Making spirits bright

by Walter Pierce

Move over Eggnog - mixology makes merry this holiday season

Photo by Kari Walker

Christmas on the Bayou is a sip of local flavors like Spiced
Bayou Rum, Canebrake wheat ale and fresh satsuma juice.

It's no secret that I'm a cocktailer who loves a celebration - the time of year is upon us to attend everything from sparkly soirees to fireside chats at mama's house. Holiday occasions in Louisiana almost always include food and drink, but this year go beyond the ho hum wine and beer and serve up a signature cocktail to your best guests.

IND Eats asked Tanner DuCote, wine and spirits manager at Jolie's Louisiana Bistro, to create a seasonal cocktail for readers that evokes the flavors of Christmas time with the challenge of keeping it reflective of Acadiana. What he served was pure delight. Christmas on the Bayou is DuCote's interpretation of how he sees a Louisiana December. The citrus-based drink starts with fresh Satsuma juice (that could easily have come out of grandma's tree in the backyard) and a Canebrake-vanilla simple syrup - yes, that's right, Canebrake, the wheat ale from Parish Brewing. Spiced Bayou Rum from Lacassine and Allspice Dram liquor add to the cocktail to give rich flavors of spice and brown sugar. Add a little Angostura bitters to finish, shake it over ice and serve with cinnamon garnish - the taste is reminiscent of the spices in Eggnog with a lightness from the citrus and vanilla that almost resembles a cider.

While we may dream of a white Christmas, it's often a reality that a Louisiana winter can look more like shorts and tank tops than sweaters and scarves. Christmas on the Bayou can easily be adapted to cover any weather situation, as DuCote says it could be just as delicious served hot with a cinnamon stick for stirring. If you're dropping in the bar at Jolie's this month, ask Tanner to mix up this cocktail or any of his other seasonal creations like Les Frissons, a blend of cognac, cinnamon, chile, and chocolate mole bitters, or a Kashmir in the Rye with notes of curry, ginger, honey and lemon, along with Rye whiskey.

Christmas on the Bayou
(Recipe courtesy of Tanner DuCote and crafted exclusively for IND Eats)

1 oz. Spiced Bayou Rum
1 oz. freshly squeezed Satsuma juice
3/4 oz. Canebrake-vanilla simple syrup
1/4 oz. St. Elizabeth's Allspice Dram liquor
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Cinnamon stick to grate and for garnish

Mix the first five ingredients together in a cocktail shaker filled with ice, then pour through a fine mesh strainer into a cocktail glass. Finish with freshly grated cinnamon. Drink can be served cold or hot. If served hot, cinnamon stick can be added to drink for stirring.

Canebrake-vanilla syrup:

2 - 12 oz. bottles of Canebrake Louisiana wheat ale
1 c. white sugar
1 whole vanilla bean

Split vanilla bean in half and place in a saucepan with sugar and beer. Boil until sugar melts completely. Strain liquid through a coffee filter into a mason jar and store in refrigerator.

Follow IND Eats all December long online for weekly seasonal and holiday cocktails from other local restaurants and bars like Social Southern Table and Bar, Ruffino's on the River, Pamplona and POUR.