So earlier in the week I found myself craving some apple brandy (or at least the blend that is Applejack). It’s been almost 4 years since I last had some, and despite being a little over my current budget I decided to pick some up. After trying a few new brandy cocktails from my recipe book, this one jumped off the page as a good choice for a hot summers day (when it’s still spring).
Like most drinks shaken with pineapple juice the final pour creates it’s own unique frothy garnish. The drink begins with a light and sweet apple aroma, but it is very subtle. For the taste profile it begins with a similar light apple flavor that the aroma presents with, moves to complex pineapple juice on the mid palette, and finishes with the “grain spirits” flavor from the Applejack’s blended component. The finish is really the most complex and re-inviting flavor. Applejack as a whole doesn’t actually contain a ton of apple brandy, and it instead feels almost like a weak whiskey than a complex flavored brandy. I have found that in other recipes that add a little syrup and a little more citrus bring out the apple flavor a lot more, so a variation on this with a half ounce of lemon juice and a half of simple syrup could round out the cocktail a bit more. As is though it’s not a bad cocktail, but it does have room to improve. At the very least it needs 3 dashes of bitters rather than 1.
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6.5/10
Overall Rating 7.2/10
1 1/2 oz Applejack (or other apple brandy)
1 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
Dash of Lemon Juice (1 fresh wedge)
Dash of Aromatic Bitters
Shake all with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, or over ice in a rocks glass.
“You don’t know jack!”
It’s been quite a while since I featured a drink on the blog here, but this one I felt was classy enough that I just had to review it! With the 3 primary ingredients being far from cheap, before you even mix this it’s a drink of a very different caliber.
You’ll start with a strong citrus aroma and a pleasantly “classic” amber color of the drink. The drink starts with a sweet flavor, and slowly moves to warm and herbal, and finishes with a bit of oaky cognac. This a truly classic style drink with a strong bite and a complex set of flavors. The only thing that holds this drink back is my use of a cheaper VS Cognac. With an older aged variety, this drink could become even better!
Alcohol Taste Rating: 9/10
Overall Rating: 7/10
Sir Knight Cocktail
1 oz Cognac
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Yellow Chartreuse
Dash Angostura Bitters
Stir all but lemon with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Well it had to have happened sooner or later the first mediocre cocktail of the year. The Simply Crimson just lacks something interesting and tries to replace it with something bitter…and it just doesn’t really deliver. The drink smells a bit like oranges thanks to the Cointreau, but also a bit like a generic brown soft drink which isn’t super inviting. The drink starts sweet and pleasant moves quickly to a orange and cranberry mix, and finishes with a harsh bitter taste that just doesn’t belong at all. It is a drinkable cocktail, but it certainly isn’t one I’d choose to drink (or even make again).
Alcohol Taste Rating: 6/10
Overall Rating: 4/10
1 1/2 oz Cointreau
4 dashes of Bitters
1 1/2 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash Club SodaOrange Slice and Cherry (Garnishes)
Stir Cointreau, bitters, and juice with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, top with club soda.
“Simply… not worth it.”
Today we get our first taste of fall (although the start of the season is still a few weeks off). The apple swizzle highlights a new ingredient in my bar “apple brandy.” Now my recipe for this drink calls for an iced highball glass, although given the small size of the drink I feel anything bigger than a lowball or tumbler will make the drink seem silly and out of place a bit. The drink is characterized by a tan color and smells mildly of apples, but leans closer to a bourbon smell (this could be use of the applejack as it is made primarily with neutral grain spirits). The drink starts on a mild sweet then moves the a slight rum and bitters burn. The apple brandy comes through in a lingering aftertaste which makes you go back for more. If you have some apple brandy around or are thinking of picking some up this season, you may want to give this one a try. Just be sure to go easy on the bitters (or be wise about which ones you use). This is one drink where they can be overpowering. I do wonder how different this drink would be with some cherry bitters to liven up the harvest.
1/2 oz Apple Brandy
1 oz Light Rum
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2-4 Dashes of Aromatic Bitters
1 Teaspoon SugarLime Slice
Straight build over ice in a tumbler. Stir well and garnish with a lime slice.
The John Wayne is a very interesting drink in that it doesn’t really embody the the essence of rugged or western. Instead the drink has a more bitter citrus aroma and more southern presentation. If anything it as a bit of a sandy color thanks to the hues of the ingredients. The drink calls for Angostura Bitters, so to compliment the drink I chose the orange bitters version. The cocktail starts out with a pleasant bitter citrus (standard aromatics might give a slightly different flavor) and ends with a full bourbon flavor. It’s a good slow sipper drink, but I do feel it might be more well rounded with a little extra OJ.
Alcohol Rating: 6-7/10
Overall Rating: 6.5/10
Make it Again? Yes, but try some variations.
The John Wayne
2 oz Bourbon
1/2 oz Amaretto
2-3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
1/4 oz Orange Juice
Shake and strain ingredients into a chilled cocktail glass. Float an orange slice on top.
~Not manly, but a little sandy
Today’s cocktail is one that I’ve been sitting on for quite a while, but have still wanted to make. The “East India” is mildly fruity and mildly bitter. I’m always impress at pineapple centered drinks as well as the froth up in a similar way that cream or milk does in desert style drinks. While the drink calls for Brandy, my bar isn’t stalked with the standard, but instead I have both apricot and blackberry brandies. Given the pineapple flavor I chose my apricot as I imagined it to be the best possible complement. Although given the name of the drink I’m surprised I wasn’t using my Bombay Dry Gin (maybe next time). I also think that Orange Bitters might have been a better choice here.
The drink starts sweet with a light bitter in there as well, but as it reaches the back of your tongue and throat you get more of the alcohol. While I’m not certain that the flavors present were due more to the original recipe or my use of Apricot Brandy, the unique complexity of this drink has certainly made me want to try it again. I also feel like the lemon twist could have been more dominant if there was a dash of lemon juice in the mix as well, but then again I don’t think this drink even needs a sour element.
Alcohol Rating: 3-4 of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 (with possible variations)
Worth Making Again? Yes
1 1/2 oz Brandy (Apricot Brandy Used)
3/4 oz Cointreau (Triple Sec Used)
2-3 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
2 oz Pineapple Juice
Shake and Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist
Still not sure where the “India” is in this drink…
Today’s cocktail of the week is a mellow classic that tastes great shaken and poured in a cocktail glass, or straight built in a rocks glass with ice.
1 1/2 oz Canadian Whiskey
1/2 oz Triple Sec
2 Dashes of Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz sweet ‘n’ sour
Shake and Strain Into a Cocktail Glass OR Straight Build in an ice filled tumbler.