The Magic Hour

Photo by Susan Whitney.

The Magic Hour

2 oz Lustau Fino Jarana Sherry
2 oz Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aero D’Or
1/2 tsp apple cider
1/4 tsp Grade A maple syrup
3 drops Calendula extract

Add ingredients to a double old-fashioned glass filled with ice and stir until chilled. Strain over a large ice cube into a 10 oz rocks glass.

Garnish with a lemon twist.

I’m sure you’re all aware that this is International Sherry Week. No? It’s been in my Twitter feed for weeks, but election tweets clearly dominate. Even so,  I doubt the presidential brawl will damage the sherry campaign. I can’t be the only American who could use a drink. Living in the DC metro area, election night parties are plentiful and lengthy, and the stakes is high.

On that note, maybe election night calls for a drink that allows for refills without the threat of ending the party with uncontrollable tears of joy or despair. Enter The Magic Hour. Easy makin’ and easy sippin’ define this low-alcohol cocktail composed of fino sherry, kina, apple cider, maple syrup and calendula extract, a tincture made from marigolds.

Photo by Susan Whitney.

Fino is a Spanish fortified wine that is the driest of the sherry family. It’s nutty, funky, tastes a bit of the sea and smells of apples. I’m a sucker for a sherry cocktail.

Not to be outdone, kina, also called quinquina, is a French-style aromatised wine originally created to make the malaria-fighting quinine in cinchona bark more palatable. Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aero D’or’s lusty flavor pairs well with the dry Fino. Made with Cortese wine from Italy’s Piedmont region, it is infused with cinchona bark, wormwood, orange peel and other spices and has a sugar content that gives it body without being cloying.

In a nod to fall, I’ve added apple cider, a touch of maple syrup, and three drops of Calendula extract, a tincture made from fall’s quintessential flowers, marigolds. I’ve named it The Magic Hour because it’s golden hue reminds me of the precious hours before sunset and after sunrise when the sun’s rays give fall leaves their utmost expression.

So tomorrow night, gather your friends and family close, mix some Magic Hours, hope for the best and toast the end of an ugly election season.

And, if you haven’t already, please go vote. This is not one to sit out.

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