I usually get my best cocktail ideas at completely inappropriate times.  Walking home from the gym on Sunday I remembered a Perfect Manhattan with a couple dashes of cinnamon syrup that Chris, at New Heights, used to be fond of.  It was one of those uncommon memories with a strong sensory component, so I started thinking about recreating and up-souping the drink.

The problem was that my vision went through the rhetorical yellow wood.  Down one path, I had a sweet, rich, brown drink with a cinnamon backbone.  The other led to a drink based on the sharp, Calvados-ish Clear Creek Apple Brandy, with the cinnamon submerged behind apple and fresh notes.

Then I decided to do both.

Hudson Valley Cocktail

  • 2 oz Tuthilltown Roggen’s Rum
  • 1 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth
  • 4 dashes cinnamon tincture
  • 2 dashes Bittermens’ Mole Xocolatl Bitters
    Stir with ice, garnish with an orange zest.

I’ve said it before, but I really like Roggen’s Rum.  I’m going to be sad when this bottle is gone.  This was a fun variation on a Manhattan, which I’ve moved upstate to the location of the Tuthilltown distillery.  Rich and delicious, but strangely refreshing, without the weight of a whiskey to drag it down.

Willamette Valley Cocktail

  • 2 oz Clear Creek Apple Brandy (a Calvados could be subbed, but not anything by Laird’s)
  • 1 oz Dolin Blanc
  • 2 dashes cinnamon tincture
  • 2 dashes Scrappy’s Lavender Bitters
    Stir with ice, garnish with a cherry.

Something spoke to me as I was working on making the apple version of my cinnamon-inflected cocktail, telling me that lavender and cinnamon would be a fantastic combination.  It was such a weird idea that I was compelled to at least consider it, and boy was I glad I did.  Talk about synergistic aroma combinations: the citrus from the white vermouth, the green esters from the apple brandy, the warm burn of the cinnamon, and the soapy floral notes of lavender combine to make, well, something that I can’t name.  I’ll work on the the name for it and get back to you.

I was especially pleased to be using the (delicious) Clear Creek Apple Brandy, since it allowed me to make this whole exercise valley-themed.  Now that is serendipity.