Sunday, July 10, 2011

On Tap at the Leaky Cauldron

This entry has been a long time in coming.

The final installment of the Harry Potter film series will be released on Friday, July 15th. When this happens, Muggles all over the country will be showing up at theaters decked out in oversized spectacles and red and gold scarves with lightning bolts drawn on their foreheads. But some of you may wish to precede this visit to the theater with a classy cocktail party – you know, one where you screen the other seven movies in order to get up to date and where you serve only food and drink specifically mentioned in the books.

Now anyone can open a bag of Jelly Bellies and call them “Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans”. English Trifles and Cauldron Cakes (in the form of chocolate lava cakes) aren’t extremely hard to make. And when I threw a Harry Potter themed birthday party back in 2009, I made pumpkin pasties by baking pumpkin pie filling wrapped in crescent rolls. But in order to throw the kind of Harry Potter party that will have your guests falling off their broomsticks, here are five great drink ideas.

This recipe is courtesy of Jessie Cammack. It tastes EXACTLY like butterbeer should taste – butterscotchy, slightly alcoholic, warms the drinker up inside. At the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal, they top off their non-alcoholic, cream soda tasting version with a bit of melted whipped cream. This gives the appearance of foam.

2 oz Butterscotch schnapps
5 oz Cream Soda

Chill ingredients beforehand and combine in an Irish coffee mug. Top off with whipped cream, if desired, and allow it to sit out, so that whipped cream spreads out evenly and looks foamy.

Ogden’s Old Firewhiskey
Firewhiskey is said to burn when going down and has the power to fill the drinker with courage. I came up with this recipe a few years ago, and I think it captures the mouth feel perfectly (plus it looks magical with the little flecks of gold floating around).

2 oz Goldschlager cinnamon schnapps
4 oz Ginger Ale

Chill ingredients beforehand and combine in an old fashioned glass. Serve with a swizzle straw.

Pumpkin Juice
This is one of my more complicated recipes, since the pumpkin syrup requires a bit of prep time, but the results are pretty delicious.

1 ½ oz silver tequila
½ oz orange curacao
2 oz pumpkin syrup*

Rim a cocktail glass with brown sugar. Shake ingredients with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

*Directions for pumpkin syrup:
(This recipe is based off of the Food Network Magazine's Pumpkin Punch. Batch makes enough syrup for about 16-20 servings of my pumpkin juice cocktail).

Two 15 oz cans pumpkin puree (about 3 ½ cups total)
12 cups of water
2 cups packed brown sugar
4 cinnamon sticks
2 limes

Combine water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks in a large pot and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add pumpkin puree and the zest of two limes. Bring heat to a simmer and continue stirring for 15 minutes. Allow mixture to cool and refrigerate for 3 hours so pulp sinks to bottom. Strain mixture as needed to remove pulp, lime zest and cinnamon sticks. Return cinnamon sticks to mixture and keep refrigerated until serving.

Polyjuice Potion
Recipes for Polyjuice Potion can obviously take many forms (especially since ingredients would vary depending on who you’re trying to become), but I like to think of it as some sort of dark colored heterogeneous mixture with lots of things floating in it. Hence, I usually make some type of red sangria. Here is one my newer recipes.

1 bottle cheap red wine (750 ml)
1 bottle Simply Lemonade (1.75 liters)
2 cups Three Olives Pomegranate vodka
2 lemons
1 jar maraschino cherries

Combine wine, lemonade, and vodka in a punch bowl with ice. Add lemon wheels and stir. Spoon in cherries and pour residual cherry juice into mixture as well. Ladle into punch cups. Makes about 16 – 20 servings.

Veritaserum is supposed to be clear, odorless, and tasteless, akin to pure water. After about three drops, the drinker will answer all questions truthfully. The easiest way to achieve this effect is to serve your party guests shots of pure vodka with some type of chaser “antidote”. However, if you were looking for an actual cocktail, here is a refreshing, clear, somewhat neutral tasting option that I recently concocted. Special thanks to Rebecca Ruscito for introducing me to St. Germain.

1 ½ oz Rain Organics Cucumber Lime Vodka
¾ oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1 ¾ oz fresh lemon juice

Shake ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. The truth never tasted this good.

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