Perfectly compromised of fall flavors, this cocktail is perfect for sipping on those cool autumn nights.
During the long winter evenings we like to find cocktails that are good for sipping on while enjoying a good book and a roaring fire. While a good hot toddy or a classic Tom and Jerry are delicious hot cocktails in the winter, we still enjoy some chilled sippers that can bring a warm glow to you thanks to their big boozy punch. Today’s cocktail, The Woodsman fits into the big bold boozy category as it uses classic winter spirits of applejack and ginger liqueur to really bring the flavor!
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Applejack is a classically American spirit dating back to the colonial days where it was an extremely popular spirit thanks to plentiful apple orchards and the fact it didn’t require expensive and rare equipment like stills to make. Instead of distilling using a still, Applejack was made using the freeze distilling method, which also makes applejack a perfect winter spirit, as the cold winter temps were perfect for freeze distilling.
These days, Applejack is made using stills and distilling like many other high proof spirits. We chose to use a locally distilled apple brandy from Cedar Ridge Distillery in Iowa. Cedar Ridge uses fresh fermented apple cider to make their brandy, and then distilling it to punch up the proof. Cedar Ridge then ages them in oak casks which imparts a rich spicy note to the spirit that makes the apple brandy a nice warming spirit perfect for winter drinks.
For The Woodsman, we used the apple brandy as our base spirit, the sweet and spicy notes of the brandy bringing a nice boozy foundation for the drink. The apple brandy has hints of the oak it was aged in, bringing a richness to the drink. Since this is a winter cocktail, we wanted something that would bring more of the spices that really work with winter flavors, so we added in a little splash of ginger liqueur as well.
The ginger liqueur brings more spice and warmth to the cocktail, but doesn’t bring any sweetness. Needing to bring the drink into balance, we added in another great winter flavor, maple syrup. The maple syrup adds a rich nutty sweetness to the drink while pulling out some of the hints of vanilla and apple sweetness of the apple brandy and the spice of the ginger liqueur. Maple and apple work really well together, and when the ginger is added in, a definite winter flavor appears.
To finish the drink, we added in a few dashes of aromatic bitters. The aromatic bitters brings a nice mix of herbal and baking spices that really layers on some flavors to the drink. Once the bitters are added in, the Woodsman rounds itself into a nice manly drink, full of complex spices, strong boozy notes and plenty of bold flavors.
A garnish of a fresh orange peel adds a bright citrus perfume that opens up your sense of smell and lets you inhale all the rich spicy scents of the bitters. You might just find yourself sipping this by the fire with a good book if you aren’t careful! Cheers!
- 2 oz applejack or apple brandy
- .75 oz maple syrup
- .5 oz ginger liqueur
- 4 dashes Aromatic bitters
- Orange twist for garnish
- Add brandy, syrup, ginger liqueur and biters into a mixing glass.
- Add ice and stir to chill.
- Strain into a coupe.
- Garnish with an orange twist.
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