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Adam’s Last Apple

October 1, 2010

It’s not easy coming up with new cocktails.  No sir.  It’s hard hard work.  Very hard work.  Right up there with coal mining.  Well, maybe not that hard, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.  First, almost every combination of ingredients has been used in some form or another.  And second, all the good names are taken.  Many of them are taken multiple times over.

So I’ve been tinkering around with a few bottles lately, and came up with something I thought was special.  It has an apple base, an aromatic bitterness, and an enchanting red hue.  The first thing that came to me was The Poison Apple cocktail, but that has been taken many times over.  And like other drinks with catchy names, they are complete train wrecks.

Even the Fallen Apple cocktail is taken.

I was amazed to see that the phrase Adam’s Last Apple has only two listings on Google and none on Bing.  One of those listings is a photo, and the other refers to some kind of poem.  But not only is it completely evocative of this drink, this drink never would have happened if it were not for my friend Adam.

Last night I cleared his real name for the use in this post.  You may know Adam as ADS, my oldest friend who recently came through the area.  Well, while he was here we went liquor shopping, and he picked up a few bottles of booze.

Adam makes great cocktails.  One bottle has recently moved onto his short list of mixing standbys: Aperol.  Here is the blurb on the stuff as seen on DrinkUpNY:

(90-95) Points, Best Buy – Wine Enthusiast
Created in 1919, Aperol is an Italian bitter liqueur infused with orange, gentian, chinchona, rhubarb, and an array of other herbs and spices. The result is a surprisingly subtle, complex, and delightful aperitif that’s much more approachable than more intense (and polarizing) amaro liqueurs. While many cocktails unique to Aperol have been created in recent years, you can also use it in place of Campari in many classic recipes for a new flavor profile.

While we were shopping at All Star Wine & Spirits, I also stumbled upon a bottle of Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy, which is 50% ABV and bottled in bond.  I’m not really a fan of the applejack, given the superior option in such close proximity, but I thought it would be worth a shot to try their apple base spirit.  Overall, I find it to be better than their applejack, but it’s a little one-dimensional and rough around the edges.

So now the home bar has a couple of vagrant bottles lying around, looking for love.

Mrs. Fussy was having some success mixing the Laird’s with sweet vermouth and angostura bitters.  It’s a nice twist on the classic Manhattan.  I don’t like to mess around with the classics.

But one day I took a short pour (about ½ ounce) of the Aperol and a long pour (about 1½ oz) of the Laird’s and seasoned it with five drops of Peychaud’s bitters, which gave it not only a beautiful red hue, but a very complementary note of anise.  I thought it was good, but I knew I was onto something when Mrs. Fussy actually liked it.

It feels very seasonal, especially for the northeast.  There is the base of apples, which are just ripe for the picking at orchards all around the region.  The bitter sweet element plays into how I feel in fall: It’s beautiful, but I know all too well a long and cold winter is right around the corner. Anise plays well with apple, and we just got our first bulb of fennel from the CSA.  It would be hard to be more seasonal than that.

Mrs. Fussy also suggested that perhaps instead of the Peychaud’s one could substitute a dash of absinthe.  Have I mentioned lately that she’s a helluva woman? Truth be told, I think it makes a better, more refined cocktail.  But it is missing out on the unnatural color that comes from the bitters.  Still, I would gladly accept it as a variation.

I think the expulsion from the garden is a great match for this seasonal drink. Don’t you?  I can imagine the bitterness and the loss of innocence.  There is a touch of lingering sweetness that remains, but the overwhelming sense is of complexity.  Yes, there is a faint impression of apple that comes through, but it never really was about the apple now, was it?

Thank you, Adam, for all the booze.  As you can see, it’s been put to good use.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2010 1:18 am

    Since you picked three of my favorite ingredients — all of which I have on hand — I am happy to report that, as I type this, I am enjoying my first Adam’s Last Apple. It won’t be the last.

    Since Peychaud’s and Absinthe play so nicely together, have you tried a little of both?

    Delicious, and Salute!

  2. Mirdreams permalink
    February 5, 2011 8:15 pm

    Drink invention of the evening: The Big Apple (a play on a classic Manhattan):
    2 dashes Angostura bitters
    3/4 oz Martini & Rosso Vermouth
    1 1/4 oz Makers Mark Bourbon Whiskey
    1 1/4 oz Core Cornelius Applejack
    1-3 “maraschino” cherries (I’m geek enough to know these bright red orbs aren’t real maraschino cherries,, but I don’t care, I like them, especially after they’ve soaked in booze for a while)

    Stir liquids with ice and then strain into cocktail or highball glass, garnish with cherries. Yum.

    Next time I might have to find NY ingredients for all the elements. The bourbon’s easy (Tuthilltown makes one for just one example), and I already have some Fee Brothers bitters out of Rochester but the vermouth might just defeat me. Does anyone know of a NY State made vermouth? I guess I could always make my own: The cherries too I could make with local cherries but that means I couldn’t have another one till fall. Or oh look, Google says that they make them in Brooklyn,, and bees like them, So I will so try this!

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