Cocktails + Libations = Cocktations

If you are wondering what a cocktation is, yours is a valid question. Cocktation is in fact a made-up word that tumbled from my mouth one day when I was trying to say the word concoction. That nifty little neologism was the seed idea for this blog, and here we both are today.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

Hiram Walker's seasonal Pumpkin Spice liqueur begs to be made into a Pumpkin Pie drink. Yet all of the pumpkin pie drink recipes I have thus far found online left me unimpressed. This inspired me to recall a drink I had created in the Fall of 2008 and publish it for the betterment of all pumpkin pie lovers and sweet freaks.

Back then, before I knew better, I served this drink in a v-shaped cocktail glass and called it a Pumpkin Pie Martini. But it is not a martini. A martini is not just any drink served in a v-shaped cocktail glass. It is gin, vermouth, and bitters--and please let's not get started on the whole "vodka martini" issue. Rather, let's get on with this recipe, shall we?

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail
1 oz Hiram Walker Pumpkin Pie Spice liqueur
1/2 oz Smirnoff Vanilla vodka
1/4 oz Licor 43
3 drops Fee Bros Old Fashioned Bitters
1 oz milk
Shake over ice vigorously to chill quickly and strain into a cocktail glass of your choosing. Garnish with a dash of pumpkin pie spice. You can also hit this with a bit of whipped cream if you have it handy.

The drink is very rich, quite sweet, and quite reminiscent of pumpkin pie in a liquid form. It makes a great dessert drink and puts the HW Pumpkin Pie Spice to good use.

Cheers! ~Dr. Cocktation

Friday, October 15, 2010

Menta Stinger

While you may have heard of the classic Stinger cocktail, made with Cognac and Creme de Menthe, this twist is something I had read about nearly a year ago, but was unable to try due to local unavailability of Branca Menta, the mint version of Fernet Branca. While in NYC this past weekend I was able to pick up a bottle of the coveted Branca Menta at Astor Wine and Spirits and today I made a long-awaited, much-heralded Menta Stinger. I can no longer locate the original recipe, but decided to split the difference between Drink Boy's 4:1 ratio and the typical 2:1 ratio I found elsewhere for the classic Stinger, and go with the following:

Menta Stinger
2 oz Cognac (I used Caymus VS)
3/4 oz Branca Menta
Shake over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. 

The taste is savory, slightly minty (which grows in the back of your throat as you consume the drink), black-tea-like, and nicely herbal (think horehound, anise, baking spice, and subtle citrus). This is a very complex drink, not at all "sweet",  and one that would be great to sip in front of a roaring fire during a snow storm. In fact, I may just consider it my official 2010 Winter cocktail!

Cheers! ~Dr. Cocktation

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Luxardo Bitter & Pepsi Throwback

After my food-and-drink-focused trip to NYC and New Jersey (for the Wine Library 2010 Supertasting), I'm winding down at home and had planned an evening of abstaining from any additional high-calorie foods (that was blown away by my cheese, salami, potato chip, and pretzel dinner) and alcoholic drinks. And yet, in perusing my purchase order from Astor Wines & Spirits I began to fantasize about all of the cocktail-making fun that awaits me when my order arrives. The order consists of items I cannot find locally, in spite of being vocal about my desires for such items, including Delaware Phoenix Distellery's Walton Waters and Meadow of Love absinthes, Pacifique Absinthe, Laird's Bonded Apple Brandy, Sagatiba's Pura and Vela cachacas, Catdaddy Moonshine, and Fernet Branca's Branca Menta. I'm excited to try some of these items, and revisit old friends (so to speak), but the Branca Menta is something I've been wanting to access for the longest time. In anticipation I've been doing some research on Fernet Branca and Branca Menta, and discovered that the former is quite popular with Coca Cola in Argentina, so much so that a popular song, Fernet con Coca, was written about the drink. The notion of mixing a bitter amaro with a sweet soda got me thinking about a bottle of Luxardo Bitter that I have sitting in my basement. Luxardo is most similar to Campari, yet a bit less thick and bracing. If Argentinians love their Fernet con Coca so much that they don't want to be without it in a jail cell (those are the translated lyrics from the song), then maybe Luxardo Bitter and Pepsi Throwback might be equally nice. I mixed 1 oz of Luxardo Bitter to one tall ice-filled glass full of Pepsi and found it to be quite refreshing and delightful. The bitterness balances nicely with the sweetness of the Pepsi and the alcohol content is on the lower side--a perfect ending to a lovely, if calorie-laden, vacation.

Cheers!  ~Dr. Cocktation