Warmer Uppers Served Cold

The use of mulling spices and cider typically calls to mind thoughts of some kind of fall or winter warmer-upper, steeped and served still steaming. At Nage in Washington, DC, however, mixologist Galen Johnson contemplated the restaurant’s new cooler weather menu, and created a tantalizing tipple that speaks to the chilly season yet is sipped on the rocks.

Johnson starts with apple cider slowly simmered with roasted plums, rum and red wine, to which he adds spiced rum and house made orange and tarragon bitters. He floats Brut Champagne on top, serves the drink in a rocks glass, and tops it off with an apple peel rosette garnish. The result is a sweet, spicy and fruity concoction that evokes sweater weather, but more easily pairs with food than warmer sips. Johnson likes to serve it alongside Nage’s Smoked Acorn Squash and Apple Soup with Maple Marshmallows, but he believes it can work with any dish that has an autumnal flair.

The drink’s name is whimsical with a dash of innuendo: Eve’s Plumb Rocked Adam’s Apple, a nod to Johnson’s favorite actress on the Brady Bunch. “I guess I always felt a little Jan Brady at heart, and it’s about time that she got some actual credit,” he explains.

Johnson says Nage’s patrons have been thrilled with the cocktail, necessitating lots of time coaxing flavor from the ingredients in his trusty stockpot, and mulling over his cocktail philosophy: “Be fearless. Be inventive. Be consistent.”

Eve’s Plumb Rocked Adam’s Apple
Courtesy of Galen Johnson, Nage, Washington, DC
Makes 1 drink

4 leaves of fresh tarragon
2 splashes of bitters (Johnson makes his own with 6 leaves of tarragon, 3 orange wheels, lemon grass and honey. Or substitute commercially made orange bitters.)
2 oz. apple/plum cider (see recipe below)
2 oz. Captain Morgans’ Spiced Rum
1 oz. Brut Champagne

Muddle tarragon and bitters in a rocks glass.  Add ice, juices, and rum and shake vigorously. Add to glass.  Float the champagne on top, garnish with apple peel rosette and serve.

Apple/Plum Cider
Courtesy of Galen Johnson, Nage, Washington, DC
Makes about 1 gallon

1 gallon apple juice
Mulling spices
8 plums, pitted and cut into cubes
3 slivers peeled ginger
½ bottle of red wine
1 cup of rum

Pour apple cider into large stockpot. Add mulling spices and simmer on as low a heat as possible. Add plums to roasting pan, drizzle with honey. Bake in a 250 degree oven until the plums are tender, sweet and fragrant. Add them to the cider, along with the ginger, red wine and rum. Keep the heat as low as possible and let cook for 7 hours.
Kelly Magyarics is a wine educator and writer in the Washington, DC area. She can be reached through her website, www.trywine.net.

Published on December 22, 2008
Topics: Cocktail Recipes, Rum