1 1/2 oz Apple Brandy [Short Path Distillery]
1/2 oz Suze
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz St. Germain [St. Elder]
Few dashes Fancy Tony’s barrel aged citrus bitters
Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon twist.
A while back while surfing instagram, I tagged a drink called the Kirkwood from Miguel’s @migsology feed (who in turn got it from Nic @ntitz). Anyway, it was an interesting combo of Rye, Punt e Mes, Cynar, and St. Germain. Since I didn’t have any Cynar at the time, I broke it down into its parts (base, fortified wine, amaro, sweet liquer) and then built it back up.
I just acquired a bottle of Apple Brandy from Short Path Distillery, so that was my base. For the Amaro, I wanted something that had a similar savory/vegetal bent to Cynar, but also wanted to bring in some citrus to compliment the apples. Suze fit the bill nicely, as its woodsy spices are undercut by grapefruit notes. At this point, I wanted to stay somewhat true to my inspiration, so left the Punt e Mes an St. Germain as is.
When I first made it, I was pleasantly surprised how well these flavors got along, so I captured it in my cocktail journal. It sat there for a while, not even sure if I made it a second time, until last weekend. On Friday, I had the pleasure of attending a small event where I met the Lisa Laird Dunn, VP (and 9th generation Laird!) of Laird and Company. They have been producing Applejack/Apple Brandy for over 200 years, and Lisa was in Boston to talk about the launch of their newest product, an 86 proof straight Applejack.
We were at Yvonne’s, where the bartenders made 2 different cocktails using the new offering, plus one using the 100 proof Bottled in Bond Apple Brandy. The Right Hand Woman featured BiB apple brandy, bourbon, and Suze. The first sip immediately reminded me how delicious apple brandy and Suze are together, and I couldn’t wait to get home and make my drink with those two spirits. It was just as good the second time around.
Suze and apples dominate the nose. Soft melon notes lurk behind. The sip has even more fruit, as apples and citrus form a tasty alliance. Bitterness from the suze and punt e mes cuts through, and the only sweetness comes from the St. Germain. This is a stiff drink for sure, but still very drinkable. The finish has more bitterness and spice, followed by a final wave of apply goodness.
Its always fun to see an odd pairing I threw together at home show up out in the wild, especially when the drinks are very different, but tasty nonetheless. If I wasn’t already on the Apple Brandy train after grabbing Short Path’s bottle, an evening with Laird and Co. definitely seals it. This stuff is now a staple in my bar, and I can’t wait to grab something from Laird’s and do a taste test when my Short Path bottle is almost done.