1 oz Apple Cider
1 oz Cognac [Camus VSOP]
1/2 oz Becherovka
1/2 oz Honey Liqueur [Barenjager]
Shake with ice. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with apple slice (freshly gathered leaves optional).
First off, apologies for the extended radio silence. I’v admittedly be focusing more on the instagram stuff, but I figure it’s time to get back to where it all started. It may not be on a weekly cadence, but my plan is to recommit to firing off more blog posts for a while.
Now, with that out of the way – let me tell you about Fall. It’s hands down one of my favorite things about living in New England. The foliage certainly helps matters, but Fall in New England just feels right. Besides the leaf peeping, my other favorite Fall activity is drinking apple cider. It fits the season so perfectly – fruity, brisk, and warming all at the same time. We literally go through gallons at my house between Sept and Dec. For some reason though, whenever I go to make a drink with it, I’m left a bit wanting.
The biggest challenge I face is the cider always seems to get lost amongst the spirits. Even if I use a healthy amount, it’s never quite as cidery as I envision. I tried to build this drink with that problem in mind, and started with the base spirit. Finding something that complimented the cider but didn’t overpower it was the key. Whiskey is a classic choice, but comes on a little to strong. I wanted to stick with a brown spirit (natch), and turned my attention to Cognac. It’s got the same woodsy characteristics from the barrel, but an overall lighter touch. To round out the drink, I kept things simple. Becherovka for a hit of cinnamon, and Barenjager to tap into those Rosh Hoshana vibes.
The Leaf Blower was a cider-forward success. Cognac graciously stuck to its costarring role, bringing out the Fall-iest of flavors in the cider while giving the drink its bite. Spicy, bitter Becherovka kept the Barenjager from tipping the scales too far into sweetness. And both of those bottles have plenty of flavors that fall into the classic apple pairing category.
My main takeaway is not to forget about cognac when it comes to spiking my cider. It’s boozy backbone, yet soft disposition let the cider do its thing. I’ll have to mix in some other supporting flavors to really test this hypothesis, but that is research I’m more than willing to do.