It’s been so long, and I have so many excuses.  Let’s skip that part and move on to drinking.

Vermont, as many people know, is an old orchard state.  Many small landholders have planted small orchards over the centuries, and because apple trees are hardy and long-lived, there are still feral apple trees all over the place.  My adviser actually owns an old hobby orchard, which has something like 200 trees and 80 varieties of apples.  Once the apples start showing up in the market, you just know fall isn’t far behind.  And, indeed, we’ve had rain and temperatures in the 50s all day.  Nice weather is for flatlanders, I guess?

I picked up a jug of my adviser’s cider when I visited her last weekend.  It’s tart, sweet, and unpasteurized, so I feel it’s my duty to add enough alcohol to kill any potential pathogens (ask my father sometime about fresh cider in France).  Last year I published a recipe called the Pomme de Vert, mostly in response to a bad cocktail column in the Burlington Free Press.  We hadn’t heard from Benji all summer, but I’m pleased to report that he’s back at it again, this time with something that actually uses cider.  Unfortunately, it’s old news that the appletini is dead and buried.  And, really, butterscotch schnapps are just a thing in everyone’s past, right?  Right?

So, instead, here’s another cider recipe that actually plays to the strengths of cider, a seasonal, complex, variable product.  As well as cider, it has some maple syrup, making it one of the local-est cocktails I’ve ever made.  Now if only someone would send me a bottle of WhistlePig, we could really get this thing rolling…

The Foliage Cocktail (mine, all mine)

  • 2 oz scotch, preferably single-malt Highland or mild Islay (Tamdhu 10-year)
  • 1 oz cider (Windfall Orchard)
  • 1/4 oz Angostura bitters
  • 1/4 oz maple syrup (Dragonfly Sugarworks Grade B)
    Shake with ice, strain into a coupe.

I’ve been longing for an excuse to use a ton of Angostura in a cocktail ever since I fell in love with the Angostura Sour.  This is dry and spicy, with complex botanical notes from the cider and maple syrup.  I’ve always loves scotch and maple syrup, and the Angostura adds ginger and nutmeg that just scream mulled cider.  Altogether a lovely, lively fall cocktail, which takes two different Vermont ingredients and marries them in a new way.  This one should go on a menu, somewhere.  Bluebird?  Are you listening?  Man, I can’t even give this away.