Cocktails and Cookies
Way back in August we started thinking about our holiday buys for the shops. Two themes kept coming up: Cocktails and cookies. In a year packed with unknowns, these were clearly going to be the cornerstones for surviving and thriving in the holiday season. We set out to find unique accessories, cookbooks and ingredients tied to those themes. Along the way, we had to do some product testing! Suddenly it’s the middle of December and it’s clear I’ve been negligent on blog posts, but heavy handed on experimentation. So, here are a few of my favorite tips, tricks, recipes and roundups from a few months of play.
#1 Mulling Kits aren’t just for wine and cider!
Try infusing bourbon, rum or rye with the flavors of mulled cider. The end result tastes as festive as a fully decorated tree and its fool proof! Low Fi infusers can use ball jars and a strainer or feel free to elevate your game with an infusion vessel.
Mulling spices are also great for pickled beets or carrots. They pair perfectly with left over ham or turkey and are sure to bring some holiday cheer to your favorite brine recipe.
#2 Floral bitters for the win!
Fair warning, I’m a walking billboard for Hibiscus. Honestly, I love it in every form and especially appreciate its flavor and pigment in cocktails. When we came across Runamok’s Floral Bitters, I was sold instantly. Rose, hibiscus, orange peel, wild cherry and angelica are layered in this maple based bitter. The aroma alone makes it a no brainer for rum, rye, vodka or gin drinks. It’s also great in shrubs or mocktails because it adds that extra umph of complexity. I’ve tried it with blended hibiscus infused vodka + passion fruit and gin + ruby red grapefruit. Delicious both times!
#3 Cookie cutters make the bake!
Anyone else binge watching the Great British Baking Show Holiday specials? Watching the contestants delicately cut out festive shapes with pairing knives makes me nutty. I’m a big fan of keeping it simple with cookie cutters. Growing up we used to decorate sugar cookies every Thanksgiving with my grandmother. Her cookie cutter collection is one for the ages and we have a great starter set for young home bakers in shops now. SKORDO team member, Shannon, recently used a few to make gorgeous cookies from Martha Stewart's Cookie Perfection. So fun!
#4 Linens are key!
Whether you’re mixing up a drink or stirring up a batter, you’re going to want a linen on your shoulder. Aprons are core to my aesthetic, but it’s the unsung heroism of the kitchen linen that keeps my hands clean and my counters tidy. Tea towels and kitchen towels are a go to last minute gift and we happen to have some beautiful options in the shops.
#5 Cookbooks > Take Out
This one feels controversial, but here’s my argument: Learning how to make your favorite meal is way more cost effective and fun than opening that DoorDash app. Counterpoint, we should all be supporting our favorite restaurants right now and for many of us the only way to do that is take out, but I’m here to say you can do both. By learning how to make your favorite dish at home, your appreciation of a great restaurant meal increases. Plus, it’ll make that meal out feel even more special because you ‘get it’ in a totally new way.
I’ve never appreciated pastry more than in the last few months. Tartine has inspired me to make plenty of attempts and I’ve had some successes, but for me baking is an ongoing challenge. Now when I tuck into a Big Sky Bakery cinnamon roll on Sunday morning, I’m savoring every last bite AND celebrating the genius’ that brought this thing together.
There you have it, my top five lessons learned from time spent prepping and planning and suddenly being overwhelmed by the holiday season. My takeaway: Keep the oven warm and the ice cube trays filled. Happy Holidays everyone!