Are you throwing a haunted Halloween bash for your friends on October 31st or perhaps a big Thanksgiving feast with family next month? If so, one thing is definitely for sure, you’re going to want to have a signature cocktail for your friends and family to enjoy! Renowned mixologist, Ted Kilgore was kind enough to join me for an interview this week to dish on some of his favorite fall infusions to make with Everclear, and he also shared some great tips on how you can personalize your party and make it unique.
Candace Rose: What are some of the hottest party trends for the fall season?
Ted Kilgore: “Some of the hottest party trends are making a party themed and doing something seasonal. One of the things that I like to do to make a party a little easier is to prep everything ahead of time – shop or bake or do whatever you have to do. You’ll set up your table perhaps a pumpkin carving theme or something of that nature for Halloween for that instance. Set everything up including your decorations and get that out of the way.
Another thing I like to do is to do things that are simple during the party as well. Set all the cheese, meats, whatever else you’re having, things that you can make that are good to sit out during the party so you can just replenish as opposed to doing things that are more difficult that have to be tended to while you’re trying to entertain. Some of the things that I like to do are personalize it with a cocktail as well.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any cocktail suggestions you can share with us?
Ted Kilgore: “For fall and winter some of the things you can do are to do a really quick infusion with some fall flavors. For Thanksgiving, cranberry, apple, cinnamon, cloves in a little bit of Everclear. It gives you a really quick infusion. Add a little water and some sugar after steaming it for 24 hours, it makes one 750. It has a lot of flavors of fall, I call it the fall feeling infusion. It’s a complex and tasty flavor. You can pour it over ice with a little club soda. It’s really nice with Thanksgiving dinner, an appetizer before or at a party it goes really nicely with meats and cheeses.
One of the quickest and easiest is a tea infusion. Again, you start with a little bit of Everclear, add some water to it, and add a quarter cup of tea – this is a chai tea infusion, which you can make into a liqueur or just a regular base like a chai vodka. Mix that up with a milk punch pretty easily (you can do that hot or cold) so it’s great for brunch or breakfast or even as an after dinner drink. You can also pour it on the rocks with a little cream wort of like a Chai White Russian as well. It’s pretty simple with great flavor. Those tea infusions, you can do all year-round with your favorite tea and use the same recipe.”
Candace Rose: Is there anything else that we can do to make our events more personalized and unique?
Ted Kilgore: “Maybe throw a party with a little activity. You can always do a Halloween party with everyone making their own infusions like an orange spice infusion that we did – you just take a zest of orange, a microplaner and a little bit of fall spice cinnamon, allspice and clove. You can just have everyone make their own infusion and they’ll have that to take home with them at the end of the party, as well as taste the cocktail that you’ve created with it.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Ted Kilgore: “One of the things I was talking about with the microplaner, with the zest you want to make sure you get just the pith as opposed to any of the white skin, because that gives you the essential oil, so it gives you that ability to get that really quick extraction. All of these are very quick because of the Everclear. It extracts so quickly because of the higher alcohol. They go quite a ways as well – one bottle will make a couple of bottles of 80 proof spirit or four bottles of a lower alcohol liqueur that you can use in a lot of different things. All of this stuff is on MakeItYourOwn.com for instructions.”