Stephen Dick, a bartender at Graffiti Market in Kitchener, creates a tasty winter warm-up
Stephen Dick presents the “Apple Crumble Solution”
Icalled this cocktail a “solution” for two reasons. First, it’s a solution by definition because it is ingredients dissolved in liquid. Second, I love being outside in winter and wanted to come up with a solution for fellow outdoor enthusiasts looking to warm up after a day of activities such as skiing.
With the body heat from your hands on a snifter or wine glass to keep the drink nice and warm, this brandy-based cocktail will do the trick.
I wanted the aromas to trigger comforting thoughts of fresh baking and dessert.
The heat and warmth from the apple brandy, with a bit of bourbon to add a little body with its spicy notes, Murphy’s Law Apple Pie Moonshine and three to five drops of vanilla extract, we are well on our way to solving Operation: Winter Warmup.
Creating this drink requires making two simple syrups.
The first syrup is a cinnamon and turmeric to subtly add a bit of body to the drink.
The second is an apple and oatmeal shrub, achieved by adding vinegar, to give you a background tartness of apples that the alcohol doesn’t provide. This is where a bit of pre-planning comes in as the only real time-consuming part of this exercise is letting your shrub steep overnight.
For the garnish, apple rounds are coated with a combination of brown sugar, finely chopped steel-cut oats and a little bit of cinnamon to enhance the crumble experience.
This cocktail is also great for a dinner party because once you’ve got the ingredients set up it only takes 30 seconds to complete, giving you more time with your guests.
Make it a mocktail: Substitute 2.5 ounces fresh-pressed apple cider for all alcoholic ingredients. Make it a hot toddy: Build cocktail as per the recipe and add five ounces of brewed tea of your choice. Serve in a heat-proof mug or cup.
The Apple Crumble Solution
1.5 ounces Calvados apple brandy
½ ounce bourbon (your choice – I prefer a spicier one like Bulleit or Maker’s Mark)
½ ounce Murphy’s Law Apple Pie Moonshine
1/4 ounce (or to taste – depending how sweet you prefer your cocktails) Cinnamon and Turmeric simple syrup*
1/4 ounce (or to taste – depending how tart you prefer your cocktails ) Apple and Oatmeal Shrub* 3 to 5 drops real vanilla extract
1 baked apple crumble round*
1. Combine all ingredients in a brandy snifter or wine glass. Warm ingredients using cappuccino steam wand for three to five seconds or by setting the snifter over a half cup of steaming water for 30 to 45 seconds. Alternately, allow the warmth of your hand to slowly warm the contents of the glass. Gently float the baked apple round on top of the cocktail and slowly savour!
Cinnamon and Turmeric Simple Syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon or 2 to 3 sticks whole cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 cup water
1 cup white sugar
1. Bring water to just under boiling in a small pot. Wrap ground cinnamon and turmeric in cheesecloth or place in tea strainer and steep for several minutes until the desired flavour is achieved. Remove cheesecloth and/or whole cinnamon and strain out any solids with a fine strainer. Return the solution to the pot and bring back to a low boil. Add the sugar and gently stir with a whisk until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool and store in a sterilized mason jar for up to three months.
Time: 15 minutes
Apple and Oatmeal Shrub
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup (roughly 1 apple) peeled and chopped apple of your choice
2 tablespoons steel cut oats
½ to 1 cup white sugar
1. Bring the apple cider vinegar to just below boiling in a small pot. Add the chopped apple and oats and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. During this process, you can use a potato masher to gently squeeze the juices and flavours from the apple. Strain out all solids and remove the remaining liquid to a sterilized mason jar and leave four to six hours or overnight, if possible. Return the vinegar solution to the pot and bring to a simmer once again. Add the sugar to taste, depending on how tart you want your shrub to be. (For the original recipe, I used 1/2 cup of sugar). Gently stir with a whisk until all the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool and store in a sterilized mason jar for up to three months.
Total cook time: 30 minutes
Rest time: 4 to 24 hours
Baked Apple Crumble Rounds
2 to 3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons oats
1. Slice the apple into 1/8-inch-thick rounds with the core at the centre of the round. Remove any seeds. Lay them out flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone sheet. Finely chop the oats and combine with the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl. Mix ingredients thoroughly and sprinkle evenly over the apple rounds. Bake in a 225 F oven for roughly an hour until the apple rounds are almost completely dry, but still have some flexibility. Keep a close eye on the oven during this time so your apples don’t burn.
Time: 1 hour
Stephen Dick is a bartender at Graffiti Market on Glasgow Street in Kitchener.