• Mixology Monday XCII Cocktail: Persephone

    perp5Wow, its been a while since our last post. And we have some good reasons for that…we will fill everyone in over the next few months. Let’s just say that our interest in cocktails is going to a whole new level, and a larger audience than our ever-patient family and friends.

    mxmologoRegardless, we never tire of experimenting with cocktails, so it is good to get back into the swing with Mixology Monday. We are big fans of this month’s theme of “apples” from Fred Yarm of the grandaddy of all cocktail blogs, Cocktail Virgin Slut. (Fred, it looks like we are following in your footsteps a bit). So here is the breakdown of the theme:

    Apples have been an American booze staple with Johnny Appleseed as its symbolic hero. John Chapman became that legend by planting apple tree nurseries across the northern Appalachia and the Midwest. He did not choose grafting techniques to reproduce sweet edible ones, but bred them to make sour apples perfect for cider and applejack. Michael Pollan inThe Botany of Desire proclaimed, “Really, what Johnny Appleseed was doing and the reason he was welcome in every cabin in Ohio and Indiana was he was bringing the gift of alcohol to the frontier. He was our American Dionysus.” Apple products began to enter into the mixed drink literature in the 19th century with the Stone Fence appearing in Jerry Thomas’ Bartender Guide and got quite refined by the end of the century such as the Widow’s Kiss in George Kappeler’s Modern American Drinks. Indeed, apples have found their way into modern cocktails via Calvados, applejack, sparkling and still cider, apple butter, and muddled apple.

    perpGreat theme, and we immediately knew that we would be doing an applejack cocktail. Applejack (American apple brandy) was once a staple booze in American mixology and is one of our favorite classic cocktail ingredients. Laird’s Bonded is always in our bar and the basis for our favorite riff on the Old Fashioned (applejack, rye, sugar, tiki bitters or allspice dram). But since this is Mixology Monday, we looked for something new to try.

    perp2We immediately went to the PDT Cocktail Book, as it features a number of applejack cocktails, and quickly found the Persephone. Besides our enjoyment of the mythological name (we are geeks for mythology here at the Farm), the Persephone cocktail uses vermouth along with the basic ingredients of a sour. One of our all-time favorite cocktails, the Scofflaw, uses this construct (albeit with dry, rather than sweet vermouth)- so we decided to give Persephone a try.perp1

    perp3Persephone didn’t disappoint. A combination of applejack, sloe gin, sweet vermouth, lemon and simple syrup, Persephone had a dry start from the applejack before you get to the sweet sloe gin, lemon and sugar, but finishes with a delightful herbal and almost sarsaparilla note from the vermouth. The original recipe suggests Dolin vermouth, but we used Carpano Antica for extra depth and that “rooty” flavor. We have since tried this cocktail with the Dolin- it is smoother and a bit sweeter, but also excellent. Your choice, we think you will be happy either way. Continue reading

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  • Weekly Cocktail #59: The Honeymoon…..And The Annulment

    The Honeymoon Cocktail.

    The Honeymoon Cocktail.

    Fall is here and it is time to get back to our weekly cocktails. And when we think autumn cocktails, we tend to look towards apples and Applejack, America’s apple brandy. We are big fans of Laird’s Bonded Applejack, with its dry apple flavor and strong (100 proof), spirituous core. Landing somewhere between the lighter spirits (gin, tequila) and darker spirits (bourbon, rye), Applejack is a natural for cocktails, as you can build a light, bright cocktail, or a dark, heavy drink, simply by playing with a few ingredients.hmoon4

    hmoon2For a lighter Applejack drink we really enjoy the Honeymoon cocktail. A simple combination of Applejack (or Calvados, that French stuff), Cointreau, Benedictine and lemon juice. At first you might think this is a sweet drink, but with 2 ounces of Applejack and a light hand with the other ingredients, you get a strong boozy core accented by citrus and then spice from the Benedictine. There is more here than you would expect, and it is certainly better than your average “sour”.

    hmoon8hmoon5Originally a pre-prohibition cocktail, the Honeymoon has been discovered, forgotten and rediscovered a few different times. And cocktail writers from Jim Meehan to Ted Haigh to Fred Yarm all sing its praises for a reason, it is a delightful sip. And certainly a pleasant intro to Applejack and a good reason to get a bottle. Oh, and it’s inexpensive, too….

    hmoon3Along with being a good sip, the Honeymoon is a fun drink to play with. And one of our experiments gave us our next drink, the Annulment. One of our creations, the Annulment keeps the basics of the Honeymoon, but adds to the Benedictine’s slight herbal, bitter and spice notes through the use of Amaro and bitters. We basically doubled down on the heavier flavors.

    The Annulment Cocktail.

    The Annulment Cocktail.

    For the Annulment, we add a splash of Averna, an amaro known for sweet, herbal, bitter and spice flavors, and both Angostura and Tiki bitters for depth and added spice. What you get is an entirely different drink. Where the Honeymoon is light and bright, The Annulment is darker and spicier, with a clear bitter edge that reminds us of the tannic edge of apple skins. If you like spiced apple cider, you will enjoy the Annulment. As it is we enjoy both the Honeymoon and the Annulment to follow…hmoon6

    The Honeymoon Cocktail:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. Applejack (Laird’s Bonded) or Calvados
    • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/2 oz. Cointreau (or triple-sec)
    • 1/2 oz. Benedictine
    • Lemon twist, for garnish (optional, we omit)

    Assemble:

    1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Garnish with lemon twist, if you like. Serve.

    —–

    The Annulment Cocktail:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 oz. Applejack (Laird’s Bonded) or Calvados
    • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
    • 1/3 oz. Averna
    • 1/3 oz. Cointreau (or triple-sec)
    • 1/3 oz. Benedictine
    • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
    • 2 dashes Bittermens Tiki bitters (or sub more Angostura)

    Assemble:

    1. Combine all the liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until well-chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or coupé. Serve.