Page 23 - The Hunt Magazine - Winter 2019
P. 23

                    There are two great ways to celebrate the holidays with friends. One way is to join a small group at a restaurant
bar for a pre-dinner celebrate-the-season cocktail. Rather than ordering “the usual,” ask the bartender to mix you “the unusual”— one of her specialty drinks that may have
an ingredient or two with which you’re
not familiar.
Another way to celebrate is to invite friends over for holiday cocktails and whip up a batch of specialty drinks, rather than serving them the usual punch or M&M’s (martinis and Manhattans).
We’ve got you covered both ways.
First, let’s take a little tour of some local bars that happen to come attached to excellent restaurants: Domaine Hudson, the House of William & Merry, Hearth Kitchen, Harry’s Savoy Grill, and the Green Room at Hotel Du Pont.
At the House of William & Merry in Hockessin, Del., the menu is well thought out and beautifully presented. Its bar—a polished, brightly lit, L-shaped unit that accommodates only a half-dozen people—has a sophisticated atmosphere that begs for conversation, with no annoying TV. There is, however, a pleasant bustling in the deep, open kitchen behind you that may cause you to occasionally swivel to catch the action.
W&M’s bar serves classic cocktails (the house Manhattan is worth the journey itself), but also innovative ones. Take, for example, the Perfect Pear—a mixture of pear-flavored vodka, the elderflower flavor of St. Germaine pear (poire) liqueur, juices of lemon and white grapefruit and simple syrup.
Have you ever played “steal a recipe,” where you take a few notes and try to create a restaurant dish in your own kitchen? This holiday, do the same for your at-home entertaining. The Perfect Pear calls for two ounces of vodka as the primary alcohol, which means that a standard 750-ml. bottle can make a generous 12 drinks at home—perfect party size. So start with a bottle of vodka and multiply the other ingredients by 12, and you’ll end up with a container of a dozen pre-made drinks chilling in the fridge when the doorbell rings.
By contrast, the bar at Hearth Kitchen in Kennett Square, Pa., is long and noisy. It’s just right when a group wants to start dinner with a cocktail while mulling over a menu before being seated. The last time I was at Hearth, I asked the young woman behind the
bar to whip up an Italian Crush for me. It was so refreshing that I asked for the recipe, which she happily wrote out on a piece of scrap paper. The main spirit is vodka (two ounces unflavored), with fresh grapefruit juice, Aperol and thyme syrup.
Aperol has become a favorite liqueur of the bar crowd in recent years. It has the fruity, spicy flavors of a variety of herbs, including gentian and rhubarb—but with a bitters finish. Thyme syrup? You can make your own, though it does come pre-made. So now we have a second candidate for inspiring a pitcher of 12 party cocktails in the fridge.
Perfect Pear
2 1⁄2 oz. pear vodka
1⁄2 oz. St. Germaine
1⁄2 oz. pear liqueur
1⁄2 oz. lemon juice
1⁄2 oz. grapefruit juice 1 oz. simple sugar Place all ingredients over ice in a shaker, stir thoroughly and strain into a martini glass. Add a twist of lemon.
Italian Crush
2 oz. vodka
1 1⁄2 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
3⁄4 oz. Aperol
3⁄4 oz. thyme syrup Place all ingredients
over ice in a shaker, shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass.
Yuzu-Ginger Martini
Perfect Pear. Opposite page: Bourbon and the B.
   2 oz. Tito’s vodka
1 oz. Domaine de Canton liqueur
splash yuzu juice
splash simple sugar
1⁄2 oz. ginger ale
1⁄2 lemon
1 piece candied ginger
Squeeze one-half a lemon into a shaker filled with ice, then add the other ingredients. Stir and strain into a martini glass. Skewer candied ginger for garnish.
Bourbon and the B
2 oz. Woodford double-oaked Bourbon 3⁄4 oz. Benedictine
3⁄4 oz. honey syrup
1 egg white
Dry-shake egg white, then add ice to the shaker. Pour in other ingredients and shake again. Strain into a chilled coupe or martini glass.
Brandywine Manhattan, Second Take
2 oz. Bulleit Bourbon or rye
1 oz. Graham’s tawny port
1 oz. cognac
Fill a shaker with ice and pour in all the ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a martini glass. Add a marinated cherry or two—or more.
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