Incase you haven’t noticed from reading my site vodka is not something we use to any great degree, especially flavored vodka. There’s nothing that makes my stomach turn like a bottle of super sweet, artificial whipped cream vodka aka “College Candy”. There’s still at least one company out there who uses natural flavors in their vodkas, and they just happened to recently release a couple new flavors for fall. We got these for free, but we have spent money on Cathead and their Bristow gin before. So don’t let that keep you from trying these tasty cocktails. Everyone has to have a Vodka in their bar, it’s America’s most popular spirit. For me I feel better choosing a brand that is local to the region, focuses on craft distilling and live music, and prides itself on natural flavors.
The Pumpkin Spice was a cool idea, and it has a nice spicy character without any real sweetness on it’s own. Just that great fall spice flavor. The yellow color it has isn’t natural, but the pecan you’ll see later is. I wasn’t really bothered by this, most dark spirits have coloring added to keep them consistent batch to batch. Cathead Pumpkin Spice would be great with tonic, but we wanted to use it like allspice dram would be used in Tiki drinks. It wasn’t as powerful as allspice dram so we did end up using more, but we really like the finished result. Cathead has a big Blues theme so we named this one after a spooky classic by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Put a Spell on You
1 ½ oz Cathead Pumpkin Spice
¾ oz Appleton Extra
½ oz orange curacao
½ oz fresh orange juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
¼ oz rich demerera syrup
1 dash Angostura Bitters
Shake with ice and pour unstrained into a tall glass. Garnish with a cherry and a lime wheel.
The spice comes right up front with notes of oak, and burnt molasses from the rum. Orange plays a good supporting role to the flavors, of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. The spice lasts throughout with a lingering citrus finish. The rich brown sugar from the demerera lifts the citrus to really help this cocktail show off some of the favorite flavors of fall. With drinks this good who needs pumpkin spice lattes?
Next up is the new Pecan flavor. When a lot of people hear that they think pie, but not me. This vodka is meaty and kinda smokey. It tastes and smells just like fresh pecans out of the roaster. It’s definitely not some fake flavored pie vodka. We rather liked it as a scotch substitute in a blood and sand though admittedly without the scotch it was a touch to sweet for my tastes. However it really took off in pretty pink sip I named after a Big Momma Thornton song.
Ball & Chain
1 ½ oz Cathead Pecan
½ oz Fresh lemon juice
¼ oz pomegranate syrup (grenadine)
¼ oz Solerno
1 dash Peychauds bitters
½ oz club soda (optional)
Shake ingredients, omitting the soda, with ice and strain into a coupe or small cocktail glass. Stir in the soda water if desired and garnish with a lemon peel.
This drink has a very refreshing quality, while I prefer it without the soda some have spoken in favor of it and it does have merit. This isn’t Tiki, but it is a nice afternoon cocktail. The lemon and Solerno provide refreshing citrus notes on the nose and up front with the pomegranate softening the sour. It begins tart and rounds out in the finish with that rich meaty pecan flavor that becomes almost chocolaty when married with the other ingredients. A perfect sip for the old Ball and Chain.
We hope this gives you some ideas to play around with something new. We’ll get back to our usual Tiki ways next time, but until then…
“You get hammered America” – JFL