Measure & Stir

A Craft Cocktail Blog for the Home Bartender that Focuses on Original Creations Drawn from Culinary Inspiration.


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Acid Trip #3: Caramel, Apple, Fennel

appleAcidTrip

Today let us consider the apple, whose dominant acid content, like the grape, is malic. The thought process that drove this drink was very similar to that of the Peanut Butter Jelly Time. In both drinks, I have taken a classic flavor pairing which would ordinarily be cloying in a drink, and balanced its sweetness with malic acid. The standard procedure for this type of drink would adulterate the purity of the pairing with lemon juice, but with malic acid, we can find balance by adjusting a sourness which is already found in one of the key elements of the pairing.

Earlier this week, I had a drink made with tarragon and apple juice, and yet all I could taste was gin and lemon. This is a common problem. I wanted to make an apple drink that tastes strongly of apples, but which would taste more like summer than autumn, and to that end, I pursued a staple of the summer county fair, the caramel apple.

appleAcidTrip2

Acid Trip #3
2 oz Fresh-Pressed Apple Juice (1 oz Gala, 1 oz Granny Smith)
1 oz Demerara Rum (El Dorado 12)
.75 oz Rum Caramel Sauce*
.5 oz Vodka (Tito’s)
.25 tsp Powdered Malic Acid
Dash of Simple Syrup
Dash of Barkeep Chinese Bitters
Dash of Absinthe
Shake over ice and strain into a coupe. Garnish with a fan of thinly sliced apples and a try-hard caramel drizzle.

I made a caramel sauce using some Barbados rum that is probably better for cooking than drinking, and it adds a layer of toffee and sugar flavor to the already caramel tones of El Dorado 15. Caramel is the juncture for apple and rum, and I also suggest dropping shot of your most caramelly rum into a glass of apple cider. Apple is the juncture for anise and caramel, so that the sugar flows into the apple flows into the herbal flavor of anise.

You can follow this caramel sauce recipe, but swap out the water for your least expensive dark rum.

Chinese five spice bitters threaten to take this into autumn territory, but fortunately the fennel and anise flavor is the loudest, and the cinnamon and clove are mercifully quiet.

Cheers.


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Apple Cider Syrup and Hot Toddy

The weather in Seattle is a hateful old beast, and even in summer, there will be days of gloom and cold. When Seattle decides to spit on me, I take it in stride, and I use the opportunity to make one of these delicately portioned hot toddies. You can make almost any drink a hot one by swapping the usual 1 to 1.5 ounces of cold water from shaking or stirring with 2-3 ounces of boiling hot water, instead.

Just don’t try it with egg drinks, (unless you like drinking scrambled eggs!) and be sure to warm the glass before hand by filling it with hot water. Just as you don’t want to shock your cold drink by pouring it into a warm glass, you don’t want to shock your warm drink by pouring it into a cold vessel.

Of course, some drink recipes make much better toddies than others, but on the whole you will be surprised how many drinks lend themselves to the hot toddy format. For this variation I made a spiced apple syrup by simmering a cup of trader joe’s unfiltered apple juice with a cup of sugar, and I placed several cassia cinnamon sticks in the pot, and half an ounce of cloves. I allowed the whole mixture to simmer for fifteen minutes, to let the flavor of the spices steep into the syrup.

Spiced Apple Syrup

1 Part Unfiltered Apple Juice
1 Part White Sugar
Cinnamon Sticks and Cloves

Simmer all in a sauce pot until the spice flavors are extracted into the syrup and all of the sugar has dissolved. (~15 minutes)

I made a hot toddy out of spiced apple syrup, rye whiskey, and bitters. Lemon juice is a common ingredient in a hot toddy, and a classic recipe would almost certainly have called for lemon, but it is far from necessary.

I also enjoy a variation where, instead of simply boiling water, hot tea is added to the other ingredients. Black tea and bourbon is a very enjoyable combination, and just as you would not skimp on the bourbon, one ought not to skimp on the tea. What would possess you to pour over-steeped Lipton tea into quality bourbon? Next you’ll be telling me you want to add Sprite.

If you decide to go the tea route, always use a high-quality loose leaf tea, and consult this excellent chart to discover the appropriate temperature and duration for steeping.

Apple Hot Toddy

1.5 oz Rye Whiskey (Rittenhouse Rye 100, Bottled in Bond)
.25 oz  Spiced Apple Syrup
Dash of Aromatic Bitters (Angostura)

Combine all ingredients in a teacup and top with 2 oz hot water. Give it a quick stir, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

For those of you who live in hotter parts of the country, I don’t imagine this drink has much appeal at the moment, but just wait. For all two of you reading this from Australia, it might be just the thing!