Thursday, November 12, 2009

Liver Punisher: Late Fall Libations

Summer demands tropical drinks, and crisp, lighter beers. It’s a time for margaritas and daiquiris, Tecate and Hoegaarden. Heat and humidity require that libations be cool, refreshing and none too heavy, lest they leave one overly filled and lethargic on a balmy afternoon.

In the winter there are a bevy of seasonal bevs to reach for. Hell, Ohio makes two of the best, GLBC’s Christmas Ale (out now!!!) and Columbus Brewing Company’s Winter Warmer. Both hearty and rich, full of herbs, spices and other adornments to take the chill off a winter’s eve. And if beer isn’t you style there are any number of concoctions that will warm body and soul during you holiday festivities or while curled up by the fire side on a snowy night; an Irish coffee perhaps, some eggnog, or maybe a jigger of amaretto or crème de menthe in your hot cocoa?

Whatever your poison, seasonal beverages abound for the most extreme of seasons, certainly. But what of the interims? What does one imbibe in the spring of fall? Sure, there are Oktoberfest beers and pumpkin ales at first, but most of those finish their runs by Halloween, leaving a dearth of seasonal sippers in the meantime.

This is why Liver Punisher is proud to present your new official late fall beverage:

Sure, I’d heard rumblings and grumblings of such concoctions before, but never believed the magic to be real. Apple cider—and apple juice, too, for that matter—always seemed like poor mixer options. While both delicious, apple is a much too assertive flavor to play well with others. And bourbon is just too good to be diluted by more than an ice cube, or perhaps a splash of ginger ale. But the math is simple: bourbon + cider = delicious.

Since I started tinkering with this I’ve discovered that I prefer this drink chilled, and construct it as follows:
- Place 3 or 4 ice cubes in a rocks or old fashioned glass
- Add a 3-count pour of bourbon (approx. 1.5-2 shots)
- Fill remainder with apple cider, locally pressed if possible
- Top with a dash of ground cinnamon or nutmeg (optional)
The slightly smokey, slightly oaken cherry/vanilla flavors of the bourbon beautifully compliment the raw, natural apple flavor of the cider.

Need something a bit warmer on a chilly November day? Try this recipe:
- In a saucepan or microwave heat 6oz. of cider per person
- Add a 3-count pour of bourbon to the bottom of a mug
- Top with hot cider and serve with a cinnamon stick
A calming night cap to be sure, using Wild Turkey 101 in this recipe yields what my friend Keith dubbed an “Irish Thanksgiving.”

You may be thinking, “This sounds great, but what kind of bourbon should use?” And you would be correct to wonder such things. I recommend using a good quality bourbon, but nothing terribly fancy; Jim Beam, Evan Williams, or something of comparable price and reputation. Anything more expensive, say a Maker’s Mark or the like, would be some what a waste since so many of a finer bourbon’s qualities will be lost to the cider. On the other hand cheaping out and buying bargain basement bourbon will create a cocktail that is astringent and unpleasing. If bourbon is not readily available any good quality American whiskey will work fine, anything along the lines of Jack Daniels should be almost as good. On the other hand, I wouldn’t suggest using Scotch or any of the Irish whiskeys. The smokiness of Scotch would certainly overwhelm the drink, creating something that would likely taste of burnt apples, while Irish whiskey generally has s thinner, lighter flavor which would certainly be lost to the robust taste of the cider. No, the flavor profile of this drink demands that one buy Kentucky!

However, should one find themselves overstocked with hard cider and cinnamon schnapps, try one of these recipes on for size:

The classy route:
- Pour ½-1 shot of cinnamon schnapps into the bottom of a pint glass
- Top with a sweeter hard cider (e.g.: Woodchuck or Strongbow)

The less-classy route:
- Fill a pint glass half-way with hard cider
- Fill a regular shot glass ¾ with cinnamon schnapps (e.g.: Hot-Damn, Goldschlager) [full shot if you skip the next step]
- Top shot with 151 proof rum and set ablaze! (optional)
- Carefully drop flaming shot into pint glass…
- Chug!
The latter shall be henceforth known as a (Flaming) Cider Bomb, the former remains nameless. Suggestions?

Hopefully these recipes give you some inspiration and refreshment this season, thoughts, adjustments, and augmentations are appreciated.


Liver Punisher


Kaz said...

Here's another way to do cider with a kick. Buy non-treated cider (i.e., no potassium sorbate added) and let it get hard. Just don't refrigerate it for a couple of days and it will start to "cook" and get slightly hard - it has a nice bite of an aftertaste this way. Then mix with a dark rum such as Myer's. It's a very refreshing drink!

Jon said...

that sounds delicious!

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