“Pumpkin Pie-Faced” Thanksgiving Shooters

Hey! This week is American Thanksgiving! And just like the rest of the world (who celebrate Thanksgiving at the normal time) our friends south of the border will be indulging the joy of festive food … and then paying for for that joy with an infestation of relatives. Yes, relatives … like friends you didn’t choose and can’t get rid of. If only there was a way to enjoy the flavours of the fall feast and hang on to your sanity.

If only …

The Pumpkin Pie-Faced Shooter

Well, whaddya know. It’s the “Pumpkin Pie-Faced” shooter, with flavours redolent of the classic fall dessert and enough booze on board to either keep your relatives quiet or put you into a state where you just don’t care. It’s a simple three-ingredient concoction, and if you don’t have the ingredients on hand they are dead simple to get at Ye Olde Local Liquor Store. I’ve called for rather specific items in the mix but if you can’t find them I have also given you options to fill in the gaps.

Like most cocktails (the Perfect Margarita comes to mind here) the actual putting together of the thing is easy – all of the details are in getting quality booze. I’ve provided what I hope are thorough notes regarding the ingredients, but if you have any questions or need clarification you know where to ask.

Ready to go? Good. The relatives are on their way, and you need to get yourself braced for battle. Keep reading!

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What you need:

1-1/4 oz Kahlua (see note about measurements below)
1/2 oz reposado tequila (see note about tequila below)
1/2 oz whisky cream liqueur (see note about whisky cream below)
A dash of cinnamon (see note about cinnamon below)

Measurements Note: Bartending is a field that is, frankly, hidebound with tradition. Even in enlightened countries drinks are still mixed with imperial measures and the measuring tools are invariably marked as such, so that is what I am using here. Deal with it.

Tequila Note: As always, go for quality when you buy tequila. That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank – there are some excellent sipping reposados that can be had for under 25 dollars a bottle. Look for Peidra Azul (generally under 20 dollars and a very good choice) or Cazul 100 (closer to 30 dollars, but worth the extra few bucks). If you do want to splurge, the Cabo Wabo you see here is worth every penny and will do double duty as a sipper after the holiday crowd is either passed out or gone home or both.

Whiskey Cream Note: When most people think of “cream liqueur” they think of Bailey’s. If you want to use Bailey’s (or any other Irish whisky-based cream liqueur such as Carolinas) then feel free. But … if you want the real deal experience I highly recommend you look for the Forty Creek cream liqueur that I used here. You won’t be sorry.

Cinnamon Note: You finish this drink with a dusting of cinnamon. Not a glob, not a big shake .. a dusting. That means whatever sort of jar or dispenser your cinnamon is in right now is probably not going to work. The holes will be too big. Solution? Get yourself over to the dollar store and buy a cheapie pepper shaker, the kind that always showed up on your grandparents’ table with holes too small to get anything out of. Ground cinnamon is so fine that those holes will work perfectly, giving you a nice dusting while still keeping things under control after you have had a few of these. It’s a dollar well spent, trust me.

Now then. With all of that out of the way let’s get to the easiest part of this whole adventure, which is actually making the drink. Get yourself some shooter glasses (you want something that holds at least 2.5 ounces, so a shot glass isn’t going to cut it) and layer the drink as follows:

Pour the Kahlua into the glass. Add the tequila in a nice easy pour so that it mostly hangs around the top of the Kahlua. Then tilt the glass on a 45 degree angle and gently pour the whisky cream down the slanted side … this will let the cream float on top of the Kahlua/tequila mix. Dust with cinnamon, and serve. If you are smart, you will have a raft of glasses ready to go because in the great tradition of Thanksgiving people will be wanting seconds. And thirds.

Finally, before you get half blotted and are no longer able to process this page here are a couple of quick things to remember: One, you should practice making the drink beforehand so you can make them properly when under the baleful gaze of your assorted relations. Two, dusting with cinnamon is just that … a dusting. Don’t cake it on there, you will kill the other flavours. And three, if you are one of the few people out there who has no experience with shooters, you don’t just throw the damn thing back like a shot of rotgut. Drink it in a single smooth draw – one gulp, but slowly enough that the layers to hit your tongue in order, one after the other in a quick flow, building the flavour combination as it hits your throat.

And remember … when Grandma starts singing “The North Atlantic Squadron” it’s probably time to cut her off.

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