During the holidays it is always nice to have new refreshments to share with your guests. We mixed up three delicious cocktail recipes worthy of holiday cheer. Prior to my love of spices, I worked in the liquor industry for 12 years. (Let’s be honest though, I have always loved spices!) Becoming an expert on different liquors and how they're made was part of my job. The knowledge I gained from my experiences was special and the same disciplines I acquired in that industry translated well to my new profession in the spices—understanding food and spice flavor profiles. You can take the liquors in these recipes for example.
Gin often tastes floral and herbal. It pairs well with softer flavors like cured ham, seafood, light cheeses, and even ice cream. To compliment the gin, I created a cardamom-ginger simple syrup. The syrup is sweet, tart, and has a fresh menthol aspect thanks to the green cardamom pods. You can also use this syrup for a mocktail, using ginger ale or sparkling grape juice instead of gin. Don't forget the crystalized ginger slices.
Mezcal tequila is rich, smokey, and earthy, with notes of black pepper. It pairs well with tomatoes, dark meat, and mushrooms. Where there’s smoke there’s fire, that's why my Smokey Maria recipe calls for a generous dash of Vulcan’s Fire Salt. I also use Poblano Hot Sauce from our friends over at Co-op Sauce. This recipe makes good use of the pickling liquid from our preserved lemons. Make a whole pitcher of this and invite some friends over for New Year’s Day brunch!
Bourbon can have a smokey, caramel, vanilla, even a tobacco flavor. This spirit pairs nicely with rich, earthy foods and spicy flavors. I kept things simple by stirring brown sugar right into the bourbon and finishing it with a dash of our freshly ground allspice. The rich, diverse flavors of allspice fall well upon the sweet, woody profile of bourbon. For an extra holiday touch, throw in a cinnamon stick so your guests can stir things in spicy fashion.
These spirits come to life with ample spice in the recipe. I hope you enjoy discovering the different elements of flavor within each sip you take. Are you serving any special spiced beverages at your holiday party? We want to know about them! Share your recipes with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article recipes by Chasity Marini, Spice House General Manager—Evanston