Saint Nick’s Rosy Cheeks and Blue Cheese Cherry Crostini
Saint Nick's Rosy Cheeks
1 750-milliliter bottle rosé wine
2-1/4 cups citrus vodka
1 cup Simple Syrup (recipe follows)
1 teaspoon orange bitters
Maraschino cherries, for garnish
In pitcher combine rosé wine, vodka, syrup, and bitters. For each serving, fill cocktail shaker halfway full with ice cubes. Add 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) rosé mixture. Cover and shake well. Add 1 or 2 cherries to cocktail or cordial glass. Strain the mixture over cherry. Kiss Santa's cheek. Makes 18 cocktails.
Simple Syrup: Combine 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar and 1-1/4 cups water in large saucepan. Stirring occasionally, bring mixture to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat; boil gently, uncovered, 5 minutes. Remove from heat; let syrup completely cool in pan. Store in clean glass jar in refrigerator up to 1 month. Makes about 2-1/4 cups.
Blue Cheese Cherry Crostini
1-1/2 cups cashews
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 pound blue cheese
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 12- to 16-ounce loaf baguette-style French bread
2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
Preheat broiler. Add cashews and cherries to food processor. Cover; process on high 3 to 5 seconds. Add cashew-cherry mixture to bowl. Crumble blue cheese into bowl; add pepper. Using wooden spoon, mix until well combined. Slice baguette into 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place slices on baking sheet; broil, 4 to 5 inches from heat, 1 to 2 minutes per side or until lightly browned (watch closely). Top each toast with large dollop of blue cheese mixture. Broil about 1 minute more to heat cheese mixture. Sprinkle with parsley. Makes about 36 crostini, 18 servings.
Photograph: Peter Krumhardt