Sunday, November 16, 2014

Feels Like The Holidays!

It's been Fall for a good month and a half now, but it hasn't felt much like it in the Bay Area.  After being out and about this weekend, it's finally beginning to feel like Autumn.  It even felt like (dare I say it) the Holiday season was amongst us.  But what can I say?  I love the Holidays!  I cherish this time of the year.  The cooler weather, the falling leaves, the rain (being in the midst of a long, never-ending drought, I vaguely remember what water falling from the sky is like).  And of course...the cocktails.  I was surprised to see one of my favorite Autumn/Winter cocktails on the menu at one my favorite East Bay restaurants yesterday.

I had the perfect meal at the Ramen Shop in Oakland last night, and enjoyed a wonderful pre-dinner Pan American Clipper.  Crisp and refreshing with aromas of baked apple, flavors of pomegranate, balanced acidity, and a tinge of botanical complexity from the's truly Fall in a glass.  The Pan Am Clipper--a venerable drink that spent far too long in the "lost and forgotten" category-- has been a favorite of mine for many years.  Back when I was behind the bar, the Pan Am always found a place on my Fall or Winter cocktail menus.  It dates back to at least 1939, when it appeared in Charles H. Baker's The Gentleman's Companion.

Let's raise a glass to the Holidays, and to enjoying lots of good times with family and friends,

Pan Am Clipper
glass - coupe
method - shake and fine-strain
garnish - lime twist
1.75 oz. apple brandy (Lairds Straight Apple Brandy is fantastic)
.5 oz (plus one full bar spoon) of fresh lime juice
.5 oz. home-made pomegranate grenadine*
3 dashes Absinthe
1 dash baked apple bitters (optional...I prefer it)

* I make grenadine using POM brand pomegranate juice, pomegranate molases, orange flower water, and sugar.  

Another seasonal favorite of mine is the Cranberry Arbuste.  It's a super simple 3-ingredient cocktail packed full of flavor.  You can use apple brandy or bourbon.  Both work quite well.  This cocktail calls for a shrub (also known as drinking vinegars): at their most basic, a simple mixture of fresh fruit, vinegar, and sugar,  Think tangy, refreshing, and oh-so delicious.  The shrub in this particular cocktail spices things up for the holidays with fresh cranberries, gravenstein apple cider vinegar, cinnamon, star anise, orange peels, and allspice.

Cranberry Arbuste
glass - nick & nora
method - shake and fine-strain
garnish - orange peel with a small sprig of rosemary inside the peel
1.75 oz. apple brandy or bourbon
.75 oz. spiced cranberry shrub
.25 oz. frsh lemon juice


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