Apples have been an American booze staple with Johnny Appleseed as its symbolic hero.
With Repeal Day just passed, this is a perfect theme in our opinions, tasty and able to provide a base for cocktails from light and elegant to rustic and warming. With that in mind, we pulled out several of our apple based spirits and started experimenting.
Christa was interested in using apple eau de vie, which has fresh, bright apple flavor. After trying a number of combinations, we found it worked best with other light, clean flavors. It tasted great with aged spirits like cognac, but lost the brightness that made it stand out. Then we tried it with Licor 43 and really liked the delicate vanilla and touch of richness that it added, but the drink still needed balance. Dry vermouth added some herbal notes and acidity, and bitters rounded out things out with bitterness and some welcome spice. Happy with that flavor profile, we added a lemon twist for a bit more brightness and called it good.
- 2 oz apple eau de vie
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth
- 1/3 oz Licor 43
- 1 dash Boker’s bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a glass. Garnish with a lemon twist. Cheers!
- Nose: Dried and fresh apple, lemon, white wine, hints of nutmeg and sassafras.
- Palate: Sassafras right on the front, followed by cooked apple and spiced pastry cream (vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon). Fresh apple and herbaceous wine notes on the mid-palate. Finish is nice and dry with more apple, lemon peel, and some bitter notes.
For our second cocktail Shaun wanted to experiment with the Amaro Montenegro. He doesn’t remember what gave him that wild hair ;), however it worked rather nicely with the barrel aged notes of the apple brandy. The floral components of the amaro also paired well with the apple flavors of the brandy. Plus Christa loves violet notes in a drink. So we had a good start with the apple brandy and Amaro Montenegro, but the drink needed something more. We decided to try some hard cider as a sparkling component, which definitely picked things up but there was still a need for more acidity and complexity. A splash of lemon juice and a dash of Angostura to the rescue. With that we have the:
- 1 1/2 apple brandy
- 1 oz Amaro Montenegro
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
- 2 oz hard apple cider
Shake first 4 ingredients with ice. Strain into a glass. Top with apple cider.
- Nose: Funky barrel must, sandalwood, acidic carbonated apple, hint of molasses, little bit of Angostura spice.
- Palate: Lemon and sweet-tart apple to start. Rich floral notes of primarily gentian and violet on the mid-palate, supported by mild mint. Barrel must, dry pithy apple, slight earthy, iron-y molasses on the finish. Angostura spice underpinning the whole cocktail.
We both love apples in pretty much any form we can get them, so this challenge was pretty much a gimme 🙂 Thanks again to Fred for coming up with such a lovely broad canvas to work with this time.