With colder weather comes the desire for bigger, bolder wines, beers and cocktails. But cocktail drinkers, take note: You don't need to limit yourself to just nog this time of year. Consider other cocktails made with earthy ingredients, like molasses, and dark spirits, such as bourbon and coffee-based liqueurs. Read on for an excellent cocktail recipe that includes just those things.
Many of the best cocktails are made with ingredients that are tried and true for drinks but otherwise largely ignored. Take molasses, for example. That jar of rich, dark syrup sitting in the back of your cabinet is just begging to be used. While gingersnap cookies and baked beans are two great ways to let your molasses see the light of day, it can also add a unique, smoky undertone to a stiff drink.
It takes roughly 100 gallons of boiled-down sugar cane juice to make 10 to 15 gallons of molasses. Even with all that work, for much of American history it was far more popular than it is today. While you can still find molasses in most stores, the mass-produced version, often the byproduct of crystallized sugar, doesn’t have quite the same flavor as the homemade jars found at farmers markets and roadside stands.
Definitely don’t go stockpiling molasses, though, thinking you can use it in everything as a substitute sweetener. Despite its sugary origins, store-bought molasses can be quite bitter (and has a tendency to drip everywhere).
And given the potency of molasses, you’ll need strong liquors to balance it out. Dark, woody spirits like bourbon pair well with molasses, as do smoky mezcals. And like other thick syrups used in cocktails, consider thinning it out with water to make measuring easier.
Our molasses cocktail, known as a Two-Boil Flip, includes a few easy-to-find but nonetheless unexpected ingredients, such as a whole egg.
Note: To dilute the molasses, pour equal parts molasses and water into a measuring cup, and stir to combine.
Makes: 1 cocktail
2 ounces Old Forester 100-proof bourbon
3/4 ounce diluted molasses (see note)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce St. George Nola Coffee Liqueur
1/4 ounce simple syrup
1 large egg
Frehly grated nutmeg, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker, combine the bourbon, molasses, lemon juice, coffee liqueur, simple syrup and egg. Add one ice cube and shake hard for 20 to 30 seconds. Open the shaker and fill the remaining space with ice. Shake the drink hard for an additional 20 to 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with grated nutmeg. Serve immediately.