Food Network Magazine (November 2013)
This cocktail doesn't make a lot of sense for a Thanksgiving crowd. But it might be good enough to serve anyway.
We had flagged this to make for our Fakesgiving dinner a couple weeks back. But on closer inspection, we realized you have to prepare each serving of this cocktail on its own, in a shaker. With 16 people coming over for dinner, we knew that was a nonstarter. We needed something we could make completely in advance and let guests serve themselves. (We wound up making a giant punchbowl of rum Manhattans, which is a cocktail we've been playing around with for a while; we'll write about it for you someday soon.)
Anyway, we knew we didn't want to tackle The Pilgrimage for a large group. But the idea of this cocktail kept tickling our brains, thanks to one very unconventional ingredient in it: pumpkin butter.
We had a bit of a hard time sourcing pumpkin butter; the Whole Foods near us does apparently stock it, but they were out. We found some at Trader Joe's. You can also order pumpkin butter on Amazon: here's one option and here's another.
How's this taste? Good. Really good. Great, actually. The rum is an excellent base, and the lemon juice adds a wonderful tartness that balances the sweet syrup and the smooth sherry.
And the pumpkin butter? Really awesome! It's a fantastic shortcut to all kinds of flavor. Such a brilliant idea! (We'd love to play around with a cocktail with apple butter, too!)
So it tastes terrific. But it's still a lot of work. If you're spending a nice quiet Thanksgiving with just yourself, or as a couple, or maybe with one other couple, this would be a great cocktail to make. Any more than that, and we think it'd get unwieldy.
BUT. We have a suggestion.
You know how every family's got that one person who reeeeeally needs to be given a job to do on Thanksgiving? Maybe it's Aunt Janice, who's got some strong reservations about how you're preparing that cranberry sauce. Or maybe it's Cousin Jim, who really wants to help roast the turkey "his way." Or perhaps it's Grandpa Murray, who's hanging out in the kitchen mostly because he wants an audience for his stories.
Stick those folks behind a bar!
Seriously, take Janice or Murray or Jim, set them up with the makings of this cocktail, and let them go to town. You could mix a big pitcher of the sherry, lemon juice and simple syrup (equal parts of each) ahead of time. Then it's simple for Murray to make each cocktail individually: Mix equal parts rum and the sherry/lemon/syrup mixture, add a couple dashes of bitters and a teaspoon of the pumpkin butter, and shake! Your guests each get a delicious handmade libation, and Murray gets a starring role (along with a tailor-made crowd for his stories).
It's a Thanksgiving miracle!
Combine 1 1/2 ounces anejo rum, 1/2 ounce each dry sherry, fresh lemon juice and simple syrup, 1 teaspoon pumpkin butter and 2 dashes angostura bitters in a shaker; shake and strain into a short ice-filled glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and freshly grated nutmeg.