Cocktail O’Clock: A Fall Drink Sans Pumpkin

Pear and Sparkling Cider

OK people, I know we all like to get overexcited about our pumpkin beers and our PS lattes, but does every fall cocktail these days have to be pumpkin-based? Nothing against the good ol’ gourd, I just feel like some other fall ingredients tend to get overloooked — like apple cider!

This classy fall cocktail combines cider, champagne, bourbon and pear for a decidedly different fall taste.

Pear and Sparkling Cider Cocktail

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Bourbon Chocolate, and More…

RaakaChocolate

I don’t really think I need to tell you much more. I’ve debated at work about the few foods that go good with anything. We narrowed it down to two: cheese and chocolate. Well, I believe I’m helping make the chocolate point with the Raaka Bourbon Cask Aged Chocolate. Raaka touts itself as the first company to make a chocolate that uses cask-aged cocoa beans in their bourbon cask-aged chocolate.  The first time I noticed this chocolate was in Bryant Park during the Christmas season. My fianceé and I went into the small shop expecting some kind of gimmick. They provided small samples of each flavor. I could definitely taste the sweetness of the bourbon in the chocolate.

Of course, I tried all of their other flavors, and each sample had a distinctly pleasant and different flavor from the other. End of story–I ended up with a gift bag full of Raaka chocolates for Christmas (thanks fianceé). The bars are still hidden away to savor for the sudden urge I may have every now and then. Apparently the trick to the deliciousness of these chocolates is twofold: (1) the chocolates have uniquely different flavors (see Bourbon Cask Aged, Vanilla Rooibos, or Porter) and (2) the simplistic “virgin” crafting of the chocolate.

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Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork Stuffing

stuffing

If you ask me, it is NOT a holiday meal without stuffing. Nothing says celebration like cooking some old bread up with an unreasonable amount of butter and fatty meat. Honestly, I don’t even care if we have a bird. Whether it’s turkey, goose or even ham on the Christmas table, I’m expecting stuffing on the side.

And this year I’m pretty proud of my new invention: stovetop stuffing amped up with apple bourbon slow-cooker pulled pork, walnuts and apples. YEP.

Apple Bourbon Pulled Pork Stuffing

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Cocktail O’Clock: Brothers’ Quarrel

cocktail

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, this drink, which comes from the W Austin, is a good pleaser. It’s manly enough for a football party (Bourbon-based) but sweet enough to please those of us who are manly enough to admit we’re in it for the taste. It also pays homage to this year’s brother vs. brother Super Bowl coaches plotl ine by mixing St. Germaine and Canton, two liquors made by two different brothers. According the legend:

The maker of Chambord liquor had two sons. He gave each of his sons a sum of money and said “I want you to take this money and go out and make a liquer better than mine. The catch is that I want you to make a liquer better than each other’s.” With the money in hand and passion in their hearts, each son created a great spirit, one making St. Germaine and the other Canton. Much like the whiskeys also found in this cocktail, an American Bourbon and an English scotch, the brother’s quarreled over which is better.

Who’s right? We have no idea, but this drink sure is a strong one!

Brothers’ Quarrel

1.5 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon
.5 oz st. germain
.5 oz canton ginger
.25 oz pineapple

Shake all, pour over rocks in rocks glass. Then Spritz with Laphroaig and garnish with burnt lemon.

 Find more party drink ideas in Endless Cocktails.

(Photo courtesy W Austin)

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Cooking with Booze: Bourbon Bananas Foster

bananas foster

It’s never too early to start planning Valentine’s Day! And single folks, it’s definitely never too early to start planning a mid-winter, anti-romantic gorge fest, right? We’re thinking a weekend staying in Vegas, ordering up ridiculously lavish steaks and tracking down various booze-soaked desserts like the ridiculously good banana’s foster at Hugo’s Cellar in Four Queens Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. It’s prepared tableside, bananas served up over vanilla ice cream and then set on fire! Who’s with us?

Or you know, either way you could just stay home and cook up your own lavish mid-winter feast. Chef Nisa Burns of Kitchenability.com and author of the new book Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food, shares a sweet, spiked dessert. This bananas foster is made with bourbon rather than rum (we like), and is actually quite easy to make.

Easy Bananas Foster with Ice Cream

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The Bourbon Grilled Cheese Sandwich of Etherus

Hey, guess who I bumped into the other day? Etherus. You know, the Santharian God of Excess. Not to brag but he’s a personal friend. Yeah, we go waaay back. He likes to drop by unexpectedly. Usually whenever I break out the bourbon. That’s a bad habit of his but what can I do? He just doesn’t take a hint. Like the other night while I was watching a football game and sipping on some sour mash when, sometime after the half, who shows up? The E-Man. It seems that E was hungry and thought that a grilled cheese sam’itch might hit the spot. Yeah, that might taste real good about now. But not just ANY grilled cheese. Oh, noooooo. Not for the G of E. He had a reputation to uphold. It was time to step it up! A little cheese between two hunks ‘a bread just wasn’t gonna cut it! It was all in and balls out! The following abomination is what he came up with.

The Bourbon Grilled Cheese Sandwich of Etherus

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