I've been talking about beer a lot lately and it's probably not going to stop anytime soon. At least not until next summer when the apartment starts feeling like it's on top of a lake of fire. I can't help it; it's just so interesting. Brewing beer is perfect practice for being a father. Those little yeast cells are relying on me and me alone to create the perfect environment to survive and flourish. Occasionally I'll catch myself staring at the bubbling airlock. I'm thinking about how the beer will turn out and contemplating my creepy parental attachment to the yeast.
I'll probably be back to beer next week, but this week--as a palate cleanser--I thought I would return to the world of cocktails. Seasonal cocktails to be specific. It's hard not to get taken in by all the pumpkins, squash and apples that dominate the farmer's market this time of year. Traditionally there are so many of them that we have to resort to bobbing for apples, carving pumpkins and stuffing squash down our pants...we all did that as a kid, right?
Heather and I enjoy buying local cider in the fall. When enjoying it as an alcoholic beverage, we heat it up in the microwave and add a splash of rum to it--warms the heart and soul. But this time around I wanted to do something more elaborate and festive. After scouring recipes from various different sources, I decided on one in particular that caught my eye.
Hot Buttered Bourbon and Cider
adapted from Bon Appétit
-2 cups apple cider
-1/2 cup water
-3 tbsp (packed) golden brown sugar
-4 whole cloves
-1 cinnamon stick
-2 tbsp chilled unsalted butter
-3/4 cup bourbon
-2 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
Bring the first 5 ingredients to simmer in medium saucepan. Remove from heat; cover and let steep 15 minutes. Ad 2 tbsp chilled butter to saucepan; bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Stir in bourbon and lemon juice. Strain into large measuring cup. Divide hot cider among 4 mugs. Garnish with apple slice and cinnamon stick. Sprinkle nutmeg over.
The one major change from the original recipe is the butter. In addition to the butter contained in the drink itself, it calls for you to essentially garnish the drink by having a quarter teaspoon of butter floating in the drink as you serve it. I told Heather and she said "ewww." My thoughts exactly. Don't get me wrong, butter is great. But people don't want to be reminded of its presence, especially in cocktails. It was in this spirit that it was nixed. Please feel free to try it and leave your thoughts in the comments.
The final result was something a bit different and a bit more savory than I was used to. I've always thought of whiskey as a good winter spirit. It's got a nice sharp bite to it. As for the butter used, I thought that two tablespoons were plenty. Anything more and I'll feel like it's time for a cholesterol test. And I'm told they can be pricey.
I would recommend this as a good drink to make in batches for a party because of the prep work involved. It's the sort of thing that would look great in a punchbowl. Just be careful that no one bobs for apples in it for two reasons. First, the scalding temperature will surely cause severe and disfiguring burns. Second, it's very tasty and your guest may not want to come out, resulting in his eventual drowning. And third, it's devastating to see good liquor wasted.