The arrival of fall ushers in sweater weather, hayrides and afternoons at the local orchard for the first crop of the season. But don’t reserve all the apples for pies, cobblers and crisps. Sink your teeth into these juicy libations inspired by autumn’s signature fruit.
Sparkling Cinnamon Apple Cocktail
Beginning this fall and continuing through the holiday season, guests of Morton’s The Steakhouse’s entire 71 locations can order a seasonal cocktail that’s a little bit sweet, a little bit spicy and so very quaffable. Sara Fasolino, beverage systems manager of the Chicago-based restaurant group, combines the bubbles of Prosecco and apple Lambic beer, adds a touch of honey syrup and a latte-esque topper and rims the glass with cinnamon and sugar. Since the drink is not overly sweet, she deems it perfect both as an apéritif as well as a liquid dessert.
Sparkling Cinnamon Apple
Courtesy of Morton’s The Steakhouse
½ ounce Monin honey syrup (for homemade: mix equal parts honey and warm water and stir to combine)
4 ounces Lunetta Prosecco
2 ounces Lindemans Pomme lambic beer
2 ounces homemade whipped cream (see recipe below)
Cinnamon-sugar (1 tablespoon ground cinnamon mixed with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar), for rimming and dusting
Dip a chilled Champagne flute into the honey syrup to coat the edge of the glass, and dip the rim of the glass into the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Pour honey syrup, Prosecco and Lambic into a shaker with ice. Stir 10 times and strain into the Champagne flute. Top with the whipped cream and dust with the remaining cinnamon-sugar.
Homemade Whipped Cream
4 ounces heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon sugar
1 dash vanilla extract
Pour all ingredients into a shaker. Shake vigorously until the mixture resembles frothed milk. Refrigerate and re-shake as needed. Makes 6 toppings.
Absolut Vodka Orient Apple
Reminiscent of the flavor of a juicy green apple with the added snap of ginger, Absolut Vodka Orient Apple mixes effortlessly with a wide variety of juices and sodas. Pack a bottle for your next tailgate party to mix with ginger beer or apple cider; or whip up a take on the sour, with ginger infused simple syrup and lemon juice. The Vermont Cocktail showcases another fall ingredient, fresh maple syrup, whose sweetness is tempered by a few dashes of bitters and an orange zest garnish.
Absolut Orient Apple Vermont Cocktail
Courtesy of Absolut Vodka
2 ounces Absolut Orient Apple Vodka
1–2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 dashes bitters
Orange zest, for garnish
Add all the ingredients except the garnish to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with orange zest.
ZU Bison Grass Vodka
The tradition of Zubrówka vodka, infused with the grass on which bison feed, dates back to the 8th century. ZU Vodka uses a centuries old Polish recipe—the resultant beverage has notes of grass and herbs and a hint of vanilla. The Polish mix Zubrówka with unfiltered apple juice in the Szarlotka cocktail (which roughly translates to “apple pie”), but you can also use apple cider for extra texture and depth of flavor. “This drink is so popular because the flavor profile of the apple teases out ZU Vodka’s spicy notes,” says Brand Ambassador Daniel Undhammar. “The flavors of jasmine, caramel, almond, vanilla, chamomile, and even hay added to apple juice or cider creates liquid apple pie.”
1½ ounces ZU Vodka
½ ounce unfiltered apple juice (or apple cider)
Bison grass blade or apple slice, for garnish
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the vodka and apple juice or cider. Stir to combine. Garnish with a blade of bison grass or apple slice.
France’s Normandy region produces this complex, apple cider-based brandy that can be made from over two hundred varieties of apples, which must be aged in oak for at least two years. Look for Pays d’Auge on the label for the highest quality bottles; those listed as hailing from Domfrantais also contain 30% pear cider. The classic Calvados Cocktail shows the spirit’s affinity for citrus by mixing it with orange juice, bitters and liqueur. Calvados is also lovely by itself in a snifter on a crisp fall evening in front of a fire.
1½ ounces Calvados
1½ ounces fresh orange juice
¾ ounce Cointreau
2 dashes orange bitters
Orange peel, for garnish
Add all the ingredients except the garnish to a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.