Cocktail and a Contest!

Fall is my favorite time of year. The clothes are better (especially if you knit). The food is better – root vegetables, winter squash, and roast meats – yum! And the drinks are better – dark, molasses-tinged and heavy.

In that spirit I decided that I wanted to make a cocktail that said autumn to me – one that was dark, sweet, and a little spicy. Bourbon would be the base, with maybe a bit of brandy, but what else would add that smell of fall leaves, pumpkin-pie spice I was craving?

I considered infusing the bourbon, but decided on a simpler and easier to adjust route – spice-infused simple syrup. To make it, I put into a pot:

1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 star anise
3 cloves
2 allspice
1 cinnamon stick, broken up
a small piece of vanilla bean.

I brought this to a boil, then adjusted the heat to simmer for 10 minutes. After the mixture cooled, I strained it and had a lovely dark syrup that smelled like heaven. It was time to experiment!

For what I had in mind I thought some orange flavor would also be nice, so I tried to add it with Cointreau. I also threw in Becherovka for a bit more cinnamon kick, and some Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Bitters. The resultant drink was ok but a bit too sweet for my tastes.

This was hardly surprising with the number of sweet components I’d thrown in there – clearly I needed something more bitter to balance it. What did I have that had citrus elements and a more bitter flavor?

Aha! There’s Punt e Mes in the refrigerator! Perfect!

The resultant drink was much more what I had in mind – dark and still fairly sweet, but when cut with the bitterness of the Punt e Mes the spice notes really shone through.

If you’d like to play along at home, here’s the recipe:

2 oz bourbon
1/2 oz brandy
1/4 oz Becherovka
1/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz spiced simple syrup
2 dashes Fee’s Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Combine all of the ingredients in an ice-filled shaker. Shake vigorously. Strain into chilled glass. Enjoy!

So that’s the cocktail. Now on to the contest!

I have no idea what to call this drink. I thought about Harvest Moon, but apparently that’s some sort of inverted tequila sunrise. Ideally the name would either be fall-related, or something to do with spices. Rather than rack my brain to come up with something clever, I’m asking you!

Post a name for this cocktail in the comments by Friday, October 23rd. The best name will win a fabulous prize, to be determined by me! It might be homemade chocolate chip cookies, it might be a ridiculous knit puppet! Possibly both! Feel free to enter as many names as you can think up. And if you try the cocktail let me know what you think!


22 responses to “Cocktail and a Contest!

  1. Fee’s Fall

    Autumnal Auspiciousness

    Dark n’ Spicy (off of Dark and Stormy…but perhaps a little too dirty sounding)

    May I come over to sample?!??!?! I HEART CONTESTS!

  2. Fun! Ok, here are my entries…..

    Autumn Harvest
    Raked Leaves
    Wet leaves
    All Hallows Eve

  3. Spicy Autumn Equinox on the rocks.

  4. I’m thinking it should be called The Bitter Hag. I would totally order a drink called that!

  5. Jack O’Lantern

  6. Kate and the McTegos

    We came up with Bittersweet or Bittersweet Manhattan

  7. Spicey Minx
    Warm Hearted

  8. Sweet, sour, spicy, bitter.. wow! what a cocktail!!

    I am sort of in love with Bitter Hag! Spicy Autumn Equinox is nice, too, though maybe a word too long? I like having “spiced” or “harvest” in the name,,,

    Bitter Harvest?

    A quick bit of research yields two other drinks containing bitters, brandy, and bourbon: the Dead Bastard and Midnight Massacre; both of which are lovely Hallow’s Eve-evoking names.

    Midnight Mass/Masque?

    Pilgrim’s Progress (or just Grim Progress?)
    Pilgrim Reaper? (gets at both fall holidays, and harvesttime-inspiration)

    And, totally out of left field, I submit Gunpowder Plot.

  9. Sounds yummy FQOC!

    Here are my humble entries for a name:

    First Frost
    Frost Heave
    The Raven
    Scattered Leaves
    Witch’s Brew
    Devil’s Cauldron
    The Russet Harvest
    Spicy Chestnut

    OK. That’s all I have at the moment. What a fun contest! I may throw a few more in the ring if that’s OK.

  10. Harvest Moon also happens to be the best, and possibly only, farming videogame franchise known to man: High time there was a drink in its honor.

    In the meantime, may I suggest:

    The Ichabod, or, as a variant, Ichabodacious
    Pumpkinhead Punch
    Transylvania Tonic
    The Spice Must Flow [cf.

    • theredmenaceeats

      Your nerdiness is astoundingly thorough – even greater, perhaps, than mine.

      Ichabodacious should be the name of SOMETHING.

  11. Leaf Peeper

  12. i really wish this had apple in it… because the only witty moniker i have been able to come up with is edgar allan pomme. DANG IT. sylvia plath-tered just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    • Oh!! Someone better take up that challenge, because Edgar Allan Pomme HAS TO happen. Especially in this, his bicentennial birthday year.

      • theredmenaceeats

        Agreed! There have been a couple names on this list that, while they might not fit this particular beverage, I think deserve a drink designed around them! (and Nandi, Sylvia Plathtered is pretty danged funny!)

  13. leg warmer.

  14. Here’s a couple more tosses into the ring.

    Spicy Hollow
    Demeter’s Lament
    Howard’s Fall (in honor of Bob’s and my love of REH)
    And finally, while on the topic of REH, how cool would it be to order the…Solomon Kane?

    I’m done! Good luck to everyone and Erin, happy deciding 🙂

  15. Thanks but there are some really cool names here. I do not envy Erin her decision. Perhaps she should make several new concoctions for each name suggestion…??

    • theredmenaceeats

      Honestly, there ARE a lot of cool names. You have all made this decision really hard. Also, at least of few of them might get their own drink, because they’re too cool not to use.

      Decision will be posted tomorrow, if I can actually make it by then!

      Thanks everyone!

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