Just as a major storm is about to hit my old home, I’m sitting at my window in Amsterdam looking out on a gentle morning filled with seabirds, bicycles, and yellow leaves. A little titmouse has made her nest on a pipe just outside my window. Gone are the bare arms, and bare heads– everyone wheels by bundled in knitted wool with coat tails flying open like bat wings. Autumn is already giving way to winter.
When I think of this time last year, I remember being heavily pregnant, wildly happy, and the possessor of plenty of free time. How things change! I think what I miss most about that time is our Friday cocktail nights. They came like clockwork no matter how cold or wild the weather was. A cluster of friends’ bikes would appear tied to the tree outside and soon the apartment was filled with the warmth of friends and the tinkling of glasses. In planning some smaller (cozier) events for this season, I’ve been looking back to some of our best, most warming cocktail concoctions and thought it would be nice to post a sort of recipe book of some of the original Autumn cocktails we’ve come up with (so far).
These adorable ‘mushrooms’ are actually cupcakes with red frosting and white sprinkles.
A nice way to start (or end) an autumn evening is with this drink called:
Honey Sweet Coffee
For each cup you need a warm cup of coffee
– dissolve one teaspoon of honey
– cool the coffee by leaving it for a while or refrigerating it
– add ice cubes to a shaker with 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
– strain into a glass
– top with whipped cream
– grate nutmeg on top
For something just as festive, and a little bit harder, here’s a simple cocktail for any gathering:
Apple Brandy Martini
– 2 dashes of orange bitters
– half ounce of dry vermouth
– 1 1/2 ounce of Calvados
– shake and strain into a cocktail glass
– garnish with a slice of apple
In planning any sort of holiday party, it’s necessary to subject your guests to this sort of humbling contest…
And after that, they’ll be looking for another one of these:
– fill a whiskey glass with ice cubes
– add a shot of very pink liquor (for alcoholic) or lemon syrup (for virgin variation). We used a very flower liquor called venusolie (note: venusolie was used 300 years ago to cure people of illnesses).
-Squeeze fresh orange on top of the ice cubes so it slowly pours down on top of the pink laye
-Fill the glass with white beer (or white non-alcoholic beer)
And you’ll have made a cocktail that looks just like a pink Dutch sky in the morning.
Chestnuts are a great accompaniment to an autumn party. Just make a cross incision into each one and place them in the oven for a half hour (about 220 degrees celsius). They come out warm and fragrant with a soft, nutty flavor to them. Delicious
Now, with Halloween right on our heels, maybe you need some easy, but spooky, Halloween cocktail inspiration…
The Candy Cornocopia:
This drink is not as difficult as it may look; it’s basically layered sorbet that’s been booze-infused (and possibly colored).
– choose a flavor of sorbet (we used pear, and was light yellow in color)
– take a handful of ice cubes and crush them (or put them in a blender)
– add a 1/4 pint of the sorbet
– add a glass of apple juice
– add orange food coloring if the sorbet isn’t already orange
– spoon into bottom of the glasses
– prepare the yellow layer the same way except use orange juice instead of apple juice. Add yellow food coloring unless (like our pear sorbet) it already is yellow
– top with whipped cream
And something a little more gruesome, inspired by an old horror movie:
The Cocktail From the Black Lagoon:
(for 6 people)
– yogurt ( 4-5 plops)
– dash vanilla aroma
– couple dashes of rum aroma
– a liter apple juice
– 1/2 liter hard cider (optional)
– rum (splash in each glass) (optional)
– tinned pears (1 tin – 4 halves) drained
– black coloring for drink – not the same as food coloring (this is specifically for coloring beverages)
Serving a Halloween drink like ‘Dr. Jekyll’s Potion’ can be made even MORE exciting when served in a test tube…
Or at least my husband thinks so. This is a simple, tasty drink that really is perfect for a Halloween party:
– a drop of grenadine
– a teaspoon absinthe
– 1/2 ounce lemon juice
– 1/2 ounce blue curacao
But don’t underestimate plain old flip — one of the earliest, and best, American drinks. SO many variations of this, but I did mine with pumpkin and beer…
First, you need to heat up some forks (or anything metal to stir with). It was traditional in colonial taverns to make your own flip– adding pumpkin, booze, , milk, cream, cinnamon, egg–whatever your favorite variation was. Then you’d move over to the hearth and borrow the loggerhead hanging there– it was a metal rod you’d heat over the fire and then stir your drink with. The result is instant froth (overflowing) and gives the drink a toasted flavor.
Icabod’s Pumpkin Flip
– pumpkin (grated or use pumpkin beer)
– grate nutmeg on top of foam
The thing about flip is it should be spontaneous. You really have to figure out your own amounts according to your taste. Just like the colonial tavern, you’re given the idea and then you create it yourself.
It may discolor your fork, so be sure it’s not part of the family silver. I garnished mine with conkers I’d painted like pumpkins.
Using the theme of Classical Monsters, our friend, Maarten came up with a really nice cocktail:
The Golem’s Reviver
1 ounce scotch whiskey
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce benedictine
1/4 ounce grenadine
shake over ice and strain into glass
Wishing you and yours a Happy Halloween! I hope yours will be filled with spooks at the door, candy in the bowl, leaves blown into neat piles, and a cocktail in your hand!