Apple of Your Rye

I’m not the type of person to take a whiff from a snifter and proclaim, “Pungent aroma of gin botanicals with a touch of pine needle, lemon zest, honey, vanilla and mint!” (Though I am apparently the type to make awful puns at the expense of a perfectly good cocktail.)

It’s not that I’m modest or shy; au contraire, had I the gift, I’d be up in everybody’s boozy business describing in great detail the notes of honeysuckle and dill in their Chardonnay.

The fact is, I’m just bad at it.

I once decided to try cultivating this ability by writing down tasting notes in a small journal that I took with me to bars and restaurants. This tactic may not have developed my nose, but it did unwittingly earn me excellent service and discounts when I was mistaken for an unsubtle restaurant critic.

(Hm, perhaps I should take that up again..)

But this guy on the other hand can, and does, say exactly that about Bulleit’s Rye Whiskey. I can’t vouch for the gin botanicals, but I’ve certainly been appreciating this rye’s clean, dry flavor and hint of spice. (Cinnamon, apparently.)

In addition to enjoying it on the rocks with a little sparkling water, I’ve been shaking up this tawny cocktail with fresh apple cider, ginger and lemon juice, and a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Apple cider on its own can be cloying and in need of some pep. It pairs brilliantly with rye, which has the spice of a bourbon, but with a clean dryness that tames the cider’s sweetness. A hit of grated ginger root and lemon juice add a pleasant acidity, and the cinnamon and nutmeg bring out the peppery notes (so I’m told) in the rye.

Sip this inspiriting beverage before any dinner party, accompanied by some Cheddar, Beer and Chive Gougères, or Sage, Thyme and Mimolette Cheese Straws. It may just become the apple of your rye.

Happy alcoholidays!:

Bojon Eggnog
Sparkling Whiskey Gingerade
Pomegranate Margaritas

One year ago:

Two-Persimmon Tea Cake

Two years ago:

Nibby Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
Cranberry Pear Upside-Down Gingerbread

Three years ago:

Horchata Ice Cream

Apple of Your Rye

This drink is tastiest with freshly pressed apple cider. If I had a juicer, I’d make it myself; instead I get organic, unpasteurized juice from my co-op. Look for freshly pressed apple cider at farmer’s markets, farm stands, or in the refrigerated section of healthy food stores. All ounce measurements are by volume (not weight).

Makes 2 serious beverages

6 ounces (3/4 cup) fresh apple juice or cider (see headnote)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) rye whiskey (such as Bulleit)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger root (I use a microplane to grate it very fine)
a big pinch freshly grated nutmeg
a big pinch ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a measuring cup, combine the apple cider, rye, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon and lemon juice. Strain through a small, fine mesh sieve into a cocktail shaker (or quart mason jar) filled halfway with ice, pressing on the ginger to extract all the good stuff. Put the lid on and shake vigorously. Strain into 2 chilled glasses and sip immediately.

11 thoughts on “Apple of Your Rye”

  1. Just discovered your blog and had to try this with fresh cider and fresh-from-the-ground ginger. Loved it. Nice spice up front from the cinnamon/nutmeg and a little heat from the ginger at the end. Liked it so much chilled that I pretended it was snowing and warmed up the second glass. The cider and lemon were much more prominent, which made the thing even easier to drink. What a great first experience! Thank you!

    1. Well shoot, I know what I'm making after dinner tonight! What a fabulous idea to warm this drink up. I only wish I had fresh cider and homegrown ginger to put in it. Thanks so much for the great review!

      1. I just googled “apple cider rye” with a hot, mulled cider in mind and this came up! :) I think I might try it warm tonight to soothe my election day nerves.

        Also, wow, his tasting notes are so detailed! And I’m totally going to try that restaurant trick..

          1. I made a big pot and eyeballed the quantities, but stuck with the flavors from your recipe, and it was really good. very sweet, but the lemon and the cutting flavor of rye helped. it smelled incredible with that ginger and nutmeg. xo

  2. Hi Alanna! What a fantastic concoction this is! I am normally not much of a recipe follower, but I got inspired looking for a good fall themed beverage, and this was absolutely perfect today on a warm October afternoon. My first time following a proper cocktail recipe! The rest of your blog looks amazing too, I’m going to have to check out more of your recipes this season. :)

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed this – though I put less rye in – and even then it was pretty strong!

    I got a really strong hint of coconut – even though there’s none in there.

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