Celebrating Hudson Valley
by Carlo DeVito
There is nothing…that exercises a more delightful spell over my imagination than the lingerings
of the holiday customs and rural games of former times. –Washington Irving, Old Christmas
Is there a prettier place to celebrate the holidays than the Hudson Valley? It starts with a full-blown explosion of autumn in all its glory, then Thanksgiving, and then before you know it, it’s already New Year’s Eve and the ground is covered in snow.
Now is the time we spend with friends and family. Laughter and good cheer is the order of the day. No one knows that more than the vintners and spirits makers of the Hudson Valley. Because of the diversity being produced locally, there’s something for everyone—from light, bright whites and farm house ciders perfect for turkey to medium-bodied approachable reds perfect for hardy meat dishes.
Nothing says the holidays more than fancy punches, cocktails, and dessert wines to compliment your Hudson Valley cheese plate and other scrumptious delectables. And nothing is more wonderful than serving local ingredients to make the holidays that much more special. The recipes assembled here all have a twist—they’re made with local wines and spirits.
Punches have made a big comeback in the last few years, and no time is more right than the holidays. Punch is the term for a wide assortment of drinks, both non-alcoholic and alcoholic, generally containing fruit or fruit juice. The drink was introduced from India to England in the early 17th century. The word punch is derived from the Hindi word panch, and the drink was originally made with five ingredients: alcohol, sugar, lemon, water, and tea or spices. Served in large and ornate “punch bowls” the custom became very popular and spread throughout the western world from there.
Punch bowls are easy to find, especially during the holiday season. This is a great way to brighten up your next gathering. And it looks great!
Baby Bourbon Fruit Punch
Baby Bourbon Fruit Punch
2 parts Tuthilltown Baby Bourbon
1 part strawberry liqueur
0.5 part Passion Fruit Coulis or
1 part Passion Fruit Juice
Put champagne on ice on table near punch bowl. Pour all but sparkling into a punch bowl with ice. Ladle mixture into glasses and top with sparkling. Garnish with strawberry or orange twist.
Local Christmas Fruit Punch
12 oz can frozen lemonade concentrate
12 oz can frozen orange juice concentrate
12 oz can frozen cranberry juice concentrate
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves
1 cup sugar
1 bottle sparkling wine
1 bottle Tuthilltown Baby Bourbon
or Cornelius Applejack
Make all juices according to package directions. Combine and put in a 1 1/2 gallon pitcher/container. Place water, sugar, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in small saucepan. Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes. Add only syrup to juices. Add sparkling wine and spirits. Serve.
What better way to say “welcome!” than a fabulous and chic cocktail? It’s time to bring those martini and margarita glasses out of the cabinet and impress friends and family! Is there anything more elegant than sharing warmth and laughter with a cocktail glass in your hand? Admit it, there’s something fun and sexy and grown-up about cocktails.
Most popular among holiday cocktails is the kir. But the kir and its descendants have a new and special place in the Hudson Valley. A traditional kir is made with white wine and cassis. The Hudson Valley is now the number one producer of artisanal cassis in North America. And the kir is becoming the signature drink of the Hudson Valley. There were more than 17,000 bottles of cassis made this past year in the valley, and that number is projected to exceed 20,000 bottles next year. Cassis is a dark rich dessert wine made from black currants. It’s very sweet and tangy and is perfect for a mixed cocktail as well as a great accompaniment for dessert and cheese plates. The Hudson Valley Kir is a mixture of local cassis blended with local white or sparkling wines.
Seyval Blanc is the signature white grape of the Hudson Valley. Many of the white wines of the Hudson Valley are either 100 percent Seyval or have some amount of Seyval in them. Other popular whites are Chardonnay, Traminette, and Riesling.
Cassis is perfect as a celebration cocktail, and it’s also an exceptionally good accompaniment to a cheese plate for your crowd to pick on before the holiday feast is served.
Apple Jack Cocktail
2 oz Cornelius Applejack from Core
3/4 oz orange curacao
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes orange bitters
Apple slice and orange peels for garnish
Shake all the ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an apple slice and an orange peel.
Local Cassis Cocktail
1/2 oz cassis
1 oz Core vodka
1/4 oz rum
2 1/2 oz lemon juice
1 tsp powdered sugar
Mix and shake with ice. Strain and serve.
Hudson Valley Flirtini
2 pieces fresh pineapple
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz Core vodka
1 oz pineapple juice
3 oz sparkling
Muddle the pineapple pieces. Add Cointreau and pineapple juice and mix. Add the vodka and sparkling to the mixture. Garnish with maraschino cherry.
Hudson Valley Kir
1/4 oz Hudson Valley cassis
2 1/4 oz dry white wine
Pour the cassis into a wine glass.
Slowly add the white wine.
Serve in a champagne glass.
HERE ARE SOME OTHER KIR VARIATIONS:
Kir Cider: Substitute local cider for the wine
Cardinal: Substitute red wine for the white wine
Kir Royale: Substitute sparkling for the white wine
Kir Peche: Clinton Peach Gala and Adair Peche
Kir Imperial: Substitute raspberry liqueur for the
cassis and sparkling for the wine
Suggested Local Wines Great for Blending or as Gifts
Brotherhood Blanc de Blanc
Clinton Corner Jubilee
Hudson-Chatham Blanc de Blanc
Glorie Farm Winery
Warwick Valley Cider
Montgomery Place Cider
Baldwin Raspberry and Strawberry Wines
Brookview Station Dark Cherry Port
Clinton Vineyards Rhapsody and Desire
Warwick Cherry Cordial and Framboise Cider
Pazdar Cherise Chocolat (chocolate cherry wine)
THE ORIGIN OF EGGNOG
dates back to medieval European times. Many believe that the version we know today dates back to an English recipe called an Egg Flip. When the drink made its way to the American Colonies it was called an “egg and grog,” a common Colonial term used for the drink made with rum. Eventually that term was shortened to “egg’n’grog”, finally becoming “eggnog”.
The ingredients for the drink were expensive, whether in England or the Colonies, so it came to be popular among the monied classes, and was only served during special occasions since fresh eggs and milk were not cheap commodities. In Colonial America brandy and wine were heavily taxed, so inexpensive Caribbean rum was substituted. After the Revolutionary War, rum was more difficult to obtain, so whiskey became the popular spirit, which was plentiful and more patriotic, bourbon becoming the most popular addition to the mix.
Eggnog is a popular type of beverage all over the world. Similar combinations are known by other names such as Panche Crèma in Venezuela or Advocaat in Central Europe.
Because of the Valley’s rich dairy and farming history, eggnog has always been a mainstay of the holidays in our region. This new recipe features some local ingredients.
HUDSON VALLEY EGGNOG
6 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
1/2 cup, plus 2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup Tuthilltown Baby Bourbon
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 1/4 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks
Additional grated nutmeg for garnish
Whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a heavy 4-quart pot. Mix well. Slowly fold in milk until well mixed, whisking continually. Place pot on low burner continuously blending mixture. Stir until the mixture coats your spoon completely. Approximately 25 to 30 minutes.
Use a fine grade sieve to strain out any bits of egg. Add bourbon, nutmeg, and vanilla extract. Stir well. Pour into a bowl or pitcher, cover, and refrigerate (approximately 4 to 5 hours).
To serve, whip heavy cream into soft peaks, and then fold crème into custard mixture and fold until combined. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg. Ladle into cups.