Now that 2013 has faded away and with it all the requisite year-in-reviews for restaurants (here, here and here) and pop music (here), 2014 has taken the stage with lists of its own: Oscar-hopeful releases and politico-cultural predictions by just about anyone who thinks you’ll listen.
I myself will not make any recaps or predictions other than a libationary one: if 2013 was the year of the Manhattan (cocktail), then let 2014 be the year of the Big Apple.
The Big Apple is a little something I invented for the dark days of winter. It has the whisky and angostura punch of a Manhattan, but with an additional soothing element of hot-spiced apple juice. I do like a good Hot Toddy in the cold months, but sometimes I find it lackluster without loads of honey or sweetener. The Big Apple, on the other hand, won’t disappoint with its full and spicy flavors that match perfectly to bourbon whiskey.
Admittedly, I started drinking this cocktail before we rounded the corner into 2014. It was just too perfect for that period between Christmas and the New Year. While I think it is best suited as an after-dinner drink or nightcap, why not serve it up at a January brunch? It is mildly refreshing, given the apple juice, thus suited for heftier dishes like eggs, potatoes and bacon. It’s also easy to make for a group. Just slow-heat a big ol’ pot of apple juice and simmer with spices for as long as you like. Therefore your mix is ready-made– just add the alcohol and go. (A fair warning, though: during the day I think a couple of these would sufficiently knock you out until nightfall.)
Happy New Year!
Recipe: Big Apple hot cocktail
For the hot-spiced apple juice:
1 liter apple juice or apple cider*
2 cinnamon sticks
a large pinch of whole cloves
a slice of fresh ginger
-Simmer this mixture in a saucepan or pot over very low heat for at least 20 minutes, longer if you like, for a spicier flavor.
For the cocktail:
Hot-spiced apple juice
1.5 oz or 44 mL (1 shot) bourbon whisky
1 dash Angostura bitters
-Ladle some hot spiced apple juice into a small mug. Pour in the whisky and dash of Angostura bitters. Stir and serve with a cinnamon stick as garnish.
*If you are in the US, I would highly suggest using apple cider for this drink. In most countries in Europe, though, if you say apple cider, it means the alcoholic kind. The closest we have to what you want in Germany would be naturtrüber Apfelsaft, basically an unfiltered apple juice. Using this just adds to the overall spiciness and depth of the drink.