What will they think of next? (November edition)

As we head into the holiday portion of the year, our thoughts turn to hearty cocktails -- if we're smart.

I've perused a variety of recipes from numerous sources to select this trio of treats for my monthly collection of drinks for you to try at home, or in your bar.

Cider Mill Martini

This recipe is from Natalie Mouyianis, co-owner of the Hard Luck Lounge in Grosse Pointe Park, MI. The drink is shown above.

For the apple-cinnamon vodka infusion:

1 750 ml bottle of vodka
3 cinnamon sticks
4 red apples (any kind you like; organic are best)
1 doughnut hole

Put cinnamon sticks and vodka in air-tight container or jar, seal. Let soak for a few days, then wash, seed and quarter the apples and put them into the cinnamon vodka. Leave it refrigerated for four days, then strain into an empty bottle. Infusion will keep for up to a week refrigerated.

For the cocktail:

5 ounces apple-cinnamon vodka
2 ounces fresh apple cider
1 ounce simple syrup

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker, shake well, strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a mini regular doughnut or cinnamon doughnut hole on the rim. Makes 1 cocktail.

(Note: To make simple syrup, put equal parts sugar and water in saucepan, heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Chill.)

Kurant Imperial Kir

This festive wine-spirits combo comes from Drink of the Week. It is made by gently pouring in a champagne glass ...

1 oz. Absolut Kurant Vodka
1 oz. Creme de Casis
Fill with Champagne

Stir gently and serve immediately.

Bitter Love

Jaime Boudreau, whose names sounds Cajun but whose venue is the Tini Bigs cocktail lounge in Seattle, is getting rave reviews from regional press for his imaginative cocktails. Here's a simple, but unusual, example.

2 oz. chardonnay
1 oz. gin
¼ oz. Campari
2 oz. grapefruit juice

Shake hard and strain into a cocktail glass.

[Go here for all the monthly installments of this feature.]

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