Freeport resident Woody Dunham drinking a Second Circle made with Wild Turkey, with a turkey call sitting on the table next to him. Photo by William Dunham

Wild turkey hunting season is in full swing in Maine, inspiring me to pair cocktails with several Maine hunting options.  Please note that these beverages are to be enjoyed after the hunt, not during it.

Let’s start with a Wile E. Coyote, a drink invented when a bartender accidentally used gin instead of rum while making a Coyote Call. Place fresh cilantro and mint in a glass, then add two parts gin, one part fresh lime juice, and one part jalapeno-infused simple syrup.  For the syrup, make a standard simple syrup, then while still warm add one or two halved and seeded jalapenos. Let it infuse for about 90 minutes, then remove the peppers and store the syrup in the fridge for up to five weeks. This syrup is also amazing in a strawberry margarita.

The Silver Fox requires you to dry shake (shake vigorously for a minute with no ice) half an egg white (you might as well double this recipe to make things easier), ½ tablespoon Amaretto, 1 tablespoon orgeat (almond syrup), 1.5 tablespoons fresh lemon and 3 tablespoons of gin. Make sure it’s super-foamy before adding ice and a dash of soda water for a final shake.

Goose hunters are obviously going to have to make something using Grey Goose vodka. For even more obvious reasons, I propose the Pepinos Pistol: one part simple syrup, one part fresh lemon juice, one part Grey Goose La Poire (pear-flavored vodka), two parts apple juice and three parts tequila blanco. Garnish with cucumber.

The Porcupine is the perfect cocktail for a summer gathering (once we’re allowed to gather again). Bring 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary to a boil.  Simmer uncovered until mixture has reduced to about a cup. Strain juice, discarding solids. Cover and chill for at least an hour. In a large punch bowl, combine the strained juice, four 12-ounce bottles of chilled pale ale beer, such as Sierra Nevada, and one bottle of chilled Prosecco.  Serve in glasses garnished with pineapple wedges and rosemary sprigs.

The Salty Raccoon is named after the mascot of Harold’s Cabin, a restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina. A twist on a margarita, it involves 1.5 parts tequila blanco, one part fresh lime juice, and one part rosemary simple syrup. Unlike most simple syrups, this one is made with two parts sugar to one part water. Line the rim of the glass with smoked salt and, if you own a fire extinguisher, garnish with a charred sprig of rosemary.

For ruffed grouse season, you know I’m going to tell you to have some Famous Grouse (a Scottish blended whiskey), right? You can drink it straight or mix it with sparkling apple juice, ginger ale or lemonade (regular or sparkling). I like using the Smoky Black variety to make Old Fashioneds, Manhattans or whiskey sours.

For those of you who enjoy hunting snowshoe hares, I really wanted there to be a cocktail called Snowshoe Hare of the Dog, but sadly there is not. Instead, feel free to wear snowshoes while drinking whatever gave you that hangover.

Personally, I’m using this hunting theme as an excuse to enjoy a Pink Squirrel: one part crème de noyaux (a red-colored almond-flavored liqueur made from stone fruit kernels), one part white (clear) crème de cacao and two parts heavy cream. It’s pink, creamy and delicious!

I’ll end where we began – wild turkeys. You know what to do. If you need help, try a Second Circle: two parts Wild Turkey, one part ruby port and 1 teaspoon of maple syrup. Garnish with a cherry and call it a night.

Angie Bryan is a former diplomat who is enjoying getting acquainted with her new home in Portland, one cocktail at a time.

The Pink Squirrel Photo by Angie Bryan

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