Ahhhhh . . . There’s a nip in the air and the leaves are starting to change color and drop to the ground. The night descends earlier (or is it faster) and the grip of winter is just around the corner.
It isn’t a secret that autumn is my favorite season. I love the cold air and early evenings. There is nothing better than curling up on the couch under a warm blanket on a cold day watching hockey, football, or hell, even reading a cocktail tome.
But another reason I love the fall is that it is my favorite cocktail season. Tiki drinks and refreshing gin cocktails are replaced with whisk(e)ies and bitter amaros. Pineapple and coconut are replaced with apple and cherry. Limes are supplanted by lemons as the citrus of majority in my fridge.
I mention apples and cherries in particular because I love playing with those flavors this time of year. I love mixing with calvados, Applejack, or maybe some Leopold Brothers apple whiskey or apple liqueur. Bringing some cherry to the party may come from Cherry Herring, maraschino, kirschwasser, or my latest toy, Maurin Quina.
Maurin Quina is a liqueur with cherries, bitter almond and quinine. It isn’t very sweet but has a fantastic delicately bitter cherry flavor.
Another thing I love to mix with is apple cider. We had an apple press growing up and every fall made our own fresh-pressed apple cider. It was fantastic! Unfortunately you can only find pasteurized cider for sale nowadays. But if you own a juicer, you can make your own! Lately I’ve been boiling apple cider down into a thick concentrated syrup. Amazingly, along with the concentrated appleness, it develops an amazing tartness. This really comes in handy it you don’t want to add lemon, but need that acidity to balance out your cocktail. To make it, simply boil down apple cider until it has reduced by 75%.
I decided I wanted to play with the cider syrup and thought it would play very nicely with scotch. So I pulled out my new bottle of Great King Street blended scotch from Compass Box and set to work. This is what I came up with:
1.5 oz blended Scotch
.5 oz cider syrup
.25 oz honey syrup (2 parts honey & 1 part water)
1 barspoon pimento dram
1 dash Whiskey Barrel Bitters
Shake & double strain into a cocktail glass rinsed with a smokey scotch. (I used Peat Monster.) Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Smokey, apple-y, sweet & tart, this is a great autumn cocktail if I do say so myself.
What do you like to drink when fall arrives? Leave a comment and let us know!
PS. Scofflaw’s Den celebrated it’s fourth birthday earlier this month. We thank all of our readers for sticking with us and we plan on providing a lot more content and recipes for you to enjoy for at least another four years. -Marshall