Brisk Breeze

Something changes in the air when fall is upon us in San Francisco. It’s not so much a day or a time for me, it’s always been a feeling. Fall is unexpected and has always been a moment of surprise. It happened this year at the ballpark during batting practice. I was standing on the field in my daisy dukes, just soaking up the sun and watching the guys when a cold guest of wind swept through the ballpark. It left goose bumps on my arms. One of the coaches stopped mid sentence and changed his entire batting speech to describe fall wind. He went into depth on how the wind shifts in the fall to affects pitches, batting and the ball in mid-air. That was the moment I knew fall had officially begun.

My favorite part of fall is pumpkins. I always have a sugar pumpkin on hand for pie and pumpkin pie ready for football games. When thinking about putting pumpkin into a cocktail everyone I asked seemed skeptical. With a big, blushy, excited smile I would ask, “ I am going to make pumpkin infused bourbon. What do you think?” And all I got were blank stares. I have to admit this recipe took a few trial and errors. I didn’t mind because my entire house smelled like pumpkin pie for a whole week, it was heavenly.

This cocktail is pretty straightforward. I chose George Dickel number 12 for it’s layers of spicy toffee, caramel, walnut and fall spices. Trust me on this one; don’t consider any other whisky just go for the Dickel.

  • 2 oz Pumpkin infused George Dickel no. 12
  • 1/2 oz Amaro Nonino
  • 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • 1 barspoon spiced demerara syrup

Combine all ingredients in a beaker with ice. Stir well. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a flamed orange peel. Enjoy.

Spiced Demerara Syrup

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 vanilla bean split.

Combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. Let cool and fine strain into an airtight container.

Pumpkin Infused Bourbon

  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons pure cane sorghum syrup
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • And of course a bottle of George Dickel no. 12

Preheat a convection oven to 400 degrees. Cut pumpkin into one-inch pieces lengthwise. Place pumpkin on a cookie sheet. Combine all ingredients. If the honey is too cold making it hard to stir – place the container in your microwave for twenty seconds. Baste pumpkin slices with mixture. Let cook for about an hour or until pumpkin becomes tender. Turn pumpkin pieces halfway though and baste the other side. Place pumpkin pieces into an airtight container; pour 750 ml George Dickel over pumpkins. Be careful to make sure all of pumpkin surfaces are submerged in alcohol. Store in a dark place for two weeks.

Quince Me Honey

When a friend of mine comes to visit from New York he always brings me macarons from this little bakery on the Upper East Side called Bisous Ciao. The rainbow macarons are simply to die for. This time I asked for something sinful in a different sense, a bottle of Bulldog Gin. I haven’t been able to find it in California and have been dying to taste something different. Bulldog gin features poppy and dragons eye. Dragons eye is known for stimulating vitality and sexual stamina…interesting. With it’s natural stimulating effects I wanted to create a smooth, seductive cocktail. Bulldog gin begins by tantalizing ones senses with a fresh bouquet of citrus and floral notes. The gin brings forward hints of lavender, citrus and juniper to follow. Chateau de Laubade Blanche reveals pear, peach and honeysuckle. Layered with Lillet Blanc’s ripe kiwi, tangerine and herbal warmth. Quince syrup adds a velvety smoothness and orange bitters brightens the bouquet. I have suggested a grate of nutmeg to spice up your senses. Quince me honey is a delicate cocktail but don’t be fooled the dog is defiantly out of it’s cage.

  • 1.5 oz Bulldog Gin
  • .75 oz. Chateau de Laubade Blanche Armagnac
  • .75 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1 dash Regan’s Orange Bitters
  • 1 bar spoon quince syrup

Stir all ingredients in a beaker with ice. Fine strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a light grate of fresh nutmeg.

Quince syrup

  • One-pound quince
  • Two cups of sugar
  • One tablespoon lemon juice

Carefully peel skin of each quince. Cut out core and seeds. Cut quince into one-inch cubes. Add all ingredients into a stockpot. Add enough water to cover the entire quince. Let simmer for four hours adding additional water when needed. Let cool. Place quince in a blender and blend until smooth. Use a fine strainer or cheesecloth to strain out any remaining fruit. Store in an airtight container refrigerated for up to two weeks.

Or purchase Quince Pate at Williams of Sonoma. I put one part Quince Pate with equal parts water in a small saucepan. I warmed it up until it formed a syrup and it was just as tasty. Quince Pate can be found here at  Williams of Sonoma.