It recently struck me, as I took a breath of crisp fall air, that I could never live in a place that didn’t have defined seasons. Now, mind you, my Virgo traits don’t always mesh well with such changes. Emotions soar and then plummet from joy to sorrow. The negative emotions never last more than a moment, just enough to make me feel nostalgic for warmer, livelier days.
But, as I said, I can’t imagine being somewhere this didn’t occur. For me, the rain and snow and frigid days make the arrival of summer all the more sweeter. And, at least for now, we have the holidays (and the foods that come with them) to look forward to.
With fall’s arrival, each week we have been graced with copious amounts of apples in our CSA box and I’ve been finding ways to bring them back into my life after a year of ignoring them.
Sometimes I’ll eat them plain or chop them into a salad. Sometimes I’ll throw them into a pot of sweet potato soup. Or I’ll juice them and make a cocktail. Fresh apple juice is not cloyingly sweet when paired with the right ingredients. Take, for instance, this Apple Orchard Martini that I’ve created. It’s not one that came easily to me. A lot of taste testing had to occur (it’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it). After a few iterations, a balance was found. It starts off sweet, followed by a slow build of heat from the pepper and mezcal.
Now, before you rush off to check out the recipe, I want to leave you with a little info about mezcal: Produced in Mexico, mezcal is a distilled liquor made from the maguey plant, a form of agave. Thus, mezcal has a very similar flavor profile to tequila, but it can have the peatiness of a scotch. The process of making mezcal includes cooking it for three days in an underground cauldron, which gives it it’s unique smoky flavor.
Mezcal is perfect for people who have been ardent opposers of tequila. It’s great on it’s own and stands strong in a cocktail.
The Apple Orachard Martini
Yield: 2 cocktails
Glassware: Martini Glasses
4 ounces (118 ml) fresh apple juice or cider
3 ounces (89 ml) mezcal
1/2 ounce (15 ml) vanilla simple syrup (directions below)
1/2 jalapeño, seeded
Apple, for garnish (directions below)
1. Pour the fresh apple juice (or cider) and mezcal into the shaker.
2. Add the vanilla simple syrup and jalapeno to the shaker and, using a long wooden spoon, muddle it.
3. Add ice to the shaker and shake to chill.
4. Strain into the glasses and garnish with apple.
Vanilla Simple Syrup
Yield: Approx. 1 cup
A small pot
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split down the middle
1. Put water, sugar, and vanilla bean into the pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Whisk until sugar dissolves.
3. Continue to simmer until syrup thickens.
4. Remove from heat and let cool.
5. Use as directed or store in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
1. Cut one hunk of apple off and cut into 1/4 inch slices.
2. Holding all of the slices tightly in one hand, take a cocktail stirrer and poke through the bottom of the slices until it reaches the other end. Then fan out the slices.
3. Carefully balance it in the martini glass.Brian is the boy behind the blog, A Thought For Food.