Every year we take a trip down to Nebraska City to one of of our local orchards where we meet the grandparents and let the boys explore the orchard and pick their own apples. We make a day of it, eating lunch in the apple barn where they sort the apples fresh from the trees into bags and pass a bunch onto the cider presses. Seeing the sorting process and cider presses in action are always a highlight of the trip, especially when we can try the cider just minutes after being bottled. Having fresh cider in our house always inspires new cocktails, one of which is the Apple Cider Manhattan.
The Apple Cider Manhattan is a fun fall twist on the classic Manhattan, adding in some of that fresh apple cider we had seen being pressed at Kimmel Orchard in Nebraska City just hours before. The apple cider adds a sweet tart fall flavor to the cocktail, a flavor that works really well with the whiskey we used. The apple cider also adds a nice caramel color that makes for a very attractive drink.
We stayed true to the original Manhattan by adding in a bit of sweet vermouth, which adds a nice complex herbal note and slight hint of bitterness. The vermouth pulls out some of the spice notes in the whiskey, which is probably why the folks who originally mixed up the Manhattan paired these two spirits up!
Most Manhattan cocktails use rye as the base spirit, but I chose to use what might be my favorite whiskey, Cut Spike Single Malt Whiskey, a very smooth drinking whiskey that just happens to be distilled locally. Cut Spike has hints of a fine scotch (but since it is distilled in the US, can’t be called scotch) that really popped with the apple cider, the hints of oak and toffee partnering up with the sweet tart of the cider very nicely. This whiskey is a very smooth spirit, which makes this Apple Cider Manhattan a smooth sipper, perfect for a cool fall evening by a fire. Cheers!
- 1.5 oz Whiskey or Rye (I used Cut Spike Single Malt Whiskey)
- .75 oz sweet vermouth
- .5 oz lemon
- .5 oz simple syrup
- 1.5 oz Fresh apple cider
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- Pour all ingredients into a mixing glass with ice.
- Stir to mix and chill
- Strain into a chilled coupe.
- Garnish with a brandied cherry.
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