"The Nutmeg Star cocktail is perfect for a holiday meal, especially one during the Connecticut fall," says Chris Lazich, who was until recently the general manager at McLadden’s Irish Publick House in Simsbury (McLadden's closed temporarily this fall in preparation for a relaunch). "With cloves and other autumn spices infused in the simple syrup, and the smell of pecan and cinnamon, it will transport your taste buds right into fall! You can also pre-batch for a large group."

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The Nutmeg Star

Serves: 1

Prep time: 30 minutes

Bar items needed: Shaker, strainer, jigger, martini glass

INGREDIENTS:

Pecan-infused bourbon (need 2 ounces)

  • Litchfield Distillery Cask Strength 10 Year bourbon
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 2-3 cinnamon sticks

Autumn spice simple syrup (need ¼ ounce)

  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg
  • Allspice

Other ingredients

  • 2 ounces pecan-infused bourbon
  • 1 ounce Jägermeister
  • ¾ ounce Ripe lemon sour
  • ¼ ounce autumn spice simple syrup
  • Rim and garnish: nutmeg, cinnamon, apple slice, star anise, cinnamon stick

DIRECTIONS:

Make the pecan-infused bourbon

Prepare pecans and cinnamon sticks by placing them in a mesh strainer over a clean container. (If you do not have a mesh strainer, you can use the process for the simple syrup, below.) Pour bourbon over the pecans and cinnamon sticks and let it flow through completely. Repeat this process until the flavor is to your liking. 

Tip: I use salted pecans, but for a sweeter flavor, use candied or glazed. You can also add in other autumn spices such as nutmeg or allspice.

Make the autumn spice simple syrup

Bring water to boil. Add sugar and mix until dissolved. Using a coffee filter, add cloves, nutmeg and allspice. Tie up the coffee filter and let the spices infuse to your liking. 

Put it together

1. Set aside a chilled martini glass. 

2. In a shaker full of ice, add infused bourbon (2 ounces), Jägermeister, lemon sour and simple syrup (¼ ounce).

3. Cover shaker and shake contents vigorously.

4. Pour a small amount of simple syrup on a plate.

5. Turn martini glass upside down into the simple syrup so the rim is covered.

6. Using another small plate, mix nutmeg and cinnamon. Remove martini glass from the simple syrup and place into the nutmeg-cinnamon mixture. Tip: When moving the martini glass to the nutmeg and cinnamon from the simple syrup, leave the glass upside down to avoid drips.

7. Pour drink from the shaker into the martini glass.

8. Slice an apple and float on top of the martini. Gently place star anise on top of the apple slice. Tip: For the ultimate wow factor at your holiday table, use a piece of apple with the best-looking “star” shape in the center.

9. Place cinnamon stick on rim of glass.

10. Serve and enjoy!


Q&A with Chris Lazich

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Chris Lazich of McLadden’s Irish Publick House in Simsbury

What’s your fondest memory of a holiday meal?

I often think back to Christmas 2014, to the last holiday meal my whole family was together for before my grandmother passed. It is such a special memory. I also smile widely when I think of the first Christmas Eve that I spent with my wife’s family five years ago.

What makes your drink a good one for a holiday feast?

The Nutmeg Star cocktail is perfect for a holiday meal, especially one during the Connecticut fall. With cloves and other autumn spices infused in the simple syrup, and the smell of pecan and cinnamon, it will transport your taste buds right into fall! You can also pre-batch for a large group.

When preparing a holiday feast, is it better to be a traditionalist or an innovator?

I find it best to be adaptable and use a mix of both classic and modern twists and techniques. A lot of drinks I love to make, whether at work or home, are nods to the classic — but with a fun, modern take.

Chris Lazich on Instagram: @claz1285

This article appears in the November 2020 issue of Connecticut MagazineYou can subscribe to Connecticut Magazine here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get our latest and greatest content delivered right to your inbox. Have a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.