Over the past decade there has been a huge cocktail renaissance. With this mixology reawakening, we now have a surplus of information in the form of books, blogs and websites.
In the beginning of this resurgence the information was still a little limited and resources were scant. The cocktail world went from 0-60 on the ‘access to information’ scale. This rapid ramp up has its ups and downs. On one hand, you now have access to a lot of very specific information about techniques, equipment, famous bartenders and bars, both vintage and contemporary cocktails, spirit specific drinks, historical chronicles and so on. On the other hand, all this information can be overwhelming and have you wondering ‘what is the BEST information?’ and ‘how do I choose?’.
I recently visited a local bookstore and the section on cocktails was HUGE! I usually peruse and then decide what I want to purchase now and/or later. Within minutes I found myself juggling at least four new books I was interested in; a book all about Shrubs, another on bitters and an Amari guide, one about cocktails with a literary twist and another about infusing… I wanted them all! So I jot down my list and ask friends and family if they’ve read any and look at reviews. My advice to you is to go with your gut. You are the only person who truly knows what you like and what you really enjoy. Reading is a subjective experience after all!
However, if you are interested in some reviews and/or recommendations, I am happy to share a few of my (recent) favorites.
Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails
By Ted Haigh
This book is great for planning parties!
Favorite things about this book:
The Drunken Botanist
By Amy Stewart
This book is for learning and creating!
I really enjoyed this book because:
By David Wondrich
A book from a master to increase your knowledge and be the life of the cocktail party!
In homage to “Professor” Jerry Thomas, pioneer of the American bar, this book delves into the little-known history of the great classic American cocktails.
What I love about this book:
Tea Cocktails: A Mixologist’s Guide to Legendary Tea-Infused Cocktails
By Abigail R. Gehring
A book for entertaining on porches and patios!
I loved this book last year and just took it off the shelf and dusted it off in preparation of ‘porch weather’!
This book I loved because:
The only complaint I have about this book is that it is very heavy on the Teatulia Organic Teas and tea flavors and terms info. However, it is produced by them with the author so despite all the additional (and for me unnecessary information) I made some amazing tea cocktails last summer and am looking forward to making many more this year!
What’s on my wishlist?
Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times
A book all about the vintage drink mixer - Shrubs.
In fact I think I’ll visit my local bookstore right after I post this blog!
Thanksgiving dinner and drink pairings have traditionally meant ‘which wine do I serve with the turkey?’… however, it is never too late to start new traditions and surprise your guests by introducing some spirit to the table!
Friends and Family Greeting:
Many gatherings begin with a toast. When your guests arrive and begin socializing, offer them a sparkling ‘Glory Mora’ and toast to friends and family while nibbling on hors-d'oeuvres.
The ‘Glory Mora’ is a sloe gin sparkling pomegranate drink designed by MFD Company. ‘Glory Mora’ was the stage name of one of W.H.H. Murray’s four daughters, Ethel, who appeared in New York City shows and other performances.
Click here to see the 'Glory Mora' recipe.
Looking at elaborate party dinner menus of the past, the menu frequently began with oysters. This year why not try an oyster appetizer with a Laphroaig Cairdeas. The peaty smoke beautifully pairs with the fresh oyster.
The Main Event:
Celebrate the evening and the main course by raising a glass of vintage cocktail with friends and family. Excite your appetite with The ‘Uprooted Tree’ created by Murray’s Fools Distilling Co.
This cocktail is an excellent gin aperitif and a refreshing sipper during the meal. Gin cocktails are perfect for the traditional Thanksgiving dinner because they are light, pair well with a variety of side dishes and the botanicals form an ideal counterpart for such a flavorful meal.
The ‘Uprooted Tree’ is a Genever and Ginger Apple Hard Cider Cocktail created by MFD Co.
Click here to see the Uprooted Tree recipe.
Click here to watch the Thanksgiving Cocktail video!
The Sweet Spot:
I don’t know about you, but at our house there are usually more desserts than side dishes! This is why it is so fun to offer a flight of Scotches or Bourbons to match and taste with all the sweet treats during dessert.
There are so many different options you could put together, however here are a few ideas to get you started. Murray’s Fools Distilling Co. always likes to look for local spirits to try and we definitely encourage you to do the same, especially when sharing at dinner parties!
Scotch Dessert Flight
The Macallan 18 Year (full-bodied rich whiskey): Great with desserts like sticky toffee pudding, gingerbread, and anything dark chocolate.
Dalwhinnie (light fragrant with a little sweetness): So wonderful with soft cheeses, bread puddings and custards.
Balvenie Medeira Cask 17 Year (rich, deep and complex): Excellent pair with pecan or apple pie.
or try this flight....
Bourbon Dessert Flight
Elijah Craig (full, sweet, toasty oak bourbon): Beautiful balance with pecan pie and toffee desserts.
Booker’s Bourbon (intense fruit and oak flavors): Delicious with apple pie!
Bulleit Bourbon (high rye content with vanilla aroma): Works great with anything chocolate.
Loosening the Belt:
The table is cleared and you are sitting back in your comfy chair loosening your belt… cue the digestif. The most important drink of the day, a post-dinner digestif cocktail! After the feast, move yourself away from the table and sit back and relax with a Brandy Alexander in your hand!
1 ounce Cognac
1 ounce Crème de Cacao
1 ounce fresh cream
Add everything into a shaker of ice, shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with nugmeg.
Cheers to You and Have a Happy Thanksgiving!
Co-founder of Murray's Fools Distilling Co. | Altona, NY