Wine is aged in a barrel, so why not spirits? That’s the thinking behind the newest trick of the artisan bartender trade: barrel-aged cocktails. “Barrel aging will refine the product and round out any harsh notes, making the spirit a bit more palatable for guests,” explained Maxime Belfand, head bartender at New York City’s Saxon + Parole. “The wood also imparts interesting flavors into the spirit, so you can experiment with different types of woods for this as well. Also, the barrel aging exposes the spirit to oxygen, which also adds a new flavor element, making it a bit more complex.” Here are three top spots where you can sip your next barrel-aged cocktail.
The air is beginning to get crisp and chilly, and you know what that means … don’t you? All the best things! The coziest knitted sweaters, hot lattes and cider at any and all times of day, and warm, hearty soups. Not to mention stepping on all those crunchy leaves while wearing those favorite boots getting fresh air for the first time in, well … a while.
I’ve been frequenting the apple orchard nearly every weekend recently, and I just cannot seem to leave without a bottle of apple cider and a bag of fresh doughnuts. Have I mentioned that I love this time of year? I remember going to apple orchards as a little girl with my family and always being so eager to get lost in the corn maze with my brothers. After the relief from the hot weather of summertime, the little girl in me wanted to spend all day, every day out there. Fortunately, living near an apple orchard made my fall-loving dreams come true nearly every weekend. It was always necessary to warm up afterward with a steamy cup of hot apple cider.
The child in me is always game for a long walk in the orchard on those crunchy leaves, but the adult in me prefers warming up after a long day of fall activities with a big scoop of apple crisp and a yummy adult drink. Enter vodka and cranberry cocktail with apple cider ice cubes.
This is dangerously easy and delicious. Make it for any and all get-togethers this time of year, and of course plan on it for Thanksgiving. Not only does it taste sweet and spicy, but just look at it! Those colors! The ruby-red cranberries cover the surface, and the perfectly cubed apple cider cubes are the best additions and amp up the flavor. If you are feeling overzealous, you could create an entire tablescape to match: Spread those little cranberry cuties across the table, and add some glittery gold pumpkins. Always a good idea.
Pop quiz! Baijiu is … (pick one)
A. The French word for “jewelry”
B. The first name of a model-actress who’s the daughter of that guy from the Mamas and the Papas
C. A marshy body of water in the Southern United States
D. That song Megan sang to Don for his 40th birthday on Mad Men
Friday night at the New York City Wine & Food Festival was spent just how you would expect: with dancing, drinks and lots of food. Night owls made their way to The Bowery Hotel in downtown Manhattan, where Rachael Ray and her husband, John Cusimano, brought their signature South by Southwest music and cocktail party, Rachael Ray’s Feedback, to the Big Apple. The Bowery Hotel’s glamorous, luxurious and vintage-style terrace proved the perfect place to unite Rachael and John’s shared love for food and music. Boasting the rockin’ vibes of Austin (the live music capital), special bar bites curated by Rachael herself and libations handcrafted by award-winning chefs, this late-night party bled into Saturday.
What pairs perfectly with your couch and some heavy knits? A warming cocktail featuring our favorite fall ingredients, of course. This weekend, stock the bar cart and treat yourself to one of these cozy drinks, plus make a spiked shake for dessert.
Who knew your favorite summer drink could be so versatile? Sip sangria all through fall with Bobby Flay’s mulled version (pictured above), made with Spanish red wine, brandy and sugar. Heat the ingredients, add in some citrus fruits and ladle into mugs for the perfect post-hay ride drink.
‘Tis the season for all things apples, from sweet classics like pies, tarts and breads, to the savory side of the menu with hearty pork roasts and fresh salads. But what happens at cocktail hour? It turns out that you can enjoy the taste of autumn’s signature flavor in drink form, too. On this morning’s all-new episode of The Kitchen, the co-hosts celebrated the best flavors of fall with go-to seasonal recipes, including Geoffrey Zakarian’s Apple Sorbet, Scotch and Soda Float.
It takes only those three key ingredients and a quick five minutes to make this adults-only cocktail, which doubles as a dessert, thanks to the scoops of refreshing apple sorbet in each class. The secret to serving GZ’s recipe? Freezing the glasses before filling them with the sorbet, which will help keep the drink chilled longer.
If you’ve ever gone apple picking, you know that a hot cup of cider is the ultimate treat on a crisp fall day. But the unfiltered juice is too good to be limited to your orchard experiences. It’s equally delicious cold and makes an amazing home cocktail mixer. To get the party started, Food Network Magazine came up with eight fun recipes so you can begin toasting to fall. Get happy hour (and dessert) inspiration from the October issue below and start mixing.
If a beach escape isn’t in the cards this summer, ramp up the tropical factor with some island-themed snacks and perhaps a tiki cocktail, to take advantage of the warm weather. The tiki masters behind Chicago’s popular Three Dots and a Dash shake up to 2,000 rum-centric drinks on a typical night.
Beverage director Diane Corcoran oversees the menu of fruity, potent and often flaming combinations, including the classic Mai Tai, the coconut-based Painkiller and the smoky-sweet, summer-ready Bikinis After Dark (recipe below).
“The key to great tiki cocktails is keeping it balanced,” she says. “Use fresh juices — pineapple, lemon and lime — and get flavors from things that aren’t syrup. You can use a lot of fresh fruit and purees without added sugar to get that fruit flavor.”
What’s the best way to get the most flavor out of your cocktail? Muddling. The gentle mashing and combining of fruits with other ingredients will help to release fresh flavors and encourage a mingling of your base and spirit. In fact, it may be even more important than shaking or stirring when it comes to creating the perfect summer cocktail. Be careful not to over-muddle when working with delicate herbs such as mint and basil (which will become bitter) or delicate fruits that may benefit from larger pieces (for color and for visual appeal). Rosemary, lemon, limes and sturdier ingredients will be able to stand a heavy muddling. Whether you choose to use a wood, plastic or metal muddler, it’s the ultimate tool to craft these summer cocktails.
Pineapple-Raspberry Rum Refresher (pictured above)
Skip soda water or tonic and use coconut water for your summer cocktail. Melissa D’Arabian gently muddles frozen raspberries before topping with coconut water, pineapple juice and rum. Stir gently and serve with sprigs of mint.
My brother recently tied the knot, which meant lots of parties and prep beforehand. A few months ago, I got to plan a super-fun bachelorette party for my now sister-in-law, and the individual strawberry champagne gelatin shots that one of the girls brought were the hit of the night.
Not only were the shots adorable and fun, but they tasted delicious. And she kept telling me how simple they were! I begged for the recipe. For the party, she used mini plastic cups and sealed them with plastic lids for easy transporting and consumption in a hotel room. I could not even wait to make my own version of these!
I’m rather nutty about Bellinis — give me all the Prosecco and all the fruit. I adore trying new combos, and last year I even made a Bellini bar, which has been an easy go-to at parties these days.
For the party shots, I stuck to a classic, the peach Bellini. And since we were serving these at home, I made them in a baking dish, but they would definitely work in the single-portion cups if you’d like to take them to a party. These are my new favorite party trick, and they couldn’t be better for summer, now that peaches are finally in season.