Sugar and spice and everything nice!
Bake for the kids and then treat yourself with adult versions of December goodies
More frequently than any other time of the year, the aromas of freshly baked cookies, pies and other sweets straight out of the oven waft through the home. The scents of nutmeg, ginger and peppermint (as well as the redolence of pine) leave no doubt that elves will soon be loading a sleigh at the North Pole. As children, we rejoiced in the yuletide as the time of year when we got away with eating more treats than usually permitted. As adults, we still may indulge a little more in the holiday “spirit” (wink, wink), because ’tis the season to be jolly. Since our grown-up palates and lifestyles are geared more toward sipping a liquid goody than biting an appendage off a gingerbread boy, we offer the following recipes — drawing upon the smells and flavors that leave a lasting impression on year’s end. One caution: As much as you might be tempted to leave Santa one of these drinks in lieu of the standard tumbler of milk next to a plate of cookies to fuel his nocturnal journey, please stick with the Holiday Peppermint Patty mocktail. Remember, he’s driving.
Gingerbread Martini (from Avant at Rancho Bernardo Inn)
2 1/2 oz., plus 2 T. half-and-half
2-3 gingerbread cookies, crushed and small chunks for garnish
2 oz. vanilla vodka
1 1/2 oz. Kahlua
1 1/2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream
3 T. gingerbread syrup
Whipped cream for garnish
Pour 2 T. half-and-half into a small saucer. Dip the rims of two martini glasses into the half-and-half and then into gingerbread crumbs.
Set aside. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine remaining ingredients, except whipped cream. Shake well and pour into the glasses. Place a dollop of whipped cream on top and further garnish with a small chunk of cookie.
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. brown sugar
4 T. molasses
1 t. ground ginger
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
Heat all ingredients in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves (about 5 minutes).
Chocolate Pear Tree (from Mille Fleurs in Rancho Santa Fe)
1.5 oz. vodka
1/4 oz. Frangelico
1/4 oz. Godiva dark chocolate liqueur
1/4 oz. Godiva white chocolate liqueur
Pinch of nutmeg
4 thick slices of pear
In a shaker, muddle three pear slices with Frangelico. Add vodka, chocolate liqueurs and ice. Shake and double-strain into a chilled martini glass. Top with a pinch of nutmeg and garnish with a slice of pear on the rim of the glass.
The Catholic (from Cusp Dining & Drinks at Hotel La Jolla)
1 1/2 oz. George Dickel Rye Whisky
1/2 oz. pine syrup (directions follow)
1/2 oz. King’s Ginger liqueur
1 egg white
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Few drops of Angostura bitters
Put rye, syrup and ginger liqueur in a mixing tin. Add egg white and shake. Add lemon juice and ice and shake again. Strain into a coupe glass and add a few drops of bitters to the top.
1/2 c. water
1/2 c. simple syrup
Pinch of salt
1 T. pine needles
Bring water, syrup and salt to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir together, then boil for 1 minute without stirring. Remove from heat and add pine needles. Let steep 2-3 hours. Strain and refrigerate until ready to use.
Holiday Peppermint Patty (from Casa de Bandini in Carlsbad)
6 oz. horchata
4 oz. milk
1/2 oz. grenadine
1 oz. chocolate syrup, divided use 4 oz. ice
Whipped cream for garnish
1/2 oz. crushed candy canes
Mix horchata, milk, 1/2 oz. chocolate syrup, grenadine and ice in a blender. Drizzle 1/2 oz. chocolate syrup in a pint glass. Pour the blended mixture into the glass, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with 1/2 oz. crushed candy canes.
Santa’s Little Sherry Baby (from URBN in North Park)
Peppermint candy to infuse vodka and for garnish
2 oz. vodka
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1 oz. crème de cacao
Sherry drizzle (recipe follows)
Let peppermint candy sit for one hour in vodka.
Put vodka, ice cream, crème de cacao and egg in a shaker and shake well. Add ice and shake again. Pour into a coupe glass. Garnish with sherry drizzle and crushed peppermint.
1 oz. Lustau Solera Reserva Pedro Ximénez San Emilio Sherry
1 oz. cinnamon syrup
1 oz. chocolate syrup
1 oz. brown sugar
Put all ingredients into a bowl and stir until brown sugar is fully incorporated.