The obscure holiday cocktail tasting just keeps getting better and better with great company, great drinks, and loads of cheese. Now in it's fifth year, the cocktail tasting has gone from finding obscure holiday cocktails (the list was pretty short) to holiday drinks (gross) to just obscure ones.
I borrowed The Drunken Botanist from Sharon of Delicious Musings, and found the Aviation cocktail. It's obscure in that it uses Creme de Violette, a liquor (made from violets, surprise) that was popular in the Victorian age. Now there's only one maker of the liquor, but fortunately it's available locally at RSVP. It tastes like Creme de Cassis to me, and sure enough, a recommended use is to pour some into your Champagne.
1 1/2 oz. gin (I used Aviation gin, a gift from friends from Portland West)
1/2 oz. maraschino liqueur (I used boozy cherry juice aka bourbon with cherries)
1/2 oz. creme de violette
1/2 oz. fresh squeeze lemon juice
Combine in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake. Strain into a glass and top with a boozy cherry.
The fabulous Shannon (Cheese Goddess) paired my cocktail with St. Nuage, a triple-creme Brie.
Other hits were Dawn's Honey Badger, Meredith and Michael's Holiday Julep and Professor A.'s Want Knot. (Sorry Adam, yours tasted like cream that had been strained through the ashes of an orange zest campfire to me.)
Paired with Coupole, a wrinkly-brain rind aged goat cheese
1.5 oz. Hendrick's Gin
1 oz. Honey Syrup
0.75 oz. Lemon Juice
Top with Fatty Bumpkins dry Hard Cider
Paired with Oma, a washed-rind, Tomme-style cheese
2 oz. Bourbon (Woodford Reserve is a julep classic)
1 oz. Thyme simple syrup
1 Lemon slice for drink, peel for candied garnish
3 Bourbon cherries
Paired with Ewephoria, a sheep's milk Gouda
1 oz. Maine Craft Distilling Alchemy Gin
1 1/3 oz. Cochi Americano Blanco
1 oz. White Grapefruit Juice
1 oz. Honey Syrup (1 part Japanese Knotwood Honey from The Honey Exchange, 2 parts water)
1/2 tsp. Beast Feast Maine Ghost Pepper Infused Maple Syrup
4 drops Coastal Root Cocktail Bitters
1 Orange Twist
Any one of these will help to get you through/celebrate the holidays with your family next week. And cheese always makes everything better. Happy Holidays!
Read past years' cocktail tastings year 1, year 2, year 3, and year 4 for more cocktail ideas (with varying degrees of success).