Saturday, November 01, 2014

Eggnapple Pumpkintini

So a few days ago I had this brilliant idea for a November project: 27 days of pumpkin! For every day leading up to Thanksgiving, I'd use pumpkin in at least one meal.

Scott immediately vetoed it. Party pooper.

But the more I thought of it, the more ideas I had. The more ideas I had, the more googling I did. Eventually, I just decided, "Patriarchy be damned!" Patriarchy being my husband, I guess.  Wifely submission and all that baloney. Down with it! It's a Pumpkinpalooza!

I set out to work on my bimonthly menu like I always do, planning out our meals for half of the month, between paychecks. Then I took each idea and either added pumpkin to the dish or added a pumpkin side. Or a pumpkin breakfast. Or a pumpkin dessert. And before I knew it, I had the first fifteen days of November planned out with pumpkin.

On the 1st day - today - I had BOOK CLUB scribbled across the calendar in purple marker. It was our Halloween meeting, with the costume theme "Literary Mash-Up". We were to dress up as two literary characters, mash-up style. We also bring food. Deliciously good food. I considered bringing some kind of pumpkin hors d'oeuvres like pumpkin dip, I thought, OR... I could do a pumpkin mash-up with alcohol.

I found several pumpkin martini recipes online, including this Pumpkin Pie Martini. I was all set to go with that one when my husband found me this Apple Pumpkintini recipe, which looked preferable in that it was a) easier and b) mocktini-able, for the pregnant ladies. It had been a crazy busy day, with Lolly's soccer game in the morning and Fifi's friend's birthday party in the afternoon, and a whole load of grocery list making and subsequent grocery shopping to get taken care of. I also needed to make dinner for the husband and kids too at some point, so "easier" was definitely better.

I had picked up all the necessary martini ingredients for my original recipe during my shopping trip in the afternoon, but when I switched to the Apple Pumpkintini recipe, I was suddenly in need of apple cider and ginger ale. Not to mention the vanilla vodka, which I simply hadn't had time to pick up yet. So after picking up Fifi from her party, I simultaneously made the family their dinner, hot glued some leaves to bobby pins for my costume, and packed the rest of the ingredients to take with me to book club. I threw on my costume and ran out the door, late as usual these days, and still in need of the last three ingredients.

It would have been simple enough to just go to Walmart or Kroger or any other neighborhood market to pick up these easy ingredients, but no. We live in a dry county, so I had to drive out of town to pick up my vanilla vodka. I went to the out-of-town liquor store first, clutching at hopes they'd maybe also have ginger ale and apple cider, saving me another trip to the supermarket. They had ginger ale but of course no apple cider. So I had to hit Walmart on my way to the party after all. While I was there, I impulse-bought a pumpkin pie to bring along, just in case my martinis were a bust.

All that to say, PLEASE, Arkansans, vote FOR Issue 4 and stop the dry county madness!! It makes me buy extra pumpkin pies which I then have to eat all by myself without sharing.

When I finally arrived at book club, I was greeted by several amazing mash-up characters like Hermione Who, Cat-niss Everdeen and Orange Is The New Jacob Black. I went as Where's Hester Prynne? in my Where's Wenda? costume, complete with leaves in my hair, a scarlet letter A on my chest, one sagging stocking and smeared lipstick. Saucy.

I began worrying that my pumpkintinis were going to be a mistake. There was homemade sangria and eggnog as well that both looked fantastic. However, it was good that I hadn't made the pumpkin dip I'd originally been thinking of, since both Pirate Cowboy and 50 Shades of Meredith Grey had both brought delicious variations of it. The world ain't big enough for THREE pumpkin dips.

Shaken, Not Stirred *

When it came time to make the first Apple Pumpkintini, I followed the recipe perfectly. I let our hostess, Mermaid Daisy Buchanan try the first taste. She made a polite face, and said it was "good", so I tried it myself to see if it was really that bad. It was... interesting. Tasted fine, but rather bland, not very sweet and not at all what I imagined. Very appley. So for my next attempt, I included the cinnamon sugar mixture in with the cocktail, rather than just sprinkling some on top or around the rim. That made a huge, sweet difference.

Then Hunger Game of Thrones made the key suggestion. "If you mix this with some of that eggnog, it's really good."

May the eggnog be ever in your favor. *

Interesting idea. So I poured some eggnog in my already shaken cocktail and BAM. That was it. It was delicious!

And thus the Eggnapple Pumpkintini was born. (Try saying that three times fast, or even once.)

Immortal Doctor, Underage Pupil... serving her was a moral dilemma. *

The rest of the night was great fun. We ate Halloween-inspired goodies, played Scattergories (I partnered with Michonne in Wonderland, and we *almost* won, losing by only one lousy point, dammit), and even briefly talked about the book, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion which was unanimously enjoyed by all (who read it).

I came home late (stopping by Walmart AGAIN to buy my own cocktail shaker and getting asked for my number by some late night Walmart stranger who thought I was dressed as a Christmas elf), and I made Scott his very first Eggnapple Pumpkintini. His verdict? Thumbs up. Not at all what he was expecting yet pleasantly surprised.

Velociraptors in an Opium Den Book Club *

Would I make it again? Yes. Without a doubt. It's very desserty though, very rich and creamy, so it wouldn't be an anytime sort of drink. But for a cold, cozy November night, definitely. For a Thanksgiving night cap, certainly, if you weren't already stuffed to your eyeballs with Thanksgiving dinner.

Eggnapple Pumpkintini
(Based on the Apple Pumpkintini recipe above)

2 1/2 tbsp pumpkin puree
6 tbsp apple cider
4 tbsp vanilla vodka
2 tbsp ginger ale
1 tsp cinnamon-sugar mixture (leaving some for rim)
4 tbsp eggnog, divided (I used Southern Comfort brand)
3-4 ice cubes.

Add all ingredients except eggnog into cocktail shaker and shake. Brush rim of two martini glasses with apple cider and dip in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Pour out cocktail into two glasses and then add 2 tbsp of eggnog to each glass. Sip and relax in front of the fire.

* All starred photos:
Photo Credits go to Elizabeth Pollock, aka Orange Is The New Jacob Black

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