Monday, December 22, 2014

Cranberry Falernum: Red Plaid Flannel Pajamas

There are days like today when the world cries out for you to be checking off an alphabet-sized list of tasks and all you've got in you is an urge to sit with a good cup of coffee, feed the birds and watch the world go by. Welp, world, you can take a hike today after everything you've asked of me this year. The numbness needs a chance to dissipate and the juncos are reenacting Star Wars out on the fire escape*.

*the things they've picked up from Twitter and special editions of Angry Birds..

And what better accoutrement to the day's activities than a good snuggly pair of pajamas?

Quick-eyed readers may have caught wind of this already, or read last week's introduction to cranberry falernum (including falernum recipe) with its reference to a coffee cocktail and put two and two together. Indeed, the first cranberry falernum recipe that struck wasn't Red Plaid Wool Scarf but Red Plaid Flannel Pajamas.

As you might also be able to deduce, the name came first, followed by the ingredients (save the falernum) list writing itself. And yes, the resulting list is perhaps a little questionable on its face, but, somehow, perhaps with the right coffee and the right Scotch, it works especially well.

So, even if you have the misfortune to continue working up until Christmas, consider this a possible early present. The falernum needs between one and three days to infuse, so you have time. Get the ingredients tonight or tomorrow, put the finished syrup to bed Christmas eve and wake up (slowly) to a coffee cocktail with a big red bow on top (and that includes you, dear reader, who may not celebrate the actual holiday but still get a good peaceful day off from work).

Shout-out in the background to Main Line Coffee Roasters and the Head Nut in Ardmore, PA.
A mixologist gal's heaven.

Red Plaid Flannel Pajamas
6 oz coffee
1 oz blended scotch whisky
1/2 oz cranberry falernum
Whipped cream, for garnish
Ground cloves, for garnish

Heat coffee mug briefly with boiling water.
Discard water.
Add Scotch and falernum - stir.
Pour in coffee.
Dollop with whipped cream.
Sprinkle a pinch of cloves over top.
Sigh relief.

It's a coffee cocktail first, so don't expect it to taste like a Martini. Gentle sweetness with sweet cream, bitter chocolate notes, a woody clove nose, playful light spice with a ginger emphasis. The cranberry melds into the coffee and transforms into a coffee-bright red flavor, earthier now and even more Scotch-friendly. And the Scotch LOVES the cranberry. Granted, it may not be as robust as other whiskeys used in coffee cocktails, but the Scotch just feels proper - not quite stately but possessing rectitude not unlike a fresh set of monogrammed light flannel pajamas.

I recommend Kenya AA coffee because of its affinity for citrus and berries in general, including cranberries. Monkey Shoulder whisky is also works well here for its downplayed smoke/peat and heightened cereal and malt notes - think Irish Coffee.

Happy snuggling!