All this month, The Incline has been highlighting some of the best holiday sweets and spirits in Pittsburgh. Check back here for two more next week. | First up: Cookies. You didn't win the Lawrenceville cookie tour's Cookie Cup, but you can bake cookies like you did. Una Biologicals owner Jessica Wilson Graves served 25 types of cookies during the tour and baked 220 dozen before running out. The key, she said, is not to get too fancy. She has another secret: the recipe for her chocolate gingerbread cookies is from Food & Wine.
When you think Wigle, you probably think whiskey. But this year's holiday offerings show the range and diversity of spirits that the distillery is producing. That includes the Quaker Strength whiskey, Fatto A Mano Grappa and Northern Exposure whiskey. Need a last-minute gift? The distillery's Strip District location will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today.
Sarris Candies in Canonsburg churns out thousands of chocolate covered pretzels for Christmas. A dozen of the shop's 300 peak-season employees work just on the pretzel machine between Sept. 1 and Easter. “Everyone loves the sweet and salty … and the crunch,” Athena Sarris told The Incline. Watch this behind-the-scenes look at how these delicious treats are made.
Sufganiyot (pronounced “Sof-gen-yoat”) are Israeli jelly doughnuts eaten during The Festival of Lights, which starts tonight and goes until Jan. 1. “Our doughnuts are more baked than fried," said Saul Markovic, co-owner of Murray Avenue Kosher. "But really, any jelly doughnut will do." Murray Avenue Kosher gets its Sufganiyot from bakeries in Cleveland and Brooklyn. You can also find kosher bakery creations at Squirrel Hill's Giant Eagle.
Eggnog is "the ultimate refreshment for the wintertime," William Schneider, president of Schneider’s Dairy, told The Incline. It's even better when you add a kick to it. "You can use just about anything you want, from bourbons and whiskeys to all types of rum and liqueurs, even wine," he said. "You can also add your own favorite flavors like orange, berry, coconut, and peppermint." Perhaps even better: Eggnog can also be used to make pancakes. Check out a recipe here.
Patrick “Pittsburgh Pat” Madden, a bartender at Max’s Allegheny Tavern in Deutschtown, showed The Incline how to make Spanish Coffee. You need a snifter, FIRE, Brandy, Kahlúa, raw sugar, coffee, heavy whipping cream, Grand Marnier and more Brandy. “This is a big, winter drink. One of these is enough,” he said and suggests pairing the drink with a biscotti.
Yes, Clark Griswold would be so proud. These are, after all, “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation"-themed drinks from The Commoner. They include Aunt Bethany’s Jello (Shots), which are served with a fork, and S#!T*R’s Full!, which features Plantation Dark Rum, orange marmalade, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout and nutmeg meringue. These drinks are only available through Christmas Day.
‘Tis the season to be jolly. And while they lack the ABV to be considered spirits, these local brews can probably help you find that Christmas spirit. East End Brewing Company’s Snow Melt was endorsed by Mayor Bill Peduto (who served it as his reelection party); Penn Brewery’s St. Nikolaus Bock Bier is an award-winning, delicious Christmas beer; and Rivertowne’s Rudolph’s Red isn't available at the brewery but is worth seeking out.