The Hudson cocktail. Courtesy of Northeast Kingdom.
In fall, when overzealous apple-picking excursions and trips to the farmers’ market end with piles of the crunchy fruit overflowing from kitchen bowls, most people make pies, slice them for salads and do lots of fiber-rich snacking. Here’s a tip: Use fresh apples to create fantastic of-the-moment cocktails.
In Brooklyn, the foraging-happy restaurant Northeast Kingdom gets its bushels of apples from owner Paris Smeraldo’s backyard in the Hudson Valley. “Being in New York and not using fresh apples seems criminal,” he says.
Fresh-pressed, unfiltered juice from the apples upgrades The Hudson, a new cocktail on the menu, mixed with ginger beer, Tuthilltown Spirits’ Hudson Baby Bourbon and house-made citrus bitters. The staff’s experience harvesting the apples adds an extra layer of enthusiasm surrounding this particular drink. “In good food and in seasonal food there should be a fun component as well,” Smeraldo says. “We spend the weekend crushing apples because the staff loves it and we love it.” Here, more bars serving fresh-apple cocktails and some of F&W’s best recipes for making your own.
The Kitchen Boulder, Boulder, Colorado
For this bistro’s Apples & Ginger cocktail, bartenders muddle Gala apple slices with Calvados, lemon juice, ginger liqueur and locally produced CapRock gin, which is distilled in part from apples. Bits of apple come through as it’s strained and served over ice, garnished with a skewered piece of apple, carved out with a melon baller.
Jezebel, New York City
Beverage director Nick Mautone’s quest to track down cocktail ingredients and spirits that fit this restaurant’s kosher status was the subject of a New York Times blog post last summer. This fall, he created the Adam and VeeV, with muddled apples (Gala or Jonagold), slightly bitter VeeV Açai Spirit, applejack and lemon juice. It is shaken over ice and served straight-up.
Rich Table, San Francisco
At this new restaurant, chefs Sarah and Evan Rich (who met while working at New York’s Bouley) serve the Push, Push cocktail: shaken Buffalo Trace bourbon, freshly juiced McIntosh apples, maple syrup, lemon juice and Angostura bitters, strained and served in a rocks glass over one large ice cube.
Shaw’s Tavern, Washington, DC
To make his Apple Mint Julep, bar manager/mixologist Mark Reyburn shakes tart Granny Smith juice with simple syrup, mint and smoky Botanist gin and strains it into a Mason jar full of crushed ice.