Once upon a time, Will and I visited a magical place of hope and wonder (and fantastic cocktails, food and music): New Orleans. While it was only a weekend trip, we had more than enough time to fall in love with the city's vibrant culture. One of the places that stood out the most in both our memories was The Apple Barrel - a tiny bar on Frenchmen Street. From the aging yet enthusiastic couple (I assume the owners) tending the bar to the wonderfully transportive blues tunes, this place was everything we had hoped for when we set out on the trip. The deliciously simple whiskey cocktails served by our hospitable bartenders just added to the evening's good vibes.
This cocktail gives us a way to kick back and reminisce about that perfect evening and I hope it inspires you to make a trip to New Orleans yourself! In this version of The Apple Barrel cocktail, I used Panther, an aged whiskey from Minnesota with a bit more bite than bourbon (a shout-out to our MN-dwelling friends Scott and Bre for such a great wedding gift). The apple cider and honey simple syrup rounds out the bite with some crisp sweetness while the lemon juice keeps the drink balanced (ie. keeps it from getting too sweet). Adding a touch of bitters can help highlight the spice profile of the whiskey, if you prefer to do so.
The Apple Barrel
- 2 oz rye or aged whiskey
- 4 oz apple cider
- 1 oz honey simple syrup*
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
Shake all ingredients with ice until chilled and strain into a mason jar. Serve on ice if you prefer a more refreshing drink or sans ice if you like your cocktails more boozy. Top with a dash of Angostura bitters to bring out a hint of spice.
* To make honey simple syrup, heat 1 part filtered water to 1 part honey in a pot on low heat, stirring frequently until honey is dissolved. Be sure to not let the mixture boil. When honey is dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool. Unused simple syrup can be stored in the fridge for 1-2 weeks. I highly recommend making the simple syrup ahead of time if you plan to make this cocktail so you don't have to go through the agonizing impatience of waiting for the simple syrup to cool on the spot.