The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) is an industry organization that lobbies on behalf of its members, distributes research statistics, pushes responsible drinking campaigns and does other related work.
It also is pretty handy at getting top mixologists to contribute cocktail recipes for consumers to enjoy during the upcoming holiday seasons. Here's a sampling of "simple cocktails with fresh ingredients pulled straight from the holiday table."
• Cider House Rules
Brian Van Flandern, of Creative Cocktail Consultants Corp. in New York (and previously of Per Se and Bemelmans) serves versatile cocktails with “a whole lot of fresh flavor” for his Thanksgiving get-togethers. “My favorite is a refreshing autumnal cocktail that I call Cider House Rules. The crisp flavors of apples and cinnamon conjure images of the holidays -- and works well with meals from early fall right through the end of winter.”
1½ ounces 100% blue agave tequila
1½ punces fresh-squeezed apple cider
½ ounce sparkling water
¼ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce agave nectar or cane sugar simple syrup
Pinch of ground cinnamon
Combine all ingredients, and serve in a martini glass garnished with an apple wedge.
• Harvest Swizzle
Cameron Bogue, executive bar manager for Lumière and db bistro moderne in New York, prefers classic cocktails updated with fresh ingredients already on his holiday shopping list. “The spice of a good falernum always reminds me of the brisk days during the holiday season. I blend it with Turkey Day ingredients, like fresh-squeezed cranberry juice, to add tart acidity and highlight the other flavors I already have on the table.”
1 ounce aged white rum
¾ ounce homemade or commercial falernum
1¼ ounces pure cranberry juice
Shake and pour in a tall glass over crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig. (To make falernum, combine one part rum infused 24 hours with lime peels, cloves and ginger, one part orgeat and two parts simple syrup.)
• Holiday Mojito
Adam Seger of Chicago's Nacional 27 translates traditional holiday recipes into new, creative cocktails. “My delicious adult interpretation of holiday cranberries will put smiles on your guests' faces, as well as a bit of stress relief for the host because it tastes as delicious with the meal as it does while sampling the appetizers and reminiscing with guests.”
3 teaspoons rum-marinated cranberries
3 lime wedges
3 orange wedges
3 generous pinches fresh mint leaves
1¼ ounces rum
1 ounce pure cranberry juice
1 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 ounce mint syrup
Rub a lime around the lip of a strong pint glass and frost glass by inverting in a bowl of superfine bar sugar. Add cranberries to glass and muddle well until you crush some berries and smell fragrant cranberries. Add lime and orange wedges, and mint. Muddle until mint is fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Fill glass with ice and top with club soda.
(To make mint syrup, blend 2 cups sugar with 2 cups water in a sauce pan until sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat and add generous pinch of bruised mint leaves to syrup while still hot. Cool and strain syrup into a sealable container.)
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