I got it into my head that I wanted to make cocktails for Christmas. I’ve been bookmarking all sorts of cocktail recipes lately, for a couple of reasons. First, mixology is really interesting right now. It’s got a decidedly culinary bent, with many establishments making house-made flavorings, syrups and bitters. And we drinks a lot of cocktails on our last vacation to Grenada and Barbados, where I became particularly fond of rum and Angoustura bitters. Plus, cocktails are fun. And unlike wine, I don’t get migraines when I drink a cocktail.
Our new-ish Christmas tradition has been to spend the day with our neighbors. Larry and I join Chris, Dan and Assana at Assana’s house and we nosh on cheese, crackers and charcuterie, sip on wine, and make a pot of chili for dinner. We all bring something so it’s never just one person doing the work. This year, Dan made the chili and cornbread, Chris put together a great salad and brought limoncello for post-dessert, Assana did all of the wine and appetizers, and Larry and I did cocktails and the monumental Stump de Noel.
Before the big day, Larry and I went through some of the recipes I had bookmarked and decided on an Autumn Sweater, from Sepia in Chicago, and an American Eagle, from Bar Americain. Both required a little bit of preparation but seemed festive and Winter-y without being too difficult to mix on the spot.
The Autumn Sweater is rum-based. We have plenty of rum on hand, but I went ahead and used the recommended Ron Zacapa. The drink also contains falernum, Calvados, Angostura Bitters and lemon juice. It’s delicious, and was Assana’s favorite. Maybe Larry’s too. I love this drink, but preferred the American Eagle, probably because it’s smoky and has a bit of cinnamon in it. And I’m partial to bourbon.
The recipe for the Autumn Sweater is linked below, and I’m including the recipe for the American Eagle here, because it’s that good.
Source: Bar Americain, Bobby Flay
The cocktail takes its name from the single-barrel ninety-proof bourbon w hiskey Eagle Rare, but any high- quality bourbon can be substituted. The small amount of fresh lime juice is needed to add brightness to the drink, not flavor.
1/2 ounces Eagle Rare or other good-quality bourbon
1 ounce Cinnamon Syrup (recipe follows)
2 big dashes of Angostura bitters
1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 cinnamon stick
Fill a rocks glass with ice. Add the bourbon, cinnamon syrup, bitters, and lime juice. Garnish with the cinnamon stick.
Simple syrup, or sugar syrup, is very easy to make and is used to sweeten many cocktails as well as iced tea, iced coffee, and even sorbets. The standard ratio is equal parts sugar and water. These recipes can be halved, doubled, or tripled and stored in the refrigerator in a well-sealed container for up to 1 month.
Makes 1 cup (8 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
4 cinnamon sticks
Bring the sugar, water, and 4 cinnamon sticks to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat and cook until the sugar is completely melted, a minute or so. Remove from the heat. Strain, transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, and refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour.