Rarely do I go to the trouble of making a fancy cocktail, but one look at a Facebook photo of Pecan Pie Martini had me running to the liquor store to buy some rumchata. Then the price tag gave me sticker shock — $23.99 for a small bottle.

Not one to be outdone by a small bottle of flavored rum, I tried making my own. After all, rumchata is nothing more than rum with some vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg sweetened with a little simple syrup. Making it easier, I picked up a bottle of vanilla rum and added the other ingredients to taste. The end result was a very special martini perfect for celebrating the holidays.

Pecan Pie Martini is exactly what it sounds like. Pecan pie that you can drink. Could there be a better sip if you are fond of pecan pie? And it's so much easier to make. Toast the pecans in advance, chop them up and mix them with store-bought caramel sauce, then dip the glass in the mixture to coat the rim, mix together the martini ingredients, pour it in the glass, garnish with a sprinkle of cinnamon and that's it. Pecan pie in a glass.

This martini is excellent for a New Year's Eve gathering and also makes a nice dessert drink. Whatever your plans for Dec. 31, add this cocktail to the menu for a change of pace.

Caramel, pecans, half-and-half, bourbon, rumchata, creme de cocao — what a sweet way to ring in the new year.

Pecan Pie Martini

For garnish:

3 tablespoons caramel sauce, microwaved until pourable

1/4 cup toasted, finely chopped pecans

Whipped topping (store-bought or homemade)

3 whole pecans, for garnish

Sprinkle of cinnamon, for garnish

For the cocktail:

3/4 cup rumchata (store-bought or homemade; recipe follows)

3/4 cup ounces creme de cocao

1/3-1/2 cup bourbon



3 cups milk or half-and-half or combination of both

1 cup simple syrup (1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water boiled till sugar dissolves)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

Pinch nutmeg

Vanilla rum, to taste

Place caramel and toasted chopped pecans on separate small shallow plates. Dip the rim of each glass first into caramel and then into chopped pecans to coat.

To make rumchata: Make simple syrup, and let cool. In a pitcher, combine remaining ingredients, adding rum a jigger at a time, to taste.

Combine rumchata, creme de cocao and bourbon in a large cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, and shake until cold, 30 seconds. Pour into martini glasses, and top with a dollop of whipped cream, a whole pecan and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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Anne Braly