My dear friend Annie comes to town every year or so, and this year she was able to stay with me. Annie appreciates a good cocktail (one of many reasons I adore her), so I’ve begun the tradition of creating a new concoction in her honor, whenever she visits. Last time it was during summer and I came up with a Thai inspired white sangria. It never made it to the blog – but I’m sure next summer it’ll make an appearance.
This year Annie was visiting to celebrate her 30th birthday and so I new it had to be a special cocktail. Autumn flavors are magical. They bring you warmth and comfort and often hit all 5 tastes… sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami. I wanted to create a beverage that “felt” like Fall. And I think I did it.
Introducing, The Red-Headed Martini. All it’s ingredients are auburn-red (as is its creator) and it’s a smooth yet feisty little drink (as is its creator). So aptly named.
I have now made this a few times using different brands of bourbon – some more expensive than others. And I can tell a difference. A big difference. If you can, please opt for the quality… make it last… make it a special occasion… but do yourself a favor and splurge a little. You will thank me.
Ingredients (makes 3-4 servings)
1 cup bourbon – I use Bulleit or Woodford Reserve [pictured]. The key is to find a bourbon made in small batches. Both of these run in the $30-$35 range.
1/2 cup amber beer – I prefer Negra Modelo though you can use Shiner Bock if you’re cutting costs. Just be sure it’s an amber beer that isn’t too nutty or you’ll change the whole flavor profile.
1/4 cup dark maple syrup – I’ve been using Kroger’s Private Selection. It’s really good and only about $5.00 a bottle.
1 whole nutmeg (you’ll only use a small portion of this)
3-4 dried red chile peppers (1 for each drink)
grater or micro plane
Chill martini glasses in the freezer for about 15-20 minutes. The bourbon and beer should be chilled and syrup at room temperature. You can use ice if you forgot to chill the liquor, but this is not a drink you want watered down.
Ready to Make?
Pour bourbon, beer and maple syrup into a martini shaker. Gently shake once or twice to mix ingredients. Be careful though, if shaken too vigorously the beer will head and foam everywhere. I may or may not be speaking from experience.
Pour into chilled martini glasses. Grate nutmeg into the martini and then float one dried chili on top. You won’t really experience any heat from the chili until the last sip, when it’s had time to soak.