Let’s begin with a Cocktail

Halloween is just around the corner and the autumn harvest festivals are in full swing.  I always see the fall season as the kick off for the holidays.  The three big ones at the end of the year are in queue and our minds start whirling with autumn entertaining ideas.   Pumpkins, corn husks, apples and deep, rich colors dominate our decorating schemes and the air is full of cinnamon and spice aromas.  I definitely see that as the perfect concoction for a fall dinner party.

I have had some emails asking for decor, appetizer and cocktail ideas just for such an occasion, so I have decided to share a few items that I think would be stellar to use for your soiree.  I am also going to leave Halloween out of the mix for this and just focus on a few items for a harvest dinner party.  

The first thing I would like to say is that If you are using a new recipe it is always best to not use your guests as guinea pigs, after all that is what your family is for, so utilize them wisely.  My suggestion always is to follow the recipe exactly as presented, if it is indeed your first time and perhaps even for the second or third.   If you feel after that you would like to add, subtract or substitute, you have an excellent feel for that recipe and will be more successful at tweaking.  After you have prepared the dish a few times and have “improved” it to your liking, you will have a creation that is all your own.

For today’s post I will work on cocktails and if you are hosting a harvest or autumn type theme, it is great to carry your theme  from cocktail through to dessert and coffee. With these cocktail recipes, I have included the links to the original sites/pages.   When you visit these pages/sites please take a few minutes to look around as I try to include areas where you can absorb even more inspiration for your current as well as future projects. 

Maple Vodka and Espresso Dessert Cocktail


  • 2 oz Vermont Gold Maple Vodka
  • 1 oz Espresso
  • 1 oz Kahlua
  • 1 oz Heavy Cream

Directions: Combine all ingredients over ice, shake and strain into a chilled martini glass.  It is great garnished with grated nutmeg.  This tasty concoction is at Saveur.



  • 1 graham cracker, crushed to fine crumbs
  • Ice cubes
  • 1-1/2 ounces rum (3 tablespoons)
  • 3 tablespoons pumpkin pie filling
  • 1/2 ounce Sortilege maple liqueur (1 tablespoon)
  • 1/2 ounce half-and-half (1 tablespoon)

Directions: Place the graham crackers on a small plate.  Wet the rim of a chilled martini glass and dip into the crumbs to coat.  In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the rum, pumpkin pie filling, maple liqueur and half-and-half.  Shake, then strain into the martini glass.  This pumpkiny  treat can be found at Rachael Ray Mag.

Royal Jack


  • Ice
  • 2 ounces applejack
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon homemade grenadine, recipe follows
  • 3 ounces brut Champagne
  • Sliced or diced apple or red apple peel

Directions:  Fill a cocktail shaker or small pitcher with ice.  Add the apple jack, lemon juice and grenadine.  Cover and shake vigorously until thoroughly mixed and chilled, about 30 seconds.  (In general, the drink is ready by the time the shaker mists up.)  Strain into 2 Champagne flutes.  Top each drink off with 1 1/2 ounces Champagne.  Garnish with the apple and enjoy.

Homemade Grenadine:

  • 2 cups unsweetened pomegranage juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated or turbinado sugar

Put pomegranate juice in a small sauce pan.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and continue to cook until liquid is reduced by half.  Stir in the sugar to dissolve thoroughly, and simmer to thicken slightly.  Cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.  The Royal Jack is from the FoodNetwork Kitchens.

Egg Nog Martini


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie-spice, plus more for garnish
  • 8 cups whole milk
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups brandy


  1. Set a large fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl.  Place bottom of bowl of bowl in an ice bath; set aside.  Off heat, in a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and pumpkin-pie-spice.  Gradually whisk in 4 cups milk, taking care to incorporate the cornstarch.  Whisk in egg yolks.
  2. Whisking constantly, cook over medium heat until the first large bubble sputters, 10 to 12 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, cook, whisking constantly, 1 minute more.  Remove from heat; immediately pour through sieve into bowl.  Stir in remaining 4 cups milk.  Let cook completely in bowl still set in ice bath.
  3. Just before serving, stir in brandy, and ladle into glasses, garnish with puupkin-pie-spice.

This little gem of course is Martha Stewart.

These are just a few to get your mind bubbling and brewing ~ browse the sites that I have included links to if you would like more recipes for some great cocktails!  If you have any questions or comments ~ please feel free to join the  conversation and please, if there are some recipes you would like to see, let me know and I will post a few so that you have some variation to choose from.   Have a splendid day ~ make it all you would like it to be.

Remember, you can find me on Facebook ~ anytime.

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