Pour It On!: Holiday Desserts
For many, the holidays revolve around celebrating, so what better way to do that than through desserts and drinks? We rounded up some favorite holiday sweet treats and turned to two beverage experts.
Kirk Estopinal, Partner & Bartender
A partner and bartender at New Orleans’ lauded Cane & Table and the James Beard Award-winning Cure—for their fun holiday-focused pairings.
Frank Manganello, Bar Director
Award-winning bar director at Washington’s Primrose who was on the team at D.C.’s The Dabney when it earned a Michelin star.
Eggnog Bread Pudding
BOURBON — Estopinal
Eggnog is in order for this to keep going with the flavor set. What I like to do is a short bourbon eggnog with maple syrup and salt—and that’s nice with desserty drinks. It keeps it whipped up and light.
CHAMPAGNE — Manganello
This is going to be rich, creamy and dense, so you want something that’s opposite. I went with Champagne. Something from Côte des Blancs; the chardonnay base will be stark and helps cut through the creamy richness.
Chocolate Caramel Pecan Cheesecake
WINE — Estopinal
The Olivares Dulce monastrell dessert wine is super lovely with a little acidic character and it’s deep and rich. You need some acid with this dessert.
BOURBON — Manganello
When I hear caramel and pecan in the same sentence, I think of a classic American bourbon like Buffalo Trace or Maker’s Mark. Soft, round and buttery. Served neat or on the rocks.
RUM — Estopinal
I’d go for a nice sip of straight rum with good aged character, on the dry side like Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva. It has a nutmeg and baking spice vibe that’s nice and dry with weight and body without it being sickly sweet and syrupy.
LION’S TAIL — Manganello
A Lion’s Tail with bourbon, all spice liqueur, lime juice, a little simple syrup and Angostura bitters. Pumpkin pie is best when it’s a little spicy and this is a perfect same-same pairing.
Panettone Bread Pudding with Amaretto Sauce
SCOTCH OLD FASHIONED — Estopinal
Scotch Old Fashioned—angostura bitters and orange bitters would be nice in there too—with a Speyside-like Springbank 100 would be nice with a touch of smoke and heather honey thing. When you eat them together it’s like having the Godfather cocktail; you could do that at a dinner and it’d be nice and playful.
SPEYSIDE SCOTCH — Manganello
I thought of a Rusty Nail, but instead of a traditional cocktail, drink a neat dram of Speyside Scotch while eating and turn it into a Rusty Nail in your mouth.
Old Fashioned Apple Crisp
ART + SCIENCE CIDER — Estopinal
Double down on that with an Art + Science cider. It’s like a Normandy-style cider made from super dry apple and it’ll really play up the acidity.
RYE NEAT — Manganello
I would go with a rye neat like WhistlePig 10 Year or a new Louisville company called Peerless to bring in a little spice because you have a lot of sweet things and the texture of oatmeal would be fun.
ANCHOR PORTER — Estopinal
Beer would be good for this, like Anchor Porter. It has rich, deep molasses notes, which would go well with gingerbread. The nice thing is it’s not overly sugary or dense. It’s a nice dry porter with a crisp aspect.
SAUTERNES — Manganello
I went with Sauternes, which will be sweet, soft and beautiful and will cut through the savoriness of the gingerbread cake. It has a never-ending finish, so it would be fun between sips to experience the gingerbread cake.