Tag Archives: cocktails

Fall Inspiration for Halloween Cocktails

The Nutty Pumpkin Martini rocks with fall flavors such as pumpkin, hazelnut, nutmeg and vanilla.

Good news! I’ve got your last minute offerings for the Halloween party-goer assigned to bring the spirits (the pun, sadly, was very much intended, ha!).

Pumpkin continues to be in demand, particularly for this holiday weekend, and I have several other suggestions of variations and recipes to try for the Perfect Pumpkin Martini.

Pictured is the Nutty Pumpkin Martini, a tasty delight perfect for the fan of cream-based cocktails. But this drink has so many warming flavors, derived from the other ingredients and liqueurs thrown into the mix.   Take a look at the recipe yourself:

Nutty Pumpkin Martini:

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with your choice of a little whipped cream or grated nutmeg (if you’re  not a huge w/c fan like me).

If you’re possibly sick of Pumpkin already (gasp! Did you start on those Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes a bit too early?), here’s another earthy fall flavor to snuggle up with – port wine.

Oh yes. A ruby port such as Sandeman Founder’s Reserve actually makes for a wonderful, although probably unbeknownst, ingredient in a fall cocktail recipe. Of the many suggested methods for creating cocktails on their Facebook page, the Diavlo to me looks to be a cocktail worthy to make an appearance at a Halloween party. I’ll let you know how it turns out this weekend!

Have another recipe inspired by fall to share?  Feel free to share your recipe with Hiram Walker by entering the Fall Cocktail segment of The Quest, the brand’s search for the country’s most creative original cocktail recipes. You have until Halloween itself to submit your recipe for a chance to win an Apple iPad!

Wishing you a fun and festive Halloween!

Edit 10/28/11: Another great pumpkin cocktail recipe has come my way, the ABSOLUT 100 Pumpkin Martini. For an extra dose of pumpkin, check out this and the other recipes as featured on Liquor.com.

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Carrot Cake Cocktail

We’ve made it to the final home stretch before Christmas! But are you still searching for a cocktail to serve over the weekend?

Ryan, of the site Boozeblogger, offers up this dessert-inspired cocktail in his “12 Drinks of Christmas Series”, the Carrot Cake Cocktail. I decided to stir this one up for the office crew early in the week (we had all the ingredients on hand!) and I was surprised at how the warming flavors of cinnamon, butterscotch, and caramel came together so pleasantly in this drink. I probably should have been more generous with the garnish on top; it’s a lesson learned for the next go-around! Below are some of the shots from my mini photo shoot, but here’s the recipe (with a link to Boozeblogger’s site, so be sure to read the rest of the holiday series) as well so you can stir one up at home.

Carrot Cake Cocktail

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.

Happy Holidays!

Updated at 7:16 pm, 12/21/10


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The Manhattan Cocktail Classic May 14-18

The New York Public Library in daylight. Can you imagine this place, covering four stories and spanning two city blocks, filled with cocktailians alike!

It’s finally here! After it’s smashing fall preview event, the Manhattan Cocktail Classic is back to the city that never sleeps for a multi-day event “celebrating the history, contemporary culture, and artful craft of the cocktail.”

According to the Web site, the Manhattan Cocktail Classic is:

Part festival, part fête, part conference, part cocktail party, the Manhattan Cocktail Classic brings together the unparalleled talents and opportunities of the bars, bartenders, and restaurants of our great city for five days of activities, both educational and celebratory in nature, championing the common ideals of authenticity, equality, sustainability, service, and pleasure.  (There will be some drinking involved, too.)

The event kicks off this evening with the sold-out gala, where cocktail enthusiasts and professionals will be in the hands of the finest mixologists stirring up what I can only assume to be an exorbitant (but what else would you expect?!) number of crafty cocktails at the New York Public Library.

The rest of the weekend is jam packed with seminars, tours from Behind the Bar at some of New York’s most renowned cocktail bars, and a three-hour booze cruise. Need I tempt you more?

These events are sure to sell out, so get your tickets soon.

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A Cocktail Journey

Screwdriver or Harvey Wallbanger.

White Russian or Toasted Almond.

Manhattan Perfect or Bone Dry.

These drinks are among the plethora (103 in total, thank   you very much!) that I’ve been learning to create over the past four days at bartending school. Yes, you read that right. Bartending school. Bartending school. Barten… you don’t even want to finish reading the words, let alone speak them out loud. Well, hear me out:

Formerly a waitress, a student, a journalist, and now a PR gal, I’ve never actually had the chance to add the title of bartender to my young resume. I yearned for my chance to be behind the bar during my days in the restaurant biz, but got out before I had the chance to develop the necessary skill sets. All the while, my excitement and enthusiasm for the spirits industry have only escalated. With the ardent goal of better communicating with and learning from you, the key players in this community, I’m taking on the challenge of learning to be a bartender. I’ve also enrolled in the Bar Smarts Advanced program and will be testing my knowledge at the live DC event (I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of my bartending kit to practice at home!). Please email me and let me know if you will be there, too!

So what have I gotten out of said bartending school so far?

Dale DeGroff recently wrote for Liquor.com that “If you can make a simple Whiskey Sour, you have the template for hundreds of cocktails” and I think that holds true. I’ve learned a screwdriver (1 oz. vodka, fill with OJ) can become a Harvey Wallbanger by just adding a lace of Galliano. Swap the Galliano with sloe gin and you’ve got a Sloe Screw. It’s really simple! And fun! Time, dedication, and a love for the craft are what chiefly seem to separate the run-of-the-mill from the upper echelon of bartenders and mixologists.

I’ve also learned a great deal about Manhattans. Personally, I prefer the clear liquors – gin & tequila are easily my favorites – and got a good lesson in using sweet vermouth as opposed to the dry that typically  accompanies my gin martini.

The one major downfall I find with the program, however, is the liquor. All the major brand players are stocked behind the bar (which resembles more of a test kitchen with its long countertops as bar stations, barstools, and overabundance of sinks) but they are filled with dyed water instead of the liquor product itself. I find that to be a real flaw. What if a student doesn’t know the difference between a bourbon and a whisky? I’d think this would be the ideal environment to sample and learn the variance of all these products. The same could be said for a liqueur – wouldn’t it be wise to recognize the differences between Cointreau and a generic triple sec going into your margarita? That way you could tell your customer of the better product sitting on the shelf and, in the process, up-sell your drink.

So I have four more classes – 16 more hours – to go. Between this, and Bar Smarts, I am hopeful that I’ll be prepared for the challenges that come with being a bartender. But, more importantly, I will be better prepared do my job as a PR professional in the spirits industry. Plus – and I’m just throwing this out there – if anyone needs another body part-time behind the bar, I’m more than ready and able for the job : )


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Creator of Cocktails & Conviviality

Check out this great video from Pernod Absinthe, in which Joaquin Simo (of Death & CO.) waxes poetic about Absinthe, cocktails, and showing his guests a good time.

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Tokyo Rose

This one popped up in my email the other day and sounded delicious— couldn’t help but share. It’s one of those beautiful, froth-topped cocktails with an egg white in it.

Recipes calling for egg whites (from the Absinthe Suissessessessess to the Ramos Fizz) are everywhere these days, no doubt a result of the classic cocktail renaissance led by America’s best mixologists. But until I tried one for myself at Tales of the Cocktail (The Fraser River Sour) I have to admit I didn’t get it. I hate eggs. Why would I want them in my drink? And if I get in trouble for eating raw cookie dough (I do it anyway!) how is this ok?

            I’m here to tell you it’s ok to drink that frothy wonderfulness—and not just because I’ve been eating raw cookie dough for twenty years and haven’t died yet. No, I’ve done a little online research and found that although the FDA does not recommend it, you’re four times more likely to die choking on bar nuts (according to Jason Wilson of the Washington Post) than to die of salmonella contracted from drinking cocktails containing raw egg whites. The chances of getting salmonella are slim and slimmer still when you factor in the addition of alcohol. So drink up, friends—this egg’s on me!


The Tokyo Rose by Terence Miller


 3 muddled strawberries

1 oz. Hiram Walker Crème de Cacao (Dark)

1 oz. Vodka

½ oz. Absinthe

1 small egg white


Muddle strawberries in a cocktail shaker. Combine remaining ingredients and shake thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with skewered strawberry slices.

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