In celebration of the first week of fall, we opted for a cocktail with apple cider (plus we had bourbon in the cupboard, but I digress…).
Also on hand was a lovely bottle of French apple brandy that we had been hankering to pour, so bourbon apple cider cocktails, it was! Here’s how we made them.
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1 ounce apple brandy (Calvados)
- 1 ounce apple cider (the juice, not the booze)
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce thyme simple syrup
- 1 dash Angostura bitters
For the thyme syrup
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 8 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4, 1-inch strips of lemon zest
To make the syrup, bring the water, sugar, thyme, cinnamon, and lemon zest to a boil in a small pot, then reduce the heat to low, and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat, strain the syrup, and cool it to room temperature before placing in the fridge to chill.
Pour all the cocktail ingredients (including the bitters) into a shaker filled with ice, secure the lid, and shake until chilled. Strain into an ice-filled tumbler, and garnish with a round slice of apple and a sprig of thyme.
The verdict: The first sip tasted, quite unexpectedly, like tequila—which is never a bad thing around here. Still, it was definitely a surprise, and one that took us a minute to get over. The second surprise? It wasn’t sweet—like, at all. In fact, even I who makes a stick face at anything remotely sweet added an extra splash of syrup to mine. Which brings me to Surprise # 3: thyme syrup tastes like tequila! Herbs are so strange.
So, yeah, we liked this cocktail just fine, but not enough to revisit it anytime soon.
Sure was pretty, though.