I flick apples in the produce section. I get the occasional eyebrow raise my direction, but I always end up with the crunchiest, crispest apples. The higher pitch the apple makes, the crunchier the fruit. I don’t compromise here, so I’ll happily endure the raised eyebrows. A good fall apple should be bright in flavor and almost brittle like kettle-cooked potato chips.
Apples bring back a flood of memories of gallivanting through an apple orchard in Virginia with my family and our close family friends. The rows were littered with half-eaten apples discarded only to sample another variety until our bellies could fit no more….that is, until we were presented with hot apple fritters and fresh-pressed apple cider back at the farm store.
I recently concocted a drink that captures that sweet, bright, tart burst of flavor in an autumn apple. The trick? Shrub. (Not familiar with shrubs – check these guys out.) The shrub factor brings sweetened fruit and vinegar into the equation, creating that prefect flavor balance you find in a good apple. I punched my cocktail up with some fresh thyme, gin, apple cider vinegar, and pippin apples. If you’re scared, don’t be. I was, but you shouldn’t be. I promise, it will all come together in perfect harmony. This cocktail is a game changer.
Apple Thyme Shrub Cocktail
- 3 ounces gin or vodka
- 1 ounce Pippin Apple simple syrup
- ¾ ounce unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- Big pinch of thyme leaves, crushed
- Splash sparkling water
- Sprig of thyme for garnish
For the apple simple syrup:
In a small pot, bring to boil 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 2 apples, sliced. (Pippin, Granny Smith, or other tart apples work well.) Boil the mixture for one minute with the lid on; simmer for five minutes; let stand off the heat until it cools.
For the cocktail:
Combine the gin, simple syrup, vinegar, and thyme leaves in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake for a minute until it’s cold. Pour into a glass with ice. Top with a splash of sparkling water and garnish with a sprig of thyme and/or an apple slice. Enjoy!
And if you’re in need for more fall recipe ideas, check out Fiesta Friday.