Rich desserts don’t just come in pie plates this holiday season. Get out your best glassware and try these boozy, delicious cocktail treats.
When we think of holiday desserts, visions of rich pies and crispy cookies dance through our heads. But why stop there? If you want to get away from the standard pumpkin pie fare this holiday season, mix up a drinkable dessert cocktail with a festive theme.
“It’s got to be sweet,” says Matt Seiter of Sanctuaria in St. Louis where he has been mixing up several dessert cocktails in time for the holidays. Seiter works to feature the fruits and spices of the season while adding some special sweet ingredients.
Seiter likes using melted ice cream as the base for an at-home dessert cocktail because most people have it already. From there, he says, to add a spirit of choice, then rummage through the spice rack for add-ins: cinnamon, nutmeg and clove all work well as holiday flavors.
If you want to kick the cocktail up a notch, Seiter recommends using Root, a Pennsylvania liqueur with root beer-like flavor. He blends it with vanilla ice cream to create a spiked version of a root beer float.
Cocktail consultant Kim Haasarud likes to start with the spirit base of her dessert cocktail and then work from there. For the holidays, she suggests going with darker spirits to add depth and flavor — aged rums, cognac, or even anejo tequila.
Even a classic cocktail like a Cosmopolitan can be made into dessert, says Haasarud. Switch out the vodka for a darker, aged spirit. The flavors of the aged spirit will transform the cocktail from ordinary drink into a special treat.
Haasarud also likes to use food people normally think of as savory, say butternut squash, and turn it into a succulent dessert cocktail. For example, she might roast butternut squash then let it infuse with aged rum overnight in the refrigerator. The next day she will puree the boozy squash and use it as a base for an unusual twist on eggnog.
It is okay for a dessert cocktail to be rich, says Haasarud, because “people are going to have just one.” And since it is special, she recommends take the time with garnish, shaving large chocolate curls, for instance, to hang over the rim of the glass.
Recipe Courtesy of Matt Seiter
15 ounces Dry Gin
5 ounces Maraschino Liqueur (such as Luxardo)
7 ounces Sparkling Wine
33 ounces Melted Vanilla or Butter Pecan Ice Cream
To melt ice cream, put it in the refrigerator overnight on the top shelf. When ready to serve, mix all ingredients straight in the punch bowl. You may have to adjust the amount of maraschino, but start off with a little and add to taste. The melted ice cream and the sparkling wine will play the part of the ice. No ice needed.
Recipe Courtesy of Kim Haasarud
To Serve 1
1 cup Milk
1 ounces Pumpkin Puree (unsweetened)
1-1/2 ounces Agave Nectar
Dash of Ground Nutmeg
Dash of Ground Cinnamon
3/4 ounces Spiced Rum
3/4 ounces Pumpkin Spice Liqueur (i.e. Bols, Hiram Walker)
Additional Ground Nutmeg for garnish
Combine milk, pumpkin puree, agave nectar, dash of ground nutmeg and dash of ground cinnamon in a saucepan. Heat mixture until boiling. Reduce heat, and let simmer for at least 10 minutes. Ladle into a mug. Add the spiced rum and pumpkin spice liqueur. Top with whipped cream and ground nutmeg to serve.