Archive for Autumn

The Haunted Orchard

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by cocktailvultures

horchard copy 2Haunted Orchard

A flavorful cocktail that combines those seasonal elements — apples and cinnamon — and makes a perfect accompaniment to an evening of ghost stories and crackling logs.  Enjoy your stroll through the Haunted Orchard…

To an iced shaker, add:

2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce Fireball Whisky
2 ounces apple cider
1/2 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twisted strip of apple peel.

The Hudson Witch, a Strega based cocktail

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2013 by cocktailvultures

hudson witch workHudson Witch

Strega, that sweet, herbal liqueur from Italy, was an under-utilized ingredient until the Cocktail Vultures came along. We enjoy it not only for its witchy name and origins, but for the breath of spring meadows it lends to a drink, without the bitterness of other aperitifs and amaros. This is one of the first recipes the Cocktail Vultures concocted together, and so we gave it the name of the mighty river near our homes. It was a hit at a local charity event here in Poughkeepsie, and cast its spell over a hundred costumed revelers.

To an iced shaker, add:

2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce Strega
3/4 ounce lime juice
1-2 dashes bitters — we prefer aged, whisky-flavored varieties

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Garnish with some maraschino cherries speared on a contorted twig from a spooky hollow, or just a nice plastic sword pic.

Apple Bobber

Posted in Booze News and Events, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2013 by cocktailvultures

















If you’ve been wondering how to work the delicious, fresh apple cider available this time of the year into your cocktail strategy, without serving up a cup of sticky sweetness more suitable for a children’s party, the Cocktail Vultures have figured it out for you. We’ve been toying with the bounty of our beautiful Hudson Valley for awhile now, using both refrigerated fresh cider from local markets, and the even-better liquid Autumn being squeezed in our very own cider press. Here’s the result of our (hic!) labor, and don’t be surprised when your happy guests start asking for another Babble Popper, or Papple Bopper, or…

To a shaker filled with ice, add:

1 ounce caramel vodka
1.5 ounces Amaretto
2.5 ounces of fresh apple cider
1/2 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice

Now shake that vigorously for a good 20 seconds. The density of the fruit juice needs to break up in the drink and completely emulsify with the liquors. When shaking is complete, strain the result into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice cubes. Dust with cinnamon. Add a cocktail straw and a twist of lemon. Dapple Doppers to you, too!

Mad Monster Cocktail Party

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, The Vulture's Library with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2012 by cocktailvultures

A wonderful collection of lounged up Monster themed tracks to get your Halloween party in the perfect mood for  some Spooky Cocktails or to raise the Spirits either bottled or buried.

Brought to you by one of the Inner Circle of the Cocktail Vulture Squadron, Jimmy Psycho !










Track Listing for “Mad Monster Cocktail Party”:


  1. 1.“Grim, Grinning Ghosts a.k.a. “Disney Haunted Mansion Theme (w/ Psycho Charger)
  2. 2.The Munster’s Theme
  3. 3.Tubular Bells (Theme from “The Exorcist”)
  4. 4.That Old Black Magic
  5. 5.Halloween Theme
  6. 6.The from Dark Shadows
  7. 7. Jezebel
  8. 8. Beetlejuice
  9. 9. Psycho Suite
  10. 10. Old Devil Moon
  11. 11. Scooby Doo, Where are You?
  12. 12. Phantasm Main Theme
  13. 13. Rock, Water, Wind (Blair Witch Project)


It’s the Great Pumpkin Beer Review!

Posted in Booze News and Events, Drink It Like a Man, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2012 by cocktailvultures

Pumpkin Beer Review 2012


As any beer lover knows, pumpkin beers and ales have flooded the market and right now, September, is high pumpkin season. The aisles of our favorite beer store, Half Time, are crowded with pretty orange packages and dozens of leering jack-o’-lantern faces. The Cocktail Vultures love pumpkins and Halloween and it’s tempting to pull down random six-packs of everything we see. But we know that all is not equal in the pumpkin patch. For that reason, the Cocktail Vultures have provided this service to you, sacrificing a lovely late-summer afternoon under the blue skies of the Hudson Valley, tasting and comparing some samples from this year’s crop of pumpkin brews. Only the most sincerely pumpkin ale will meet our standards, which are simple: the beer or ale must actually taste of pumpkin and its related spices, and also be a smooth, tasty beer with none of the problems we’ve noted in mass-produced supermarket brands.


Your usual host and hostess, Joe and Peggy, were joined by another member of the Vulture Squadron, Peter H. Gilmore, for the difficult task of drinking cool beverages on the veranda.















1)   Shipyard Pumpkin Head — Portland, Maine.

Light with no bitterness, golden in color, this entry was more like a cider than an ale, with lots of pumpkin pie spice and the highest level of pumpkin of those we tried.










2)   Punk’N – Uinta – Salt Lake City, Utah

Attractive pumpkin color, but no pumpkin or spice flavor whatsoever. The scent was like wet bread. Not recommended.










3)   Post Road Pumpkin Ale – Utica, New York

Subtle spice gives way to a slightly smoky, incense-like flavor. The color was pretty and the head was smooth. Pleasant spiciness but virtually no pumpkin flavor.










4)   Smutty Nose Pumpkin Ale – Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Yellow in color, with no discernible spice but rather a fresh, pumpkin-patch vegetal taste. More Oktoberfest than Halloween.










5)   Blue Moon Harvest Pumpkin Ale – Golden, Colorado

A rich, coppery color with a smooth, velvety texture and head. Tastes of roasted pumpkin seeds and aged whiskey barrels. Very pleasant, seasonal pumpkin ale flavor, rather than a pumpkin pie. We were surprised and pleased to call this our favorite, as it will be easily available to our readers for weeks to come.










6)   Pumking by Southern Tier – Lakewood, New York

A strong vanilla scent greets you as the cap comes off. A pretty amber color, and then one sip gives the pronounced flavor of vanilla and pumpkiny-dessert – like a slice of pumpkin pound cake. As a beer, it’s smooth and pleasant, but is more a dessert beverage than a seasonal pumpkin ale










7)   Captain Lawrence Pumpkin Ale – Elmsford, NY

Nice copper color. No pumpkin or spice fragrance or flavors whatsoever. Metallic after-taste brought back memories of our Cheap Beer Challenge. Not recommended.










8)   Saranac Pumpkin Ale – Utica, New York

A sweet, pumpkin-pie nose gives way to the tiniest hint of spice and a bitter overall taste. Very little pumpkin – more a bitter beer than a pumpkin ale.


We wouldn’t be the Cocktail Vultures if we didn’t try to make something with the leftovers. Although these Vultures can hold our own when it comes to cocktails, too much beer gets us stuffy and sleepy, so we took small portions and poured the rest into a handy growler. When we were done, the result was an interesting “all sorts” of pumpkin ales and this might not be a bad idea. The strong spice and vanilla in one ale was balanced out by the fresh pumpkin of another, etc. Try this at home, for sure!


We’ll be back with more pumpkin ales and some Halloween beers in a few weeks – watch this space and never go to a Halloween party empty-handed. Especially not one of ours.


Always drink responsibly; always drink well.


The “Drawing Room” Cocktail or how to catch more barflies with vinegar

Posted in Booze News and Events, Classic Cocktails, Drink It Like a Man, What I'm Mixing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 19, 2011 by cocktailvultures

Preprandial cocktails can run the gamut, from astringent Martinis to elaborate tropical drinks that make you forget all about dinner and reach for the nearest puu puu platter. But what about a palate-cleansing cocktail served immediately after a large meal, or even between courses? The Cocktail Vultures have concocted just such a number, utilizing one of our homemade syrups, and leaving our little buddy Lime out of the picture for a change. Fear not! You can definitely do this one yourself. And in keeping with the Victorian custom of ladies and gentlemen withdrawing after dinner, we have named it:

The Drawing Room

To a shaker filled with ice, add:

1 ounce rye whiskey
1/2 ounce black currant cordial
1/3 ounce balsamic vinegar syrup (instructions to follow)
3 dashes whiskey barrel aged bitters
2 dashes chocolate bitters

Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

We think this would be wonderful after a course of strong cheese or roasted meat.PN

Recipe and How-To for the “Balsamic Vinegar Syrup”

4 ounces aged Balsamic Vinegar (4 year aged or better)

4 ounces pure cane sugar

Combine both ingredients in a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. This is one of the few syrups where a little reduction is fine and makes for a smoother flavor.

Cool to room temperature and bottle. Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks but best used after a 12-24 hour rest period after bottling.