How did we get to Thanksgiving so quickly? It feels like yesterday that we rang in 2016. Anyway, I digress. It's time, perhaps even overdue, to look at making some cocktails to help whet the appetite on the holiday and digest after the big meal. One of the first points of inspiration is Brad Parsons' terrific new book, "AMARO". There are tons of fabulous recipes in there to help guide you in using amari in cocktails.
In coming up with three recipes for the big day, we riffed on classics as well as some newer recipes. But before diving into cocktails, we decided to brandy some cranberries.
Brandied Cranberries: from The Little Epicurean
6 oz fresh cranberries, 3/4 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 cup water, 1 cinnamon stick, 1/2 cup brandy.
In a small pot, bring water and sugar to a boil. Add cranberries, and stir until coated in syrup. Cook for 30-45 seconds, just before the cranberries start to pop open. Remove from heat and transfer to a 1/2 liter jar. Add cinnamon stick, pour in brandy, then pour in enough sugar syrup to fill the jar. Cover with lid and let chill for at least 48 hours.
Old Fashioned, Bilaro Style
1 1/2 oz Bourbon (we used Buffalo Trace); 1/2 oz Amaro Bilaro; 4 barspoons spiced cranberry simple syrup and 3 dashes Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6.
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir vigorously until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass with 1 large cube; garnish with brandied cranberries
Autumn in Occidental
This is inspired by Brad Parsons' recipe Autumn Sweater, in his book "Bitters."
1 oz Rye; 1/2 oz Amaro Bilaro; 1/2 oz Averna; 1/2 oz maple syrup; 1 dash Fee Bros. Orange Bitters; 1 dash Fee Bros Aztec Chocolate Bitters
Combine ingredients in a mixing glass with ice, stir well until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass, over a large cube of ice. Garnish with an orange peel, studded with cloves.
The last cocktail is an adaptation of Cranberry Beret, in AMARO.
2 satsuma orange wedges; 12 brandied cranberries; 1 1/2 oz Laird's Applejack; 1/2 oz Amaro Bilaro; 1/2 oz Aperol; 2 dashes Scrappy's Orange Bitters; Eye Apple Cyder
The apple cider we used, called Eye Cyder, is made by Eric Sussman, winemaker and owner of Radio-Coteau in Sebastopol, in west Sonoma County. Wicked tasty, and we love how great Eye Cyder and Bilaro play together.
Combine satsuma wedges and cranberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle until the fruit is just broken up. Add the Applejack, Amaro Bilaro, Aperol and bitters and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top off with Eye Cyder; garnish with orange peel and skewered brandied cranberries.