October 4, 2012

proof whisky, a Thanksgiving tradition, Vol. 104

If you have followed our recipes from the start, you will already know about our Thanksgiving tradition of taking a forest walk before dinner. We usually pack up a themed-appetizer and cocktail spread and head over to a wonderful trail near Georgian Bay where 11 small bridges span a gorgeous creek. www.simcoecountytrails.net/trails/lineartrails/maps/Penetanguishene.pdf
Last year’s theme was the make thyme cocktail and herbed cheese ball. This year, we are re-featuring our first ever Thursty Thursday cocktail (it has become a tradition because it is so popular), the peppered apricot. Created by the martini club, this drink is just as good pre-made, as it is mixed on the spot. (www.martiniclub.com) For more information on proof brands, visit www.proofbrands.com, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get last minute updates on tastings, parties & events.

the peppered apricot This peppery autumnal drink offers a perfect balance of sweet and zippy. It works beautifully as both an aperitif to your thanksgiving meal, and as a delicious afternoon sipper on your backyard stoop. We find that it is best enjoyed with peppery-aged cheeses, smoky nuts, caramelized onions and lamb dishes.

single size 1 ½ oz proof whisky • 1/8 fresh lemon • ½ oz vanilla syrup* • 4 oz Ceres apricot juice (available at most major grocery chains) • crushed peppercorns • LOTS of ice
In a rocks glass filled with ice, add 1 ½ oz. proof whisky, the juice of 1/8 fresh lemon, ½ oz. vanilla syrup and 4 oz. apricot juice. Garnish with a lime wedge.


pitcher or thermos-size 12 oz proof whisky • the juice of 1 lemon • 4 oz vanilla syrup* • 32 oz or 1L of Ceres apricot juice (available at most major grocery chains) Crushed peppercorns (to taste) • LOTS of ice

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, add 1-2 cups of ice, and stir well.

*vanilla simple syrup Combine equal parts of sugar and boiling water. Stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour into a jar or bottle with a lid and drop in a 1 inch piece of vanilla bean (you can substitute a 1/4 teaspoon of real vanilla extract for the bean). Let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. This syrup is also great in your morning coffee. You can re-use the vanilla bean once the syrup is gone by putting it in your sugar bowl for vanilla sugar. (You can infuse your simple syrup with a variety of flavours by adding ingredients like cinnamon sticks, cloves and other extracts.)

We have tested a couple of awesome recipes to accompany the peppered apricot. They will also travel well on your nature walk.

spiced nuts 2 tbsp olive oil • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce  • 1 tsp ground cumin • 1 tsp smoked paprika • 1 tsp garam masala or mild curry powder • 1 cup mixed nuts (such as pecans, brazils and almonds)

Preheat oven to 180°C. Put the oil, Worcestershire sauce and spices into the roasting tin with the nuts and toss together. Roast for 10 minutes then stir and cook for a further 5 minutes until golden. Turn out onto kitchen paper to remove excess oil and serve sprinkled with sea salt.

Leek, Prosciutto and Cheese EmpaƱadas 3/4 cup chopped well-rinsed white and pale green part of leek (about 1/2 pound untrimmed) • 2 tablespoons chopped sliced prosciutto or ham (about 2 thin slices) • 1 tablespoon olive oil • 3 tablespoons water • 2 tablespoons grated Manchego cheese or mild white Cheddar cheese • 1 sheet (about 1/2 pound) frozen puff pastry, thawed an egg wash made by beating together 1 large egg and 1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 425°F. In a small heavy skillet cook leek and prosciutto in oil over moderate heat, stirring, until leek is softened. Add water and cook, covered, over low heat until leek is soft, about 10 minutes. Pour off any excess water. Remove skillet from heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Let filling cool completely and stir in cheese. Roll out puff pastry on lightly floured surface into a 12-inch square and with a 4-inch round cutter cut out 4 rounds. Divide filling among rounds, mounding it in the center, and brush edges of rounds with water. Fold rounds in half, pressing edges together firmly, and crimp edges with tines of fork to seal well. Empanadas may be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance and dept covered and chilled. Arrange empanadas on a dampened baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Prick top of each empanada several times with fork (for steam vents). Bake empanadas in upper third of oven until puffed and golden, 12 to 15 minutes. (The empanadas can be put together ahead of time and popped into the oven to bake just before serving.)


For our list of ingredients we first hit the Leslieville Cheese Market (891 Queen Street East www.leslievillecheese.com) for some great manchego cheese. 

While in the area, we picked up some baked goods at Brick Street Bakery, (255 Logan Avenue www.brickstreetbakery.ca) and a couple of pints of pumpkin ice-cream at Ed’s Real Scoop. (http://www.edsrealscoop.com)


We want to feature your recipes! There is still time to send us your favourite original autumn recipe, your name, photos and/or any relevant stories to info@proofbrands.com. We will try the recipes, select our favourites and feature them in October. The winners will receive a proof goody bag.

Weekend Forecast:
Saturday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 13 degrees.
Sunday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 10 degrees.
Monday: Variable cloudiness and a high of 12 degrees.

Happy Thanksgiving!