Countdown with Cocktails – 9: Anejo Tequila Old Fashioned

Bitters, water, sugar and spirit.

That is the official recipe for one of the oldest cocktails, the old fashioned. Usually made with whiskey or bourbon and sometimes brandy, this drink's origin can be traced back the the orginal definition of the word cocktail in the 1800s.

While Mrs. Pea prefers her with bourbon and muddled fruit, for this Christmas Eve, I would rather sip on some agave. This cocktail is filled with aromas of orange and vanilla with a smooth, rich finish.

For this recipe, I will swap out all of the tradtional ingredients:

  • Instead of whiskey, I will use Anejo Tequila, aged at least one year in an oak barrel, giving it a smooth smokey flavor
  • In place of traditional Angostura cocktail bitters, I use orange bitters that give this cocktail a citrusy brightness that contrasts  well with the deep, rich, sweet elements of this drink
  • And finally instead of sugar or simple syrup, Agave Nectar, a sweetner derived from the same plants as tequila
  • I will also make this drink in a short flute glass that is better for tasting tequila, though a regular old fashioned or rocks glass will work fine too.
  • Omit the splash of water in this drink, for while it might open up the flavors in whiskey or bourbon, it just dillutes this cocktail.

Anejo Tequila Old FashionedAnejo Tequila Old Fashioned

3 oz Anejo Tequila such as Don Julio

4 dashes Orange Bitters

1/4 oz Agave Nectar


Add Agave Nectar and Orange Bitters to a chilled flute or old fashioned glass.

Top with Anejo Tequila and garnish with an orange twist.




25 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 23

Toffee is my guilty pleasure and now that I finally know how to make it, this is going to be dangerous. At least the batches I made this year will be given away as gifts, because I am pretty sure I would eat it all if I didn't.  I was surprised at how easy it actually was to make toffee.  Some tools you will really need are a non stick pot, I use an All-Clad Stainless Steel Saucie. A rubber spatula, trust me this stuff is stcky. A candy thermometer, this will help you when when it reaches the 280 degree mark where it could easily burn. And I like to use I like to use the flexible cookie tray that you can throw away after you are done, because it can be pretty messy, but anything you get toffee on will come off with hot water.  After a few minutes of constantly stiring, you have a wonderful gift to give for the holiday or a special treat for yourself, which ever you decide.


English Toffee

Makes 1 1/2 pounds


Line a cookie sheet with tin foil  (I like to use the flexible cookie trays that you can throw away after you are done, because it can be pretty messy, but  anything you get toffee on will come off with hot water) and sprinkle 1/2 cup of toasted almonds in the pan on the foil.

 In heavy saucepan melt butter.

Add sugar, corn syrup and water.

Cook and stir over medium-high heat to boiling.

Cook and stir constantly over medium heat to 290 degrees using a candy thermometer (soft-crack stage).

Watch carefully and stir constantly, it can burn easily after 280 degrees.

Remove from heat and pour mixture over the nuts in the pan immediately.

 Let stand 5 minutes or until firm but still hot.

Sprinkle with chocolate chips and let the stand for 1 to 2 minutes. When softened, spread chocolate over mixture. Sprinkle the chocolate with nuts. Chill till firm.

Break into peices. Store tightly covered.



Countdown with Cocktails- 10: Apple Cider Cocktail

To begin my countdown to New Year's Eve in cocktails, I will start with my and Mrs. Pea's favorite cold-weather cocktail, the Apple Cider Cocktail.

We began working on this recipe a few years ago, starting with an apple and mulling spice infused gold rum, mixed with warmed mulled cider and cranberry juice. It tasted really good, mostly just like well balanced mulled cider which really just masked the infused spirit completely. You could have just used any whiskey or spiced rum and gotten the same taste.

I then started to experiment in concentrating the mulling spice flavor into a simple syrup so that we could use less cider and create a cold, sidecar like version of this cocktail.

Apple Cider Cocktail

We Eventually arrived at this recipe:

Apple Cider Cocktail

  1. Add all ingredients to ice filled cocktail shaker
  2. Shake for 20 seconds
  3. Strain into chilled cockatil glass
  4. Garnish with orange twist

And for those who prefer the hot version:

Hot Apple Cider Cocktail

  1. Warm 3-4oz Apple Cider and 1/4 oz Mulling Spice infused Brown Syrup in a mug in the microwave.
  2. Stir in 2-3oz Apple Mulling Spice Infused Rum, Whiskey, Brandy or Bourbon and 1/4 oz orange or ginger liqueur
  3. Garnish with Cinnamon Stick.

And this one that omits the Apple Cider entirely but still has plenty of apple flavor: Apple Cider Martini

Harvest Sidecar

  1. Add all ingredients to ice filled cocktail shaker
  2. Shake for 20 seconds
  3. Strain into chilled cockatil glass
  4. Garnish with orange twist, ginger slice or apple slice



25 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 22

 These next cookies aren't usually part of the cookie baking that we do for Christmas, but I couldn't deliver you the 25 Days of Christmas Cookies without this recipe. It is one of my favorite cookies I have in my repertoire, because these are called Chai Snickerdoodle Cookies.  I love Chai tea, it is one of my favorite things! So to combine that lovely chai flovor with snickerdoodle cookies, it is like my little heaven on Earth.  The funny thing about these cookies is Queen Bee, Sandy would disapporve of them, because they are not Christmas cookie appropriate size,  but to fix that just use a smaller ice cream scooper  or use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of dough per cookie. Enjoy!


Chai Snickerdoodle Cookies



2 1/3 Cups All purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), room temperature

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

for the chai sugar:
5 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare cookies sheets with silpat or parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt). Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together chai sugar mix. Set aside.

In stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time.

Slowly add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, and mix until combined.

Form dough into large balls (I use a medium ice cream scooper, which is about 2 tablespoons of dough rolled by hand, for smaller cookies use about 1 1/2 teaspoons of dough), roll in chai sugar mix.

Place baking sheet. Leave space for cookies to spread.

Bake for 14 minutes and allow cookies to rest for 5 minutes on cookie sheet before transferring to a cooling rack.

Store up to 5 days in an airtight container.

25 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 21

Well this next cookie is an old stand by and was one of the first cookies, well candy, I ever made at the Cookie Baking Extravaganza. If you area fan of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, then you will surly enjoy these Peanut Butter Cups. They are like a Reese's but better, believe me. These candies have both white and dark chocolate, and for extra nutty flavor are sprinkled with chopped peanuts on top. These little candies will melt in your mouth. Mr. Pea lovs the peanut butter combo, so it is hard to give these away as gifts for people, I am sure he could eat them all by himself. Enjoy!



Peanut Butter Cups


9 oz. white chocolate, chopped

1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter

1 package (8 oz.) semisweet chocolate squares, chopped

1/3 cup lightly salted cocktail peanuts, chopped


Arrange 60 miniature paper or foil cups on a 15 X 10 jelly roll pan.

In a heavy 2-quart saucepan, heat the white chocolate and ¾ cup of peanut butter over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.

Spoon peanut butter mixture into the baking cups and refrigerate 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in the same saucepan heat the chopped semi-sweet chocolate and remaining peanut butter over low heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.

Spoon warm chocolate/peanut butter mixture over the chilled mixture in the baking cups and sprinkle with the chopped peanuts.

25 Days of Christmas Cookies- Day 20

Happy Friday!  You might be thinking this post is a little late today, but that is because we kicked off Christmas today with our first of four Christmas parties we will need to attend this year, yup you heard me four! Since most of our family lives within traveling distance, it is nice to get to spend the holidays with them all.  The Christmas party we went to tonight had some relatives visiting from the fine state of Louisiana. They have a son and he really likes elephants, so Mr. Pea found the cutest most cuddly elephant I ever did see (I even had a hard time giving him up he was so cute). And I have got to tell you the reaction on his face when he opened up that gift was priceless! I am telling you he screamed with joy he was so excited, it warmed my heart to know we had got him a gift he really liked. Have you ever got a gift you were so excited for you screamed with joy, oh to be a kid again. I thought it would be fitting to share this next cookie with you, because they are called Pralines, no they are not the Southern kind of praline, but these are simple pralines. They are a thin crispy cookie spread wit h a thin layer of chocolate. Enjoy!




½ cup brown sugar, packed

1-1/4 cup uncooked oats (quick)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg, beaten

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate, melted


Preheat oven to 350o.

Mix oats, sugar, baking powder and pecans together in large bowl.

Add butter, egg and vanilla to oatmeal mixture. Mix well.

Drop teaspoonfuls of batter onto parchment paper lined cookie sheets and flatten each cookie, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.

Bake until edges turn golden, about 8 to 12 minutes.

Let rest on sheets for 2 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Cool completely.

Spread melted chocolate on back side of cookie.