Infusing booze may be my new favorite pastime. I’m not talking gummy bear vodka or Jolly Rancher gin or whatever one might find appropriate to soak in rum. A few weeks ago, I set out to make apple-infused brandy with freshly sliced Honeycrisps and Granny Smiths, cinnamon sticks, cloves, sugar, and some E&J. After letting it stew for about a week and a half, I gave the concoction a taste. The verdict? WHOA VERY SWEET. But also, Wow, this tastes like a grown-up, sophisticated version of an apple pie shot.
I strained the apple brandy through a sieve, grudgingly discarding all but a few of the apple slices. I munched a couple of them and they were tasty, but the side effect was some serious dry mouth—not worth it. The strained apple brandy, on the other hand, was totally worth the minimal effort and 10–11 days of patience. The only change I’d make would be to cut the sugar down a bit. It calls for 2 cups of sugar to 750mL of brandy, but I think I’d be safe using 1.5 or even just 1 cup next time. If all infusing is this simple and delicious, you can expect to see more fresh fruit, veggie, herb, and/or spice infused liquor on this blog in the future.
As for what to do with the apple brandy, it really depends on what you’re in the mood for. You can drink it on its own for a sweet autumnal treat, but I prefer to mix it with something with a little more bite. I think it’d be great with Four Roses bourbon, but the Rittenhouse Rye I had on hand did the trick well enough.
Apple Brandy and Rye Cocktail
- 2 ounces homemade apple brandy
- 2 ounces whiskey
- Juice of one lemon wedge
- Dash of Angostura bitters
- Apple chip to garnish
To assemble: Pour the apple brandy and whiskey over ice in a mixing glass. Squeeze in the lemon and add a dash of bitters. Stir until chilled and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an apple chip.
The apple chips are so simple to make, and the added cinnamon sprinkled on top really adds to the aroma of the drink. Cheers and happy freezing fall!