With visions of sugarplums dancing in his head, PDT owner Jim Meehan pulled out a bottle of Damson gin liqueur and starting tinkering. Damson plums—the spiciest and most tart variety of the fruit—often ripen in early September, just in time to be macerated into a liquid holiday treat. Made in the Finger Lakes, Averell's Damson Gin is an American take on the classic British liqueur. A combination of fresh damson juice, gin and sugar, it's like the less bitter cousin of sloe gin.
'winter cocktails' on Serious Eats
It's that time of year again, when we all develop that natural inclination to reach for something bubbly. Here are five sparkling cocktail recipes from two of our favorite places to toast in Chicago: Sepia, where Josh Pearson presides over the handsome marble bar, and Pops for Champagne, a longtime fixture of the city's bubbly scene. We promise you'll have no trouble replicating these drinks in all their fizzy finery.
As much as a Manhattan made with top-quality vermouth hits the spot, and as good as a well-made Sazerac always is, we wanted to explore what rye can do when it comes together with fresher flavors—grapefruit, lemon, apple cider, even balsalmic vinegar. The results, thanks to these recipes from a few bartender friends—including Sother Teague of Amor y Amargo in NYC and Leo Robitschek of The Nomad and Eleven Madison Park—are delicious.
Since it's the season for entertaining, we asked Chris Lane of Lolinda to teach us a few holiday cocktail recipes for whipping up at home. He shared some favorites from the current menu, including the Armagnac-based Carpenter's Hand; the Bergen Street, a twist on a classic citrusy gin cocktail; and The Devil's Backbone, a balanced blend of rye and Scotch. He also showed us how to make Napoleon's Vice, a winter-ready tiki drink, and a dangerously tasty rum-spiked mulled wine.
Homemade eggnog can be a delicious thing, enriched with fresh eggs and cream, a careful grating of nutmeg, and just the right amount of sugar. (Plus a dunked cookie or two.) But mixing it up yourself can seem a little daunting (and holiday entertaining already has you frazzled). So you're just going to pick up a carton at the grocery store. But which brand should you buy? We recently conducted a blind taste test to figure out which is the best nationally-available brand of premade eggnog.
Rompope, the Mexican version of eggnog, and coquito, the coconut-enhanced Puerto Rican version, are poured and shared on nochebuena (Christmas Eve) and given out as gifts in festively wrapped bottles, but they'll fit in at any holiday celebration.