Time for Thyme Cocktails

Honey Thyme Bourbon Cocktail from Lynsey Loves Food

Honey Thyme Bourbon Cocktail from Lynsey Loves Food

When it comes to cocktails, mint is the king of the herbs. (And basil seems to be the queen?) But most other herbs are also fantastic in drinks! Thyme is a go-to herb for cooking, but it adds a surprising savory freshness to cocktails, too. Here are a few cocktail recipes that show off what thyme can do.

Meyer Lemon Gin Cocktail ~ Thyme and Green Chartreuse give the tested combination of Meyer lemon and gin an exciting new dimension.

Pear Thyme Gin Fizz ~ Savory time with sweet, crisp pear pairs well with gin in this cocktail, but you could sub in vodka if that’s more your style.

Honey Thyme Bourbon Cocktail ~ This line-up of ingredients just screams out “winter drinking” to me. If I had a fireplace, I’d be sipping this by the fire right now.

Precious Thyme ~ Add thyme to Campari, limoncello, sweet vermouth and a little club soda, and you get a lovely highball that doesn’t go too heavy on the booze. It’s a great way to use homemade limoncello!

Limoncello Gin Cocktail With Grilled Thyme ~ Another great drink to use DIY limoncello in … Grilling the thyme coaxes out more of the flavor. This recipe calls for grilling it outside, but I think you could easily accomplish this by some indoor cooking.

DIY Limoncello

112911-181461-diyvsbuy-diylimoncelloLemons! What to do with them? Make limoncello, silly. It’s as easy as zesting lemons and waiting. I used Meyer lemons, which I much prefer. But you can use any kind of lemon you please.

If you can’t get a hold of of an Everclear 151-type alcohol, use the highest proof vodka available to you (80 proof is standard vodka, but there’s often 100 proof vodka available, too.). Continue reading

Punch Recipe for the Holidays: Horse & Carriage

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Horse & Carriage from Saveur

What punch should you make for your holiday party? Here is my official endorsement: Horse & Carriage! I made this last week and it was a hit. Gin, elderflower and champagne are an obvious (to me) combination, but what really made this punch stand out was the chamomile tea. It added complexity and sophistication to what otherwise could have been a bit of a one-note concoction. I wish I had made a double batch! (It went fast.)

I modified the recipe a bit from Saveur’s to include more sparkling wine. I think this is a big improvement on the flavor, with the added benefit of making a larger amount of punch. It didn’t taste very balanced the original way, in my humble opinion.

Horse & Carriage (modified)
4 tablespoons citrus sugar (recipe below)
6 ounces fresh lemon juice
6 ounces gin
3 ounces St. Germain elderflower liqueur
3 ounces triple sec
10 ounces cold chamomile tea
8 oz. sparkling wine
Lemon and orange wheels, pomegranate seeds for garnish and ice block (instructions below) Continue reading

Cranberry Cocktails

Cranberry Gimlet from Food Fanatic

Cranberry Gimlet from Food Fanatic

Cranberries are festive and beautiful … but super-duper sour, so people usually shy away unless a lot of sugar is involved. (You’re not exactly going to be snacking on a handful of them while you watch TV.) However, this tart berry is perfect for cocktails. Whether you still have some cranberries left from Thanksgiving or not, here are some striking and tasty cranberry drink recipes worth celebrating with.

Cranberry Orange Manhattan ~ This holiday take on the Manhattan is made with rye infused with cranberry and orange. Yum!

Cranberry Bourbon Cocktail ~ Cranberry syrup, amaro and yuzu juice complement bourbon in this holiday cocktail treat.

Holiday Mule ~ The Moscow Mule gets the holiday treatment in this cranberry twist on a classic.

Cranberry Gimlet ~ Another cranberry-inspired version of an old favorite, this Gimlet is just right for the holidays.

Cranberry Mint Julep ~ Well, I declare! Adding cranberry to a Mint Julep sounds like a great idea to me.

Gingerbread Toddy

gingerbreadtoddyIt’s raining and fall coziness is in full effect. So Savvy Housekeeping and I made the perfect seasonal twist on the Hot Toddy—the Gingerbread Toddy. Made with a delicious gingerbread syrup, this warming cocktail tastes like real gingerbread. The syrup would also be good in other drinks like a Gingerbread Latte.

Gingerbread Toddy
2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce gingerbread syrup* (recipe below)
1/3-1/2 cup hot water
A squeeze of lemon

Combine bourbon and syrup in a mug. Fill to the top with hot water. Add a few drops of lemon juice and stir.

*Gingerbread Syrup:
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice

Combine all the syrup ingredients in a pan. Heat to boiling on a stovetop while whisking until all the powdery substances dissolve. Boil for 2-3 minutes so that the syrup thickens slightly.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

Persimmon Cocktails

Persimmon Sour from Serious Eats

Persimmon Sour from Serious Eats

I love persimmons! However, the persimmon doesn’t get much love. When you’re not eating them, you should be drinking them. With liquor! Why are you not doing this right now? It’s very autumnal. Here are some fall persimmon cocktails to try.

Spice Trade ~ I’m starting off fancy: a genever and persimmon cocktail with an anise and cardamom syrup for depth and sweetness.

Orange-Persimmon Margarita ~ It’s margarita time … only with persimmon added to the mix to give you some fall fruit goodness.

Persimmon Sour ~ Persimmon puree, gin and lime with a little simple syrup is a simple and satisfying fresh cocktail.

Persimmon Rum Spritzer ~ Refreshing and lightly sweet for those fall days that feel a little more like summer (we’ve been having a lot of those where I live).

Persimmon Mojitos ~ Mint and bubbles give the persimmon (and fall) a little oomph.

Pear Cocktails

Thyme-Kissed Pear-Infused Honey Syrup & The Bee’s Knees from Reclaiming Provinical

Thyme-Kissed Pear-Infused Honey Syrup & The Bee’s Knees from Reclaiming Provinical

Fall has been a whirlwind of activity for me—so much so that I haven’t even I had time to make myself a cocktail. (Something must be done about this, right?) So I’m happy to jump back into fall drinks with these pear cocktails. Pear is a lovely, flexible fruit that tastes great with any kind of liquor and a wide variety of herbs. That makes it tasty and fun to play with. Here are some pear cocktails to try.

Rosemary Pear Cocktail ~ This is a light and flavorful cocktail that’s perfect for these fall nights that feel a little like summer nights.

Sparkling Pear Ambrosia ~ Cardamom-infused brandy, pear nectar and some sparkling wine sounds like exactly what I’d be sipping in front of my fire place, if I had a fire place.

Eros Elixir ~ Thai-chile-infused Chartreuse and a pear syrup with fresh ginger give a spicy, warming kick to this complex cocktail.

Roasted Pear Cocktail ~ I’ve already found out that grilling fruit changes how it tastes in a cocktail, so I’m intrigued by this drink made with roasted pear puree.

Pear-Honey-Thyme Bee’s Knees ~ A variation on the classic Bee’s Knees, this delightful combination of flavors is great for a late afternoon cocktail party. (Yes, have one of those!)

Pumpkin Cocktails

Smashing Pumpkin Cocktail from Garden and Gun

Smashing Pumpkin Cocktail from Garden and Gun

It seems like it’s cool to bash pumpkin spice. Somehow bagging on pumpkin spice drinks gives you hipster/grumpy-old-man street cred? I don’t know, man. Shut your face and pass the pumpkin spice latte, because it is straight-up DELICIOUS and hurray for fall! Would you like some suggested pumpkin cocktail recipes from someone who just said “shut your face?” (I wasn’t talking to you. You are nice. You do not need to shut your face.)

Pumpkin Flip ~ This fall drink is light and fluffy while being bold and spicy at the same time. The light and fluffy comes thanks to the egg-white foam, while the bold and spicy comes from bourbon and allspice liqueur. (PS – also there is pumpkin!)

Spiced Pumpkin Shrub ~ This is not one of those sweet “pumpkin pie in a glass” drinks. A shrub is a syrup made with vinegar, so there’s a little oomph in the cocktail that goes beyond sugar and spice.

Hot Buttered Pumpkin Rum ~ Is it actually cold where you live? It sometimes is here! When that happens, it’s time to cozy up with some warm and spicy buttered rum.

Pumpkin Punch ~ Halloween party drink alert! Made with cinnamon-infused rum and condensed milk, this punch satisfies the sweet and spiced craving that accompanies fall weather without going into cloyingly icky sweet territory.

Smashing Pumpkin Cocktail ~ Bourbon and pumpkin are the stars of this layered cocktail. However, it wouldn’t be complete without the dashes of celery bitters. (You can make DIY celery bitters if you so desire. I think you should.)