November 26, 2010

A Couple Holiday Drinks

My father-in-law was wondering why I haven't posted much in a while.  I've actually been cooking a lot.  I even have a couple of posts written, I just haven't posted them because they are not Thanksgiving-ish.  Honestly, it is dark and cold in Upstate California, and lately in the evenings I am more in the mood to watch a re-run of 30 Rock on Netflix (or just go to bed early), than to put mental energy into anything.  Sorry.

But my little family just had a happy Thanksgiving with my in-laws, and I hope you had a happy Thanksgiving too.  In fact I thought of you, dear readers, this evening.  For those of you staying with family, when  the feast is over, things can feel a bit cramped and relationships might be starting to get strained...  No?

Well, maybe not.  But maybe all you ate today was leftovers from yesterday, and while they were really good (your mother-in-law makes the best red cabbage ever, I am sure and her turkey is never dry), maybe a simple dessert that is not leftover pumpkin pie is in order?

Either way, a nice fall cocktail might be just the thing to take the edge off this evening and restore joviality to the extended family... and keep you from downing a half a bottle of Jameson when no one's looking just to keep your sanity... Um, nevermind.  So tonight, whether you and the family are watching a movie or playing games, or just doing whatever you can to avoid another argument, add a fun and festive cocktail.  Have your hostess pull out her martini glasses, while your host pulls out Balderdash or something, while you take inventory of the liquor cabinet and the spice drawer.  Make it fun: recruit a family member to crush some graham crackers, mix the crumbs with sugar and nutmeg and rim those martini glasses while you mix the cocktail.

Hot Buttered Rum 
adapted from Drink of the Week 

I never used to be into the whole ice cream with alcohol thing.  You know, "Mudslides," and that type of thing. But earlier this week on a dark, cold night, I really wanted some kind of a hot toddy curl up with.  My experience with cocktails that are served hot has been limited to Hot Buttered Rum and Spiked Hot Chocolate (Oh Frangelico, how I miss you in my liquor cabinet!).  My dad's Hot Buttered Rum includes,  if I remember correctly, more butter per serving than I would slather on a couple pieces of toast, and therefore, quite frankly, it scares my arteries.  As I surfed around for a variation with less butter, I found quite a few recipes that included vanilla ice cream.  Most of them were portioned to serve a crowd, directing the cook to cream together butter and sugar and maybe cinnamon, then add softened vanilla ice cream and refreeze the mixture.  To serve you would place a scoop of the "batter" in a mug and top with as much rum as you like, then fill the mug with hot water and stir to melt the batter.  I was not serving a crowd, so I scaled it down and just put a teaspoon of butter, a couple tablespoons of vanilla ice cream, a tablespoon of brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon and sufficient amounts of rum and boiling water in a mug.  The ice cream melts and gives the drink a creaminess (and a nice soft vanilla flavor), so that you can use less butter.  This drink got me past my aversion to ice cream in cocktails.

Fall Holiday-tini
inspired by Angie Rayfield

For you, dear reader, I've tried this cocktail both ways, with Captain Morgan rum and with Jameson Irish Whiskey.  Honestly, I expected to like the rum better, simply because I thought the spices would meld nicely with the pumpkin-cinnamon-vanilla-orange combo, but I actually liked the Jameson better.  Of course, when its Day 3 with the extended family, use whatever you have available, so that you can Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas, I mean Thanksgiving. Whatever...

For each serving:

1 tablespoon pumpkin (canned or cooked)
1 scoop vanilla ice cream (about 1/2 cup)
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 ounce Triple Sec
1 ounce spiced rum or Irish whiskey
Enough half-n-half so that your blender will blend, which is 2 tablespoons in my beloved 35-year-old Imperial Pulse-Matic.

Garnish:  graham cracker crumbs and sugar, or freshly grated nutmeg

1.  Combine all ingredients except Garnish in blender.  Blend.

2.  You will look like less of a drunk if you've planned a nice garnish for our cocktail.  So, to create a pretty rim, wet the rims of your glasses, then dip into a mixture of graham cracker crumbs, sugar and freshly grated nutmeg.  Pour cocktail into prepared glasses and serve.  If you can't manage the rimmed glasses, at least grate some nutmeg over the finished cocktails. Enjoy your time with family!

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