Let’s talk honestly. Family is a wonderful thing. I feel incredibly blessed to share my life with so many amazing people. And I love our memory-making during the holidays. But I’m not naive, either. Not every holiday celebration will be postcard-perfect. There are too many variables – distant relatives, dietary restrictions, political opinions, weather – the list goes on and on. Feeling nervous about an upcoming holiday celebration? I have the perfect suggestion for you: Step back and put it on ice. Literally.
This cocktail, adapted from Gramercy Tavern in New York City, captures so many flavors of fall without being too heavy to drink before all of those holiday meals. Many of us will travel through chilly, wet weather to attend family holiday gatherings. Nothing warms cold toes and fingers faster than bourbon. A classic fall food – apples – take center stage with applejack brandy and fresh apple cider. This drink has a slight herbal undertone from thyme-infused simple syrup and stays bright and balanced with a splash of lemon juice.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by our to-do lists and double-booked calendars during this time of year. But sometimes the best memories are created when you least expect them. So go ahead and invite those long-lost faces to the table. Sit back and laugh at that always-repeated joke one more time. Indulge a rant from you-know-who. And sip with a smile.
- ¼ cup sugar
- ¼ cup water
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 ounce bourbon
- 1 ounce applejack brandy
- 1 ounce fresh apple cider
- ½ ounce fresh lemon juice
- ½ ounce thyme simple syrup
- Dash Angostura bitters
- Combine sugar and water in small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and add thyme. Allow to steep for 15 minutes. Strain and refrigerate.
- Put ice in a cocktail shaker. Add bourbon, applejack, apple cider, lemon juice, simple syrup and bitters. Shake and strain into ice-filled glasses.