Bartender: Pasture's Beth Dixon
Challenge ingredient: Candy corn
With trees shedding brightly colored leaves that can whip up into little spooky spirals in the wind and roll down the street, it finally feels like Halloween. Some of us who are too old to throw on a costume for trick-or-treating are a little jealous of all those kids ringing our doorbells after dark. If you aren't a parent with access to a bag of treats to raid after bedtime — or hey, even if you are — a cocktail that evokes the essence of the holiday might soothe your covetous soul. Beth Dixon's drink is smooth, creamy and not too sweet. Does it taste like candy corn? Emphatically, yes— at the same time, it also manages to improve upon the original for a grown-up trick-or treater's more sophisticated palate.
The Candy Corn
1 1/2 ounce vanilla-infused Mount Gay Silver rum
1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 1/2 ounce "corn syrup"
Salted caramel whipped cream
Candy corn, for garnish
Add the rum, lemon juice and corn syrup to a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Top with a dollop of salted caramel whipped cream and garnish with candy corn.
To make the vanilla-infused rum: Split four or five vanilla beans and add to the 750-milliliter bottle of rum. Shake daily for five to seven days. Strain and refill the bottle.
To make the "corn syrup": Combine 3 cups of sugar, 4 cups of water and 2 cups of corn kernels. Bring to a boil and let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the corn and allow to cool.
To make the salted caramel whip: Whip together 1/4 cup of salted caramel sauce (Ellwood Thompson's Local Market carries Stonewall Kitchen's sea salt caramel sauce) with 1/2 cup of heavy cream until the mixture is fluffy and stiff.