You might not be able to tell from the weather, since it's currently in the 90s here in Los Angeles, but Fall has arrived. With it, some excellent things to eat and drink which may only be here for a short while, and then gone again in the blink of an eye. Here is a very brief guide to some of those ephemerally Autumnal adult treats to make, to order, to cook, and to eat and drink before Old Man Winter clocks in to ring the bell on 2011.
Harvest Moon Pumpkin Ale - From the good people who bring you Blue Moon Ale, this seasonal pumpkin ale is one of the best of the large batch brews for Fall. A lot of pumpkin-based beer tastes like poo, but the Harvest Moon is really nice, with a subtle taste that says Fall, without making it seem like you're drinking a beer and eating a slice of pumpkin pie at the same time.
Dogfish Head Punkin Ale - Named after a local Delaware event called the Punkin Chunkin, Dogfish Head has a seasonal brew of their own that's made with real pumpkin meat, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This beer is good for drinking a few bottles, instead of being just a sipper, and combines the delicious taste and craftsmanship of Dogfish Head's microbrew ethic with the tastes of Autumn.
For those who like to imbibe, but who aren't so crazy about beer, or, for that matter, pumpkin spice, worry not. There are lots of excellent Fall drinks that have nothing to do with either, a good deal of which are contained in this article from Saveur.
Highlights, however, include the Ginger Gold Rush, which combines the warmth of ginger liqueur and bourbon to bring out the tastes of Fall, and a brandied cherry to remember the tastes of the end of the Summer. It might sound like a difficult thing to make brandied cherries, but I've done it myself, and it mostly just requires a little bit of patience.
For those who like the tastes of the great northeast, there's this Maple Vodka and Espresso Dessert Cocktail, which combines the fine tastes of breakfast pancakes and coffee with the delicious warmth of vodka.
Try lots of different things this Fall, when drinks are less means of refreshment and more a figure of warmth and good taste.
Is there anything more epic when it comes to October than beer and pretzels, with, perhaps, some sausage and/or brats boiled and grilled with sauerkraut? No. There isn't. So, here's a couple really easy recipes to make your Fall more impressive, and show off your cooking skills, without causing panic in the kitchen.
If you're going to make soft pretzels, there are few better chefs to teach you than the master of Good Eats himself, Mr. Alton Brown. His recipe is easy to make, but it takes a couple hours from start to finish, so make sure you leave yourself enough time to finish them before company comes or before you want to eat them. Also, if you're going to take the time to make your own pretzels, why not splurge a little on some nice mustard?
Finally, I'm going to share with you a recipe of my own for bratwurst, which is super easy, comes with little fuss, and is impressive, especially since most of the people you know don't know how to make them. Here's the deal.
- 8 Bratwursts
- 1 Gallon water
- Two bottles of dark beer
- 3-4 cloves of garlic
- Good long rolls or pretzel rolls
- Set water to boil, and pour in the bottles of beer. Peel the cloves of garlic and put them in the water with a generous handful of salt.
- Add the brats to the boiling water and turn the heat down to simmer. Let them cook for about 20-25 minutes on low heat until they're very plump.
- Remove the brats and either throw them on a hot grill or a grill pan to give them marks and caramelize the outside of the sausages.
- Heat the sauerkraut in a separate pot. Cut the rolls and warm them on a pan or in the oven on low heat (approximately 200 degrees)
- Remove the brats from the heat, place in buns, add kraut and mustard to taste.
There you have it. Some epic food and drink for you this Epictober. As always, if you're going to drink alcohol, drink responsibly and never drink and drive. Enjoy!