So, here we are, at my sister's house for the holidays. Shortly after we arrive, she says, "Now, let's work on a theme cocktail for the holiday." Without realizing it, we had been having theme cocktails every year: pomegranate cosmos, Dark and Stormies, Bert of Paradises...
She had a recipe for a rum/brandy/cider based drink, but I'm only using it as a starting point. I picked up a bottle of Laird's Applejack (quite nice - just a whiff of apple in the fragrance) and some Allen's 100-proof ginger brandy (kind of nasty, and weak on the ginger). We also got some ginger beer for Dark and Stormies. We don't have any cider - yet.
Laird's and ginger beer is pretty good. With Allen's, it is less good.
This is a post in progress. I'll update it as we taste and try. If you have any suggestions, or fears for our sanity/sobriety, please post.
Update: Well, we didn't get far in this direction. We went to The Boston Shaker, a cocktail gear shop in Davis Square, Somerville MA. We browsed their extensive selection of bitters (including two locally made chocolate bitters - chocolate and xocolatl mole), but in the end, bought a bottle a Trader Tiki's Passion Fruit syrup. They included a recipe for Pieces of Eight:
1/2 oz. lime juice
1-1/2 oz. lemon juice
1-1/2 oz. Passion Fruit syrup
1-1/2 oz. rum