It’s bourbon season!
Alright so fine, fall is officially here. I say this in a grouchy tone, only because I’m always sad to say goodbye to my favorite season. But fall is my second favorite, and I love it for almost as many reasons as I love summer. I’ve always thought if summer really has to end, football season is a nice consolation prize. And fall isn’t only football season. It’s also apple, pumpkin, chili, hay ride, leaf piles, scarecrow and – most importantly – bourbon season.
“Wait, bourbon has a season?” you might ask. Um, yeah it does. And it’s fall. Also winter. So I guess bourbon has two seasons. All I know is that I know no better way to warm up on a chilly day than with a glass of bourbon. When I trained for a marathon a few years ago, the first thing I did after my Saturday long runs on chilly October mornings was cozy up in fuzzy socks with a Manhattan in a rocks glass. That was my thing. And this Apple & Honey Old Fashioned is another one of my fall things.
I made my first Apple & Honey Old Fashioned of the fall season just the other night. I felt like it was time. It was about 60 degrees outside – a night for jeans, socks, a cardigan sweater and a fire. It was the first true fall evening we’ve had this year. And this cocktail could not have been more perfect. We are in between two Jewish holidays right now – Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur – so there are lots of apples and honey flowing over this 10 day period. We eat apples and honey during the Jewish new year to symbolize our hope for a sweet new year. So I’d argue that even God wants me to be drinking this cocktail right now. Too much?
Finding “your” bourbon
The components of this drink are easy – you don’t have to be a mixologist or even have any fancy ingredients to make it. You don’t need to make a simple syrup ahead of time. The honey is your simple syrup. You can go from start to finish with this drink in just a few minutes, which really is the goal, right? The Big Guy is a major bourbon drinker, so I’m lucky that I get to choose from at least a dozen different bourbons when I’m making drinks.
But you don’t need to be a bourbon connoisseur, you just need to know what you like. Try a sipping a few different bourbons on their own first. Smell their subtle scents of oak and vanilla. Taste how they awaken your jaw and warm your throat. Find a bourbon that tastes smooth, and that warms without burning on the way down. Great bourbons to start with are Basil Hayden’s, Four Roses and Bulleit.
When you mix this Apple Honey Old Fashioned, do exactly that – mix it. Most bourbon drinks should not be shaken in a cocktail shaker. Instead, pour your ingredients into the glass and gently stir with a spoon until the honey dissolves. You can garnish with simple apple slices and, if you want to get fancy, a smoking cinnamon stick. I won’t lie, it smells pretty darn good and really screams fall. I felt that I had to include the photo of when I got a little carried away with the smoking (ahem – burning) cinnamon stick.
Drinking one of these cocktails may just make you less sad that summer is over. Another good consolation prize. Enjoy!
- 2 shots bourbon
- 2 dashes orange bitters
- 1 tsp. honey
- 2 shots apple cider
- apple slices & cinnamon sticks for garnish
Pour all ingredients into a rocks glass and stir gently until the honey dissolves. Fill glass with ice and garnish with apple slices and cinnamon sticks.