Fall is finally really right around the corner — only a tiny baby week away. It’s so close I can taste it. But that taste ins’t a pumpkin spice latte (I’ve never even had a sip of one if you can believe it), it’s an Apple Brandy Old Fashioned. This drink is fall as fuck and it makes me want to put on booties and a scarf (and some other clothes in between, of course, like a plaid shirt and skinny jeans) and get someone to take a picture of me holding a thermos while wearing those ridiculous gloves with the fingertips cut off as I look longingly at a pile of fallen leaves. Or some shit. I don’t know. Isn’t that what white, Midwestern Instagram moms are supposed to do in the fall?
Anyway, back to the drink. It’s an Old Fashioned, but it’s not made with whiskey — a shocking turn of events for me, I know.
The Old Fashioned as we know it today is really just an old-fashioned way to make a cocktail. Back in the day, a “cocktail” was simply a mix of spirits, sugar, water, and bitters. These days, it’s widely accepted that the base spirit is whiskey, but you certainly don’t have to use whiskey. It’s fun to mix it up from time to time, and apple brandy is really great for a fairly traditional Old Fashioned preparation.
But wait! Do you even have apple brandy? Do you even know apple brandy? If you don’t, you should. Yes, I know it sounds like something that would be too sweet and really fucking gross (probably because I spent ages 16 through 22 drinking nothing but that bright green Sour Apple Pucker straight from the bottle) but it’s neither of those things. It’s basically barrel-aged apple wine, and you should be able to find it at most liquor stores.
In addition to the apple brandy, this festive fall tipple calls for Angostura aromatic bitters, along with a few dashes of orange bitters (made by Angostura and a few other brands), and a sugar cube or simple syrup. I really prefer the cube to the simple syrup, even if a sugar cube doused in bitters sort of looks like a disease before you muddle it.
I’ve tried making this drink with straight apple brandy, and then half apple brandy-half bourbon (in fact, it was right about the time I took this picture with the fucking bottle of bourbon in it — oops!) and I think it’s better with one base spirit. So we’re sticking with the apple brandy here, folks. Don’t mind the bourbon. Look away from the bourbon.
Apple Brandy Old Fashioned
1 sugar cube (or ¼ ounce simple syrup)
4 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes orange bitters
2 ounces apple brandy
Orange twist, for garnish
If you’re using the sugar cube, add it to the glass along with the bitters, then muddle them together until the sugar cube is dissolved. Otherwise, add the simple syrup and bitters to the glass and stir. Add a large ice cube or a few small ones, then pour the apple brandy over the ice. Using a bar spoon (or just a regular fucking spoon because who other than me and a bunch of people who wear vests to their bartending jobs keeps a bar spoon around the house?), garnish with the orange twist, and enjoy.
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