The popularity of food and cocktail pairings has given rise to a new breed of master mixologists, the ‘bar chef’. With an emphasis on gourmet cuisine and mixology, these bar chefs have been experimenting with new creations – couture cocktail desserts, the perfect holiday treat. Bar chefs across the country have been exploring new tastes, textures, and ingredients to create some of these new innovative cocktails. According to the Distilled Spirits Council, this movement can be seen as the result of gourmet awareness and a return to sophistication. “The Distilled Spirits industry is seeing the largest sales growth in super premium products. Just as with many consumer goods from cosmetics to clothes to liquor, people want the best and are willing to spend more,” said Lisa Hawkins, Vice President of Public Affairs for the Distilled Spirits Council. “This return to luxury is making its way into our cuisine and the perfect melding of these two ideas can be seen in these couture cocktail desserts from New York’s most creative bar chefs.” Master mixologists have seen this coming for years. According to Dale DeGroff, master mixologist, chefs and bartenders have been borrowing from each other for quite some time now. “Chefs have been using distilled spirits in their sauces for years and bar chefs have begun using sorbets and such to concoct delicious post dinner cocktail desserts.” New York hotspots such as Dylan Prime, Sugar Restaurant Lounge, and Town at the Chambers Hotel each offer unique cocktail desserts. Michael Waterhouse, partner and beverage designer of Tribeca’s Dylan Prime offers some of the best cocktails NYC has to offer. For the holiday season he has created the Apple Pie Martini, to be enjoyed with cheesecake, and the Vanilla Espresso Martini, topped off with vanilla ice cream. Sugar Restaurant Lounge, another Tribeca favorite, is home to some equally appetizing concoctions. Co-owner George Angelet has created the delicious Root Beer Martini, a crowd favorite enjoyed with hand whipped cream and fresh mint. Albert Trummer of Town at mid-town’s Chambers Hotel has made quite a name for himself thanks in part to his unique cocktails infusions. His Blood Orange Cosmopolitan is a holiday favorite. “These recipes have been gathered from some of the premier bar chefs in the US and when faced with serving these delectable treats rather than wine or beer, these cocktail desserts speak volumes about the thought and effort put into an evening’s menu without putting a dent into the preparation time,” said Lisa Hawkins of the Distilled Spirits Council. Dale DeGroff, author of the upcoming book “The Craft of the Cocktail,” is no stranger to creating his own holiday concoctions. His latest is the Banana Royal, which infuses fresh fruit with distilled spirits. Party Planner Jerri Banks, who has created original cocktails for Cinnabar serves up the Whoopie Pie Cocktail, a delicious cocktail dessert featuring marshmallow cream and chocolate wafers. If you’re the calorie counting type, rest assured that each recipe can easily be converted into a lower calorie cocktail with only a few simple substitutions. For example, using diet root beer in the Root Beer Martini can save you 150 calories! “It is important to remember as we entertain and celebrate over this holiday season, and all the year round, to drink responsibly whether you choose beer, wine or distilled spirits – the standard servings of each all contain the same amount of alcohol,” concluded Ms. Hawkins. Recipes: Apple Pie Martini (From Michael Waterhouse of Dylan Prime for the Distilled Spirits Council) 1oz. vodka 1 oz. real maple syrup ½ oz. apple schnapps Pour over ice in a tumbler and shake, strain into a martini glass rimmed with cinnamon sugar. Serve with a slice of cheesecake. Vanilla Espresso Martini (From Michael Waterhouse of Dylan Prime for the Distilled Spirits Council) 1 oz. fresh espresso (cooled to room temp.) ½ oz. vodka ½ oz. coffee flavored liqueur ½ oz. vanilla liqueur Pour over ice in a tumbler and shake, strain into a martini glass. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Root Beer Martini (From George Angelet of Sugar Restaurant Lounge for the Distilled Spirits Council) 1 oz. infused vanilla vodka ½ oz. root beer schnapps hand whipped cream Pour over ice in a tumbler and shake, strain into a martini glass. Top with the hand whipped cream and garnish with a mint sprig. Blood Orange Cosmopolitan (From Albert Trummer of Town for the Distilled Spirits Council) 1-½ oz. Orange Vodka 1 oz. Lime Juice 1 oz. Blood Orange Juices Pour over ice in a tumbler and shake, strain into a martini glass. Garnish with limes and oranges. Banana Royal (From Dale DeGroff, master mixologist) 1-½ oz. Banana Liqueur 1 scoop strawberry sorbet 1/3 of a fresh banana chopped in small pieces 3 ripe strawberries chopped small Stir the strawberry sorbet, fruits and banana liqueur together in a bar mixing glass until slushy and transfer to a saucer style champagne glass. Top with fresh whipped cream and serve with a dessert spoon. Whoopie Pie Cocktail (From Jerri Banks of Ladies Who Launch for the Distilled Spirits Council) Marshmallow Cream ½ cup sugar 1 tablespoon light corn syrup ¼ cup milk Bring ingredients to a boil, let simmer slowly for 5 minutes. 1 tightly packed cup of miniature marshmallows 2 tablespoon water In double boiler top, melt marshmallows. Combine syrup and marshmallow cream. When mixture is cool, whip in 1 tbls heavy cream. Cream can be kept refrigerated for 1-2 days. Wisk before serving. To prepare cocktail: 2-3 chocolate wafers finely crushed Dip cocktail glass in simple syrup or corn syrup. Coat with crushed chocolate wafers. In blender combine: 1 scoop chocolate sorbet ½ oz. vanilla flavored vodka or rum 1 oz. chocolate liqueur ¼ cup of small ice cubes or crushed ice Blend until smooth and pour into prepped cocktail glass. Top with marshmallow cream.