Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Harvest Cocktails? YES.

I've made a decision.  Out of necessity and because there's no point in resisting the inevitable.  It's time to embrace the cold weather.  I'm officially leaving behind the warmth of Florida and jumping in to this looming Alaska winter with two feet.  I know, it's about time, right?  Long overdue, considering we're staring down the barrel of November & the temps are in the 40's during the day and the 30's at night.  Plus, there's this outside my backyard window:

Snow on the mountain tops...soon to be outside the front door!
A nice little perk to living in cooler temperatures is that you can really get into those cold weather comfort foods that never quite work very well in the tropics.  You know, those hearty beef stews and chicken pot pies that are the staples of winter comfort foods.  In Key West we avoided using the oven for about 6 months out of the year because it would heat up the house so much. - It's been nice not having to think about that when we cook here.

Aaaaaannd.....not only can you appreciate the winter comfort foods, but it's also the autumn harvest season, which is a conveniently fantastic excuse to start experimenting with harvesty cocktails.  Can you feel my attempts at being Sally freaking Sunshine about the cold weather?  I have to latch on to as many positives as I can about living at the fifty-seven degree latitude line.  Yes, yes, it's beautiful and rugged and unique and all that.  But it's also very.....north.

One of those positives is most definitely winter cocktails!  I was looking for a relatively simple cocktail with a harvesty-type feel, but I found that most of what I read about called for obscure or very specific liquors.  I kind of wanted a simple recipe that didn't require wacky ingredients, when I discovered a recipe for a pumpkin pie martini that looked promising.  I just had to give it a try.  I got it from a blog I stumbled upon called We Are Not Martha.  It's a combo food/lifestyle blog with all sorts of interesting information, recipes, links, tips, you name it.  And you've got to love their name.  Too bad the pumpkin pie martini was a total waste of time!

I was so disappointed with the end result.  It was just.....BAD.  It wasn't even a little bit good.  I took two sips and had to chuck it.  I guess they really aren't Martha.  So, my eyes have been wandering.  I've found myself lured by the variety and fun-factor of apple cider cocktails.  Specifically some sort of Spiked Hot Apple Cider.  And possibly pear cocktails.  What a tempting idea for a chilly Kodiak weekend evening.  No more pumpkin - Ew.  Unless it's in a pie.  So, I decided to give this other harvesty cocktail that I found a whirl in the wake of the pumpkin pie martini debacle.

It was from the same blog, so it crossed my mind that maybe I was being a glutton for punishment.  I was pleasantly surprised though, and as far as I'm concerned the ladies over at We Are Not Martha have redeemed themselves.  The cocktail I tried my hand at is called a Habanero Ginger Apple Cider Cocktail.  I couldn't read that name and not need to give it a shot, despite the very sad results of my first harvesty cocktail attempt.  C'mon, she describes it as autumn in a glass.  Yes, please. The only complicated part (which isn't even really complicated) is making the simple syrup.  For a detailed step-by-step to make this cocktail, check out the recipe HERE.

Ginger & habanero gettin' happy
I followed the recipe from the link above and used two habaneros, but I think next time I would only use one.  This is not a cocktail for sissies as far as the spiciness goes.  I wasn't expecting it to be as spicy as it turned out.  Seriously, two habaneros = YOWZAH in the spice department.  Don't get me wrong, it's definitely good, but I think I'll tone down the spice in my next batch.  If you don't like a lot of spice, I would recommend only using one habanero.  Or you could omit the habaneros altogether if you don't want it spicy at all, but I haven't tried it that way yet so I'm not sure how it tastes. 

I realized after the fact that this recipe is meant for two servings, so if you want you can split it into two glasses.  Worked just fine for me as one serving - but  I can be little on the boozy side, so whatever works for you.

I love how the ginger adds a slight lemony flavor, and I dig the spiciness.  We used Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum, so that made it pretty yummy as well. She's right. - Autumn in a glass.

I'll count this one as a success in my tip-toeing into harvesty and winter cocktail experimentation.  If you give it a try, let me know what you think in the comments. - As always, I'd love to hear from you.  Stay tuned for some more cocktail experimentation as we creep out of autumn and into the winter I'm refusing to dread.  Sally Sunshine, remember?

Ta-ta for now.

Habanero Ginger Apple Cider Cocktail.  Spicy, Autumn-y Deliciousness.

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