To the boy I dated when I was 14…
When I was 14 I dated a boy who suffered from allergies. We’d meet at the park to hang out (what else do you do when you have no driver’s license?) and he’d show up with pockets full of crinkled-up tissues and even the occasional old-man handkerchief. I
am was a demanding girlfriend. And when our conversations (read: attention on me) were disrupted by sniffles, snot and sneezes, I was then less than pleased. I couldn’t understand how a seasonal irritation from pollen could be enough to interfere with activities as simple as conversation.
I am now convinced that this boy has been strategically pinning a Voodoo doll for the last 12 years - ceaselessly wishing the allergy gods would seek revenge on me.
I could describe to you the pain, discomfort and inability to function that has come along with my newly-formed allergies, but they say a picture is worth 1,000 words. Behold, my allergy-ridden mug shots:
I may appear to be losing the fight against these gods, but rest assured, I will soon have my own Voodoo doll to pin…
My Favorite Fall Drink
I love every cliche’ seasonal thing there is. Which means right now I’m consumed by all things pumpkin, crisp leaves, sweaters and hot lattes. But I can’t let my alcohol choices slide through fall without getting a seasonal twist as well. One of my favorite drinks to make is a Caramel Apple Cocktail. It’s the perfect combination of fall flavors, and when done right, it’s presentation is nice enough to make it a great accent to a party setting.
Try it yourself :)
Caramel Apple Cocktail
What you’ll need…
- butterscotch schnapps
- apple cider
- cinnamon sugar
- lemon wedge
- champagne flute or martini glass
How you put it all together…
I don’t use exact measurements for anything in this drink, I kind of just eyeball it and adjust to taste (prefer the champagne to the schnapps? pour in the bubbly!)
- Wet the rim of your glass with the lemon wedge
- Dip the wet rim of the glass into cinnamon sugar, so that it’s fully lined
- Fill your glass about 1/4 of the way with apple cider
- Add in equal parts butterscotch schnapps and champagne
The King of Pumpkin Beers
I love pumpkins and I also love beer. This post is dedicated to the genius pioneer who decided, whoever you are and wherever you are out there, to combine the two for the perfect fall adult beverage: pumpkin beer. But the reality is that not all pumpkin beers are created equal.
Some are too bitter (for my liking) like Smuttynose Pumpkin Ale. Some just don’t have the right blend of spices, leaving an odd flavor profile like BlueMoon Harvest Pumpkin Ale. And some others don’t even taste like real pumpkins Saranac Pumpkin Ale. But one brewery, one pumpkin beer prevails against all others …
This elusive and magical beer, first brewed in August 2002, is something I look forward to year round. Some might say I’m obsessed, that I go too far in my quest to find the difficult-to-locate beer here in the New York City region (I won’t go into too many details, but last fall when I moved back here from Boston where Pumpkinhead flows on tap and is available in most liquor stores, I called at least a dozen bars and beer shops to try and find the beer I covet. A friend had to drive to Purchase, New York in Westchester County to pick up the four cases and two six-packs I finally tracked down). I think I go just far enough.
Shipyard Brewery based in Portland, Maine has a huge following and fans love all of their seasonal beers. But the first time I tasted their Pumpkinhead Ale in the fall of 2006, I knew I’d found the holy grail of fall flavor that’d been missing on my taste buds.
A seriously delicious combination of cinnamon, nutmeg and what I have to believe is the freshest and most genuine pumpkin flavoring blends for a crisp taste that is not too sweet, not too bitter and ultimately refreshing. What’s more, thanks to the delicate flavor balance, this isn’t the type of fruit beer where you drink one and think “I’ve had enough, it’s just too sweet, ” like Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat (which is a beer I enjoy from time to time). You can drink several (the whole 6-pack if you’re feeling frisky) and just never get sick of the taste.
According to Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead description, the seasonal wheat ale pairs well with lamb, turkey, BLTs and pumpkin pie. I myself think it pairs well with just about anything, especially fall favorites like Thanksgiving sides like stuffing, squash, mashed potatoes, corn bread and sautéed string beans.
I’ve heard amazing things about the Shipyard Smashed Pumpkin (currently chilling in my fridge for near-future consumption) so I’ll be sure to report back on that.
Here in NYC, you can find Shipyard Pumpkinhead on tap at The Pony Bar (45th St. and 10th Ave.) and can purchase it at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods and Good Beer NYC (9th St. and Avenue A). Leave comments to this post if you know anywhere else it’s on tap!
For a fun twist, rim a pint glass with cinnamon sugar and pour Shipyard Pumpkinhead for a golden beverage with very little head. And of course, enjoy!