Thanksgiving is around the corner. The holiday may be nicknamed Turkey Day, but in between the bird and the football, there’s plenty of drinking. Neat Pour sat down with Kirk Estopinal, co-author of beta cocktails. and partner in New Orleans’ CureCo. and asked for advice. The Caliph of Cocktails offered up three drinks perfectly suited for the holiday.
Estopinal offered a Cranberry Sauce French 75 which requires some work, but delivers sublime flavors and a not-so sublime “wow factor” for guests; an old-school style, Dickens-inspired punch, and a simple crockpot hot cocoa with a kick. Check out his comments and the recipes below.
Cranberry Sauce French 75
Here’s a fun way to drink your cranberry sauce in a glass of champagne. Past the novelty, the libation pairs well with turkey sandwiches the day after as you work off your hangover with a bit of the dog’s hair. For those not planning on a headache, the beverage is a great liquid amuse-bouche for the feast ahead.
- Combine water and cranberries, cinnamon and all spice berries.
- Cook on medium heat in a small sauce pot until cranberries are soft and utterly destroyed. Press the cranberries against the side of the pot. Strain through a sieve and measure out one cup of the cranberry water.
- Add it to the vinegar and and sugar and stir to incorporate.
- Bottle and chill in the fridge until its as cold as possible.
- In the champagne vessel of your choice (I like the coupe or stemmed flute) add 1/2 oz of the cranberry sauce syrup and top with 4.5 oz good dry champagne or white sparkling wine.
- A cinnamon stick for garnish is garish, but appropriate.
Fakey British Holiday Punch
This recipe is both perfect for holidays and somewhat English in tradition. Historically speaking, this punch has no real English origin, but it feels Dickensian enough to usher in the Christmas season, so…
- Peel the oranges and the lemon.
- Put the peels in a container with the sugar. Muddle and stir roughly for three minutes. Let this mixture rest for two hours.
- Juice the citrus and add the juice to the sugar and stir to dissolve.
- Heat the water and steep the tea to its longest recommend steeping time.
- Let cool while the sugar and peels rest. Combine the first two steps a the bottle of booze and add the bitters just before service.
- Everyone has a punch bowl and you should probably use it during the holidays.
Mezcal Hot Cocoa (Crockpot Style)
This is great set-it and forget drink that will serve all your guests. It was popular on the menu at Bellocq. A friend of mine made hot chocolate one year and I had a bottle of Mezcal. They eventually found their way together. Enough said.
- In a 4-quart slow cooker, whisk together milk cream, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and nutmeg.
- Add chocolate chips. Cover and cook on LOW setting for 2 to 3 hours, stirring every 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add sugar at the end 1/4 cup at a time to taste.
- Add 1 oz of Mezcal (Chicicapa or any of the rich smokey variants you like) to 4 oz of hot chocolate.
- I’m partial to a styrofoam cup, but you can also use all those mugs you get every year during Christmas. (A coffee cup works fine also.)
You can find more of Estopinal’s favorite cocktails in his second book with Maksym Pazuniak “beta cocktails.” for sale here.
Title photo by prettyinprint (CC2.0)