kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

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Carving stations

If you love the month of October and Halloween as much as I do, then maybe you are thinking about hosting (or are already planning...) a pumpkin carving party. Fun for adults and children alike, the event can be tweaked depending on the audience. For tips (including setup and cleanup) and food and cocktail recipes, check out my recent article on Wine Enthusiast.

To pique your palate, here is a sample cocktail recipe, courtesy of Rachel Sergi of Washington, DC's Zaytinya. Though at first glance it appears involved and daunting, much of the drink can be prepped/batched in advance--perfect for a party:

The (Not So) Stingy Jack
Courtesy of Rachel Sergi, Zaytinya, Washington, DC

2 oz. Macintosh Apple Infused 42 Below Vodka*
1 ¾ oz. cardamom scented black tea**
Juice of ¼ lemon
Lemon wedge
Cinnamon sugar rim (for garnish, see recipe below)

Put the cinnamon sugar mixture in a plastic container with a mouth as wide as your cocktail glass or Champagne coupe. Use a wedge of lemon to moisten the glass’s rim, and then dip the rim of the glass into the cinnamon sugar mixture until coated. Set aside.

Add first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Stir with long-handled spoon to mix and chill. Strain into the prepared coupe. (For a non-alcoholic version, replace the vodka with 2 oz. of apple juice and proceed with the rest of the directions.)

*For the infused vodka, core and slice 2 Macintosh apples, and place them in a bottle of vodka for at least 5 days (removing some vodka to allow for increased volume). Strain to remove solids, pour into any clean glass receptacle, and tightly cap.

**For the tea, take 16 oz. of cold water, add 2 black tea bags and 3 cardamom pods, and steep to taste.

For the Cinnamon Sugar Rim:
⅔ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup granulated white sugar
2 tbsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix sugars and cinnamon, and spread out on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. Back for 7-9 minutes until a bit crunchy. Remove from oven and allow to cool.