There is always food and beverages in my books. Pubs, restaurants, bakeries. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, midnight snack. Ale, wine, small beer. You name it. My characters always end up talking over food and/or drinks. So, in keeping with the party theme and the fact that I can’t seem to write anything without putting someone in a bar or tavern, here are two cocktails that I adore. Both combine in delicious way things I love individually. And you can’t get much better than that, right?
This is one I made up myself. It’s a bit high maintenance in its preparation, but once you have the ingredients, it’s quite simple.
Equal parts spiced pumpkin syrup (recipe below) and vanilla vodka. (Two shots each usually does well for one serving, but I have rather large martini glasses.)
A splash of cream
Shake it all up and strain into a martini glass. Soooooo good! Especially now that autumn is nearly upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere.
Here’s one I got from a fantastic and funny waiter at the (sadly now long departed) Brass Monkey Restaurant & Bar in Vancouver, BC.
1 shot freshly pulled espresso
1/2 oz kahlua
1/2 oz crème de cacao
1 oz vodka
Shake well and strain into glass.
Okay. Here’s my recipe for making Spiced Pumpkin Syrup. Do I expect anyone else to be this nuts? No. Just go to the store and buy Spiced Pumpkin Italian Syrup. It’ll work. It just won’t be nearly as cool as making it yourself. ... I'm just sayin'.
Spiced Pumpkin Syrup
Halve and scoop the guts from a sugar pie pumpkin (or, indeed, from several).
Roast cut-sides down (on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum for easy clean-up) at 450-500 F until done. (Anywhere from 30-60 minutes depending on your oven and the size of your pumpkins.)
Remove from oven, allow to cool until you can peel the skins off.
Throw the skins away. They’re sticky and useless.
Put pumpkin flesh in food processor and blend until smooth.
Line mesh strainer with cheesecloth, place over bowl (or a large measuring cup because you’ll need one anyway.), and add puréed pumpkin to the strainer.
Allow to drain overnight.
Take the liquid you’ve gathered, measure it (Said you’d need the measuring cup.), and pour it into a sauce pan.
Add half as much sugar as there is liquid (or equal parts sugar to liquid, depending on your personal sweet tooth).
Add a cinnamon stick, some whole cloves, and a few allspice berries.
Heat to dissolve sugar and allow to steep, infusing spices into the syrup.
Remove from heat, allow to cool, strain out spices.
Store your new spiced pumpkin syrup in the fridge.
Make amazingly tasty martinis.
Oh. You want to know what to do with the puréed pumpkin? Well, there’s pumpkin sauce for pasta, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin scones, and let me tell you it makes a mighty good pumpkin pie. Mmm...pie!
Now I’m hungry and I want a drink. ::looks at watch:: Bit early for the latter, but maybe some scones… ::wanders off to the kitchen::