So Halloween just passed here in New York, and with Hurricane Sandy it was more anti-climactic than anything else (Halloween was; the storm was not, as it definitely kicked the Northeast's butt). I luckily did not lose power as many did, but was stuck at home as my office was closed. No better time to make a drink to pass the time! I ran across this drink, which I adapted from Jessica Gonzalez of Death + Co., one of my favorite bars. It is not only a perfect fall drink, but is also aptly named for All Hallows' Eve. So whether or not you are stuck at home waiting for the MTA to get the subway running, or you are just otherwise enjoying Fall, pour yourself a Vampire Blues!
1 1/2 ounces bourbon (if you like a stiffer drink then substitute overproof bourbon)
1/2 ounce sherry (I used Amontillado sherry -- see below for further info on this)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (2:1 -- but see note below)
1 teaspoon (or heaping barspoon) of pumpkin butter
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 cinnamon stick
Add bourbon, sherry, lemon juice, pumpkin butter, and bitters to a shaker with ice. Shake well and double strain into a lowball glass over ice. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
The Vampire Blues is the first drink involving sherry about which I have written. I cannot believe I have not given you guys a great sherry drink! Sherry is one of my favorite after dinner drinks when I am too lazy/full to make a proper cocktail. Its use is under appreciated in cocktails. But this year we will see sherry on the rise, since it is consistently being named as one of the big cocktail trends this year.
Sherry is a fortified wine made from grapes that are grown near the town of Jerez de la Frontera in Andalusia, Spain. "Sherry" is an anglicisation of "Jerez." That's right...I am using big words! But it's important to know about what you are drinking. Sherry is usually found in three main styles, of various levels of dryness: fino (most dry), amontillado (medium dryness), and oloroso (least dry). There are also very sweet versions of sherry, such as Pedro Ximenez, but that is left for another discussion. I used amontillado sherry here, even though the original recipe called for an oloroso sherry. To make up for it, I used 2:1 simple syrup. If you use a less dry sherry then you may want to use a 1:1 simple syrup to keep the drink balanced.
Okay, so we have sherry covered. So how does the drink play out? So the sherry modifies the cocktail by adding a nutty toasted flavor. Then the pumpkin butter adds amazing texture and spice. Be sure to double strain the drink as the pumpkin butter has fibers you will want to remove. The Vampire Blues is a wonderful drink that you will surely make throughout the Fall and Winter, not just on Halloween. And if you have pumpkin butter laying around then also consider making the Bitter Pumpkin, a Spirited Alchemy original!