So, now that my little Benjamin Button-esque ankle biters have been safely ferried off to see friends in Kingston, Ontario, methinks it a perfect time to unwind and chillax, the chilly autumn air providing the perfect backdrop for a little respite and reflection, and the flavors of the season (this is already starting to sound like a Hallmark card) taking the edge off frazzled nerves.
What I'm talking about is the fall-friendly, locavorish, apple-maple concoction Sean and I whipped up this weekend. We had some Calvados lying around, we had a bit left of our Sortilege maple liqueur (produit du Canada), we had terrific, local apples in peak season... and actually, we also had pomegranates on hand, because for reasons unknown the local grocer had them on sale for like 69 cents apiece (!!!). Sean took lead on this drink and tried to come up with something that incorporated all three. But as you might imagine, the drink came out physically and flavor-ly too muddled.
I suggested he drop the pomegranate part, that it tasted like we were trying too hard and to just trust in the apple and maple to see the drink though. (Yes, I worried that apple and maple was just so obvious. But as I've proven to myself a few times before, sometimes obvious is the exact-right way to go.)
Our new friend Farley -- who was having dinner with us that night, who likewise just moved to Montreal from the States to study at McGill, who just started making his own beer at home but who knows so little about cocktails that he actually asked us what muddling was -- Farley asked me how I knew to get rid of the pomegranate. I basically told him to stick with me, kid.
The Mapplethorpe has a good amount of complexity. It gives your palate something to consider, but not so much that your brain isn't able to wander off on its own, contemplating the turn of the seasons and the taming of the shrew and whatever other lofty idealisms come to mind when you get the chance to curl into a cozy sweater and ponder brown leaves as they scatter down the street.
1 1/2 ounces Busnel Fine Calvados
3/4 ounces Sortilege
1/2 ounce lemon juice
2 dashes Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Biters
Two apple slices
Maple syrup (optional)
Muddle an apple slice and the bitters in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and add Calvados, Sortilege and lemon juice. Shake vigorously. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with other apple slice, if you like, after dipping it in some maple syrup.
Don't be tempted to skip the lemon juice! It's an essential brightener for the rest of your flavors.