In Good Spirits

Holiday Fun
in a Glass

Story and photography by Cheré Coen

Cool spirits and unique fall flavors can add a little sparkle and sweetness to the holidays.

On a visit to Frankfort, Kentucky, I acquired a fun “Apple Martini” cocktail recipe from Buffalo Trace bourbon distillery that mixed 2 parts bourbon, 1 part praline liqueur and 1 part Apple Pucker in an ice-chilled cocktail shaker. The result was the perfect Thanksgiving drink, a delicate cocktail tasting of fresh apples and just the right amount of sweetness with the sensation of a warm fireplace on a chilly fall day. I served it every year.

This holiday, I tried something new after discovering Runamok maple cocktail syrups and bitters. The Vermont-based company produces a unique line of products that taste as good mixed with spirits as they do on pancakes and waffles.

​For instance, mix apple cider with a few tablespoons of Runamok Maple Mule Cocktail Syrup and warm in a small pot and you’ll end with the perfect non-alcoholic drink for a fall afternoon. It’s appropriately called “Warm Your Cockles.”

For those who’d rather have a bite to their refreshments — and, in this case, a dose of entertainment — we recommend Runamok’s Shimmering Champagne Cocktail. The main attraction to this drink is the Runamok Sparkle Syrup, pure maple syrup that’s enhanced with food-safe pearlescent mica sourced from the United States. Shake the bottle and the maple deliciousness sparkles as if by magic — and it makes for a delightfully brilliant cocktail that’s perfect for the holidays as well as other special occasions, such as weddings and New Year’s celebrations.

Want to have more fun? Spin the bottle’s holographic flavor medallion in different lights to check out its many colors.

Shimmering Champagne Cocktail
1 tablespoon Runamok Sparkle Syrup
4 to 6 ounces dry sparkling wine
2 dashes of Runamok’s Aromatic, Orange or Floral bitters
Lemon twist (optional)

Directions: Put a teaspoon of Sparkle Syrup in a champagne flute or wine glass. Add sparkling wine and bitters. Gently stir and serve with a twist. The sparkles will rise and flow throughout the glass, making a wonderful display. Note: Despite its name, the recipe calls for dry sparkling wine instead of champagne due to the heavy sweetness of the syrup.

On a recent trip to the liquor store, I was treated to a sampling of Rivulet Artisan Pecan Liqueur, which marries distilled and aged brandy with American pecans — and we suspect those nuts hail from the Deep South, since that’s where the best pecans originate from! It’s a delicate spirit — albeit sweet — that makes for a nice after-dinner liqueur perfect for sipping.

For the holidays, however, you may want to finish meals with the Rivulet Kentucky Pie, a combination of Rivulet, Kentucky straight bourbon (we used Four Roses Small Batch) and Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur. A word of warning: it’s as sweet as a pecan pie, but the bourbon helps bite through the sugar. It will make the perfect accompaniment to a slice of pecan pie. Better yet, a bourbon pecan pie.


Rivulet Kentucky Pie
1 part Rivulet Artisan Pecan Liqueur
1 part Kentucky straight bourbon
1 part Godiva Dark Chocolate Liqueur

Directions: Combine ingredients over ice in a rocks glass. Or combine ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker tin and shake, then strain and pour into a martini glass.

Read more in DeSoto Magazine

Read the full story.
See more great photos.