My good friend, graphic designer, and Connecticut fanatic, Nick Fabiani, asked me to design a Connecticut-themed cocktail for his housewarming party. I felt like this was a good excuse to explore new flavors and techniques I hadn’t employed yet, so this weekend I went to work.
Connecticut also brings to mind certain autumnal feelings for me. The leaf peeping and apple picking kind. Thing is, apple is a hard flavor to get into a cocktail. It’s not sweet enough to use as a syrup and not acidic enough to use as a citrus.
Dave Arnold has a section in Liquid Intelligence about his ongoing experiments with apples. If you juice an apple and mix it with a high-proof spirit, the pectin in the juice aggregates, pulling together the apple solids and making them easy to strain out.
The Drink of Steady Habits
1.5 oz Fortified apple juice
.75 oz Nutmeg syrup
.75 oz Lemon juice
I spent Saturday morning trying apples at my farmer’s market. The variety I picked out is not very acidic, but is sweet and has an almost spiced apple flavor.
I tried this method with Lemon Hart 151 and Everclear. The Everclear concoction came out a beautiful pale pink, but it turns out Everclear has a strong flavor of what I can only describe as stale corn. The apple juice was not strong enough to overcome it, and I ended up throwing it out.
The Lemon Hart 151, however, played beautifully with the juice. You definitely still taste the rum, but it enhances and is enhanced by the spiced apple flavor.
Nutmeg syrup added some sweetness and backbone to the drink, and lemon juice supplied the acidity apples lacked. A couple drops of saline solution really made the flavors pop.