer for... as long as you like. When done, add a little lemon juice or citric acid to balance the flavor. That's the method, but I play with the proportions. I also usually pour off the syrup and then heat the figs again with fresh water to extract as much flavor as possible. When all is done, you can toss the (now mostly flavorless, but still somewhat nutritious) figs into your breakfast oatmeal. Waste not, want not.

                                2. I peruse Yarm's blog almost any time I'm in the mood for something new, and that's where I found the Autumn Sunset, which is about as perfect a Fall/Winter cocktail as I think you can create.

                                  1 1/2 oz Bourbon
                                  1/2 oz Sweet Vermouth
                                  1/2 oz Dry Vermouth
                                  1/4 oz Allspice Dram
                                  1/4 oz Benedictine

                                  Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Flame an orange twist and discard.


                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: The Big Crunch

                                    I made one for my staff the other day to show them how simple ingredients can come together and make great, well balanced cocktail.

                                    1. I recently had another tasty one--an oldie but goodie:

                                      Nicky Finn


                                      Basically equal parts brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice, and Pernod (I used pastis). Delicious---like a nice twist on a Sidecar.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: ChristinaMason

                                        That link calls for a dash of pastis. I'm guessing that's what you meant.


                                        1. re: EvergreenDan

                                          Oh, oops, yes. Equal parts of everything but the pastis.

                                      2. Some Cuervo Gold with Michigan tart cherry concentrate and Korean plum/pomegranate vinegar. Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

                                        1. tequila with pomegranate juice on ice adding a little tart cherry concentrate