OCTOBER 25, 2010

Spice Up the Holidays with Unique Cocktails and Treats

As the holidays approach, and the line-up of parties, gift swaps and family get-togethers begins, it may be just the right time to spice up traditional holiday fare and make things a little more interesting and flavorful.

From the most ancient to the lesser known traditions, virtually all holiday celebrations call for food and libations. This year, why not take those classic, yet uninspiring holiday beverages and turn them into warm, spiced cocktails you can cuddle up with? Or, why not put a spin on a holiday favorite like gingerbread by soaking it in a sweet, delectable Ginger syrup? Suddenly, what's old, becomes instantly new! Using All Natural SKYY Infusions can transform even the oldest recipes in your collection into something your guests will go really wild for at your next holiday gathering. With recipes like the Island Holiday Punch and a Rustic Apple Tart featuring the new All Natural SKYY Infusions Ginger, the collection of cocktails and desserts below are an easy way to swap out the dull and overdone, with something smart and bold.

Please let me know if you'd like any samples or high resolution images of the cocktail or dessert recipes below. I'm also happy to provide local bar, restaurant or store locations where you may sample SKYY Infusions for yourself.
Cheers to a happy holiday season!

All cocktails created by Bartender Christopher Bostick, The Varnish in Los Angeles

Island Holiday Punch

Serves 8

12 oz. SKYY Infusions Ginger
4 oz. Flor de Cana 7yr Rum
4 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
6 oz. Holiday Spiced Simple Syrup*
12 oz. Soda Water
Nutmeg and Star Anise Pods for Garnish

In a medium sized punch bowl, combine all ingredients except for soda, and whisk lightly. Add 1 solid chunk (or about 3 cups of ice), in addition to soda, and stir. Grate a little nutmeg on top and float 3 star anise pods on surface for garnish.

*Holiday Spiced Simple Syrup
1 cup Demerara (Turbinado) Sugar (White Granulated Sugar, if unavailable)
1 cup Water
2 tbsp. Jamaican Allspice Berries (May omit if unavailable)
0.5 tbsp. Nutmeg
1 Cinnamon Stick
2 Star Anise Pods

Bring all ingredients to a simmer in saucepan for five minutes. Strain to remove solids and cool. To speed up the cooling, add a few ice cubes to syrup.

**NOTE: To offer simpler option to the Holiday Spiced Simple Syrup, make simple syrup using only water and sugar. Then, add remaining spices directly to the punch or top it off with Ginger beer instead of soda water.

SKYY Cherry Delight

2 oz. SKYY Infusions Cherry
0.75 oz. Cream
0.75 oz. Earl Grey Simple Syrup*
Grated Cinnamon
Grated Dark Chocolate

Combine SKYY Infusions Cherry, cream and simple syrup into cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until frothy (around 10-15 seconds). Strain into chilled cocktail glass and finish by grating cinnamon and dark chocolate onto the surface.

*Earl Grey Simple Syrup
1 cup Raw Cane Sugar
1 cup Water
3 Earl Grey Tea Bags**

Heat water and sugar in saucepan until sugar has completely dissolved. Remove from heat and allow tea bags steep for at least 10 minutes or until desired strength has been reached.

**If tea is unavailable, forgo it and make regular simple syrup using the instructions above.


SKYY Citrus Winter Warmer

1.5 oz. SKYY Infusions Citrus
0.5 oz. Agave Nectar
4 oz. Hot Water
3 Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 pat Unsalted Butter (just under a tablespoon)
Grated Nutmeg

Combine all ingredients into a large mug, topping the liquid with hot water last. Stir, grate nutmeg over top and let steep for a couple minutes before serving.


Rustic Apple Tarts Infused with SKYY Infusions Ginger

Serves 4

1 tbsp. SKYY Infusions Ginger
1/3 cup and 0.5 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 cup Apple Cider or Apple Juice
1 tbsp. Cider Vinegar
1 lb. Small Gala Apples (about 4; left unpeeled)
1 Frozen Puff Pastry Sheet (from a 17 1/4-oz package), thawed
3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter

Preheat oven to 425°F. Cook 1/3 cup sugar in a dry, 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, undisturbed, until it begins to melt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a fork, until sugar is melted into a pale golden caramel. Tilt skillet and carefully pour in cider and vinegar (caramel will harden and steam vigorously). Simmer over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until caramel is dissolved.

While syrup simmers, cut apples into 1/8-inch-thick slices. Add apple slices to hot syrup in skillet, gently tossing to coat. Remove from heat and let stand, stirring occasionally, until apples are wilted by syrup, 5 to 10 minutes. While apples stand, roll out puff pastry sheet into a 12-inch square on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Cut into quarters, forming 4 (6-inch) squares and brush off excess flour from both sides.

Transfer squares to a large, shallow baking pan, overlapping if necessary (squares will fit without touching after edges are folded in later). Drain apples in a sieve set over a bowl (save the syrup), then place apple slices decoratively on each square, leaving a 3/4-inch border all around. Fold border over apples along edges, pinching edges together as necessary, then dot tops of apples with a total of 1 tablespoon butter and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 tablespoon sugar. Bake tarts until apples are tender, pastry is puffed, and edges and undersides are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. While tarts bake, boil reserved syrup in skillet with SKYY Infusions Ginger and remaining 2 tablespoons butter until thickened and reduced to about 1/3 cup.

Brush or drizzle hot syrup over tarts.

Serve with vanilla ice cream.


Mini's Ginger Wonderland Cupcakes
Created by Leslie Fiet, Mini's in Salt Lake City, Utah

Makes 30 Mini Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

0.25 cup Sour Cream
0.25 cup Buttermilk
0.5 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
0.5 cup Soybean Oil
1.5 cups Dark Molasses
0.25 cup Unsalted Butter (at room temperature)
2 Large Eggs and 1 Additional Egg Yolk
1 tbsp. Vanilla Extract

Combine all ingredients listed above in a large mixing bowl, and mix on low speed with a wire whisk attachment for about one minute, until all wet ingredients are blended.

More Ingredients:
2 cups Unbleached Flour
1 cup Sugar
2 tbsp Ground Ginger
1 tbsp Baking Powder
2 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
0.5 tsp. Salt
0.25 tsp. Ground Nutmeg
0.25 tsp. Ground Cloves

In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients listed just above and stir until well blended. Add the dry mixture to your wet mixture, and blend until most of the lumps disappear and small air bubbles start to form.

Pour batter into (mini) cupcake pans and bake for 17 minutes. Cupcakes are done when you can apply light pressure to the top of the cupcake and it bounces back.

Once cupcakes are cooled, soak each one in Ginger Simple Syrup (recipe follows), frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting and top each with a small gingerbread man.

Ginger Simple Syrup
0.25 cup SKYY Infusions Ginger
0.5 cup Water
0.5 cup Brown Sugar
1 tbsp. Freshly Grated Ginger

Place all ingredients into a saucepan, and cook on the stove on medium high heat until bubbly. Remove from heat and let cool before soaking the cupcakes.



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