December 19, 2011

Obscure Holiday Cocktail Tasting, Vol. 3

The third annual Obscure Holiday Cocktail party was a raging success!  For the third (!!!) year in a row, local Portland bloggers gathered, each bringing an obscure holiday cocktail.  

We had five cocktails, and only one (mine) was a bit iffy.  Fortunately it came at the end of the evening, when no one cared too much.  As usual, thanks to Uke for the cheese pairings.  Spot on, natch.

The Christmas Bellringer, paired with a Caprichio De Cabra, a goat's milk cheese, was a delicious mix of Gin, Cointreau, Frangelico, and freshly squeezed orange juice.  Adam Dawn (whoops!) of Appetite Portland contributed this cocktail and with its refreshing citrus and herbal flavors.  The salty feta-like cheese was a nice foil.

I could have drank A. of Portland Food Map's cocktail all night long- a Greek Air Mail.  A traditional Air Mail has rum, but A. substituted in Greek Metaxa (a brandy-wine blend).  Shaken up with lime juice, honey, Q Tonic, Bitters and mint, the Air Mail was not too sweet or boozy- a totally drinkable cocktail.  These drinks would make a good pitcher specialty drink for your holiday or New Year's party.

The Air Mail was paired with Keen's Cheddar, an English clothbound aged cheddar.  I mean, clothbound cheddar.  How can you go wrong?

The Lion's Pride, made with St. Germain, Gin, one egg white, dash Peychaud Bitters, Lime juice, and topped with lime zest and black pepper was adapted from a cocktail that Dawn and Adam had at Lion's Pride Pub in Brunswick.  This cocktail was spicy, citrusy, and floral/herby, and made me want to get to Lion's Pride even more.

S. paired it with Valencay, a fresh goat's milk, covered in charcoal ash that was almost like a goat cheese mousse.  It was... strange, but stood up to the tartness of the cocktail.

Whispers of the Frost, by Vrylena, was Bourbon, Sherry, Port, powdered sugar, served with slices of lemon and orange.  I did not witness the particular alchemy that made these ingredients taste like a citrusy mulled wine, but  it was strong and delicious.  Perfect for sipping at night in front of a foggy window as you watch the snow fall on the pines.

Paired with a Bayley Hazen Blue, a raw, aged, cow's milk blue from Jasper Hill Farm in Vermont, a drier, saltier blue, helped to tone down the alcohol-y notes in the cocktail.  A nice nibble.

Finally, my contribution of the evening, Tom and Jerry, a frothy egg, milk, bourbon, rum punch.  It's like egg nog, but more finicky.  Inspired as always, by John Meyers' The Land of Forgotten Cocktails column (do read his backstory on the drink to learn how the cartoon Tom and Jerry came to have their name), I tackled a more ambitious drink, involving whisking egg whites- by hand, ahem- and the words "be careful not to curdle."  

Hmm, sounds like a great idea to attempt after 4 cocktails.  Fortunately, everyone else was 4 cocktails in as well, so if it was a little curdled or strong, it went largely unnoticed.  Or largely unsaid.  Whatever, same thing.

I followed the Esquire magazine recipe, using bourbon instead of whiskey, because I'm apparently a "die-hard Dixiecrat," (and am OK with that).  But I recommend using a larger glass, because between the bourbon soaked egg batter and the 2 oz. bourbon/rum per glass, in these cute short glasses, the drink was a little strong. 

Uke gave up on matching milk and egg based drinks with cheese and went with Ghost Pepper Chili Salt Chocolate Bark and Chocolate Covered Marcona Almonds.  The salty, spicy, and sweet combination of the drink and the chocolates worked wonders.  Uke also brought great pickled beet deviled eggs, that would make a nice, if not labor-intensive holiday potluck recipe.

Again, we were so happy this year that all our cocktails turned out to be winners.  I would recommend any of them to make for holiday parties or to spice up a slow winter evening.

Many thanks to Dawn and Adam for hosting us, my fellow bloggers for contributing food and drinks to enjoy, and you for reading.  Happy holidays!