I’ve known Nathan Hazard for a while now and he’s made me plenty o’ cocktails. Works of art actually. He takes great pride in his craft. Each ingredient used is carefully sourced or created from scratch. Each drinking vessel is hand selected to accommodate the theme…
And every cocktail he creates is surprising, unique and full of personality.
Just like himself.
This week I visited Nathan’s “Libation Laboratory” to get some serious education on holiday cocktails. He is a gentleman, an entertaining maestro and one heck of a mad scientist when it comes to creating bevvies. His tiny kitchen is stacked high with viles and canning jars filled with infusions, potions and various other surprises I’m unable to identify or dream up on my own. His shelves are teetering with an impressive collection of vintage bar ware, decanters and tiki mugs. It’s a magical place that you can easily get lost in while trying to absorb up all it’s whimsy.
And there is A LOT of whimsy going on…I LOVE IT!
Tis the season to get your nog on, but on this day that hardly will do. Together we came up with two mighty cocktails which highlight the nostalgic tastes of the season in a very nontraditional way.
And by “together” I mean “I watched”…eerrrr “taste tested”.
Let’s be real, I have not dabbled in the magic that this man has. He claims it’s like cooking, but I’ll have to bow out of that chin chin challenge… So with that I’ll leave it to the professional and let him take it from here.
Nathan: Pisco isn’t often considered a festive winter spirit, but the Chilean grape brandy’s pleasant viscosity and mild flavor make it a versatile holiday helper. For this riff on the classic Pisco Sour we first infused the spirit with cranberries for a sweet-tart kick.
- 2 oz Cranberry Pisco*
- 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon bar sugar
- 1 egg white
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 3 cups Pisco
- In a small saucepan, heat cranberries, sugar, and water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and cranberries just start to pop. Let cool slightly, then add to a jar with the Pisco and cover. Store in a cool dark place for at least 3 days or up to 2 weeks. Strain before use.
- Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker without ice and shake vigorously to emulsify egg. Add ice and shake until mixing tin is frosted.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a few dashes of bitters and serve.
Nathan: Without any Spruce tips handy for infusion fun we decided to conjure up a woodsy cocktail with less literal ingredients. Surprisingly, the result was as sharp and herbaceous as a Christmas tree!
- 2 oz Hendrick’s Gin
- 1/2 oz Amontillado Sherry
- 1/4 oz Dolin White Vermouth
- 2 dashes Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters
- Herbsaint (in atomizer)
- Rosemary sprigs
- Lightly press a rosemary sprig in the bottom of a mixing glass.
- Add ice and the gin, Sherry, vermouth and bitters.
- Stir until well chilled and strain into a cocktail glass prepped with a spray of Herbsaint. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.
A HUGE thanks to Nathan for taking the time and full afternoon to entertain me with Christmas music, keep my glass full and letting me completely overstay my welcome. It’s hard not to with such a fun guy like this, trust me.
Thirsty? For more cocktails check out his website over here.
Happy Holidays Everyone – Cheers!!
____________________________________________________________Nathan Hazard lives in Los Angeles, documenting gastronomical pleasures & spirituous libations on his blog The Chocolate of Meats (@chocomeat). He also co-hosts The Table Set podcast on the Homefries network as the resident boozer. ___________________________________________________________________
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