Willett's newer offerings, Speakeasy delivers a huge caramel nose and taste with edges of of vanilla and coffee. Perfect for Christmas because the flavor blends with the Christmas spices of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. I decided to use it to craft a new holiday cocktail to ring in 2014.
Given the sweetness of Speakeasy, I needed an acid to pair with it. The classic holiday acid is cranberry which, like Willett's booze, is one of my favorite flavors to pour into a glass. So I attempted a cranberry-ginger syrup for heat and tang. Here's the way to make it...
Pour 2-3 coups of fresh cranberries in a large sauce pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and 1 1/2 cups of white sugar and stir to dissolve. Heat to boiling and reduce to simmer. Peel a 2-3 inch piece of ginger root. If you are new to this, use a spoon to scrape the brown skin off - it is much easer than using a knife. Once the skin is removed, cut root into thin slices. Add the slices to simmering cranberries; smash softened berries to have them yield more juice. After 20-30 minutes, remove the syrup from stove top, strain and cool.
2 ounces bourbon (I used Speakeasy)
2 ounce cranberry-ginger syrup
1 ounce Benedictine
1 ounce triple sec
Mix all ingredients into a mixing glass that had already been filled with ice. Stir with a barspoon for 40 revolutions. Strain into a cocktail glass or coupe. Enjoy what's left of this really cold winter... with leftovers!