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This has been one of my favorite food and beverage pairings – the smoky rye flavor of the particular bourbon I used was a wonderful compliment for the smoked salmon on rye appetizer.
It was a fun evening of food and friends, and although we haven’t yet had the chance to invite our guests to return, I have repeated the cocktail, it was so tasty and delicious.


1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
2 vanilla beans split lengthwise
1 teaspoon orange bitters
1 orange
1/2 cup bourbon
2 maraschino cherries

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add the vanilla beans, let them steep for 15 minutes. Scrape the seeds out of the beans and leave them in the syrup, remove the bean. Cool simple syrup.
Place a piece of orange peel and 1/2 teaspoon bitters in each of 2 old fashioned glasses. Add 1 tablespoon simple syrup and juice of 1/2 orange to each glass. Fill glasses with ice. Pour 1/4 cup bourbon over ice in each glass, stir to blend. Garnish with a cherry.
Serves 2.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2008


4 ounces of cream cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
8 ounces smoked salmon, finely chopped
12 slices of mini rye bread

Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, dill and smoked salmon. Refrigerate until ready to use. With a 1/2 inch cutter, cut out a circle from each slice of bread. Toast them in a 325 degree oven until crisp.
Put a dollop of the smoked salmon mixture on each toast round and garnish with a bit of dill and caviar if desired.

Recipe adapted from The Morning News, December 2004