November 26, 2012 by Gennefer Gross
Anyone who knows me, or follows me on Twitter, is aware of my
obsession with love of craft cocktails, particularly those flaunting a frothy egg white foam. There’s something about that creamy cloud atop a fancy elixir that lures me in, and the first sip always delivers… a velvety transport for the meticulously mixed flavors to follow. It’s all at once a palate hugger and a refresher, the fluffy emulsion adding depth and texture to the spirits, simulating the silkiness of a sudsy latte.
This Thanksgiving, I concocted a special cocktail for the festivities, featuring (as you might have guessed) an egg white. My goal was to create something hearty with rich Fall flavors yet light enough to enjoy with appetizers and dinner without overpowering the meal or filling my guests up on libations. After extensive
day drinking experimentation, my Candy Apple Buzz was born, a blend of seasonal apple cider and honey brandy that starts off with hints of cinnamon and spice and ends with a smooth smack of caramel. Combined with aromatic bitters, that I fashioned into an autumn leaf with the prowess of a pro barista (Go on, be impressed.), this cocktail engages all the senses and is the perfect complement to both sweet and savory dishes, balancing the saltiness of foods like turkey and stuffing while enhancing the lushness of cranberry and candied yams. Needless to say, it was a big hit ’round my dinner table, and delivered on its name. Everyone was indeed candy apple buzzed by the dessert course!
The Candy Apple Buzz Holiday Cocktail Recipe
1 ½ ounces Honey Brandy
½ ounce Cream Sherry
1 ounce Apple Cider
1 teaspoon simple syrup
dash Angostura bitters
1 egg white
1 sliced apple for garnish
Shake all ingredients with ice for at least a minute or two so the egg white is fully blended. (This was my ‘workout’ for the evening after making more than a dozen of these whipped delights. Who needs a shake weight?) Strain the mixture into a cocktail glass or low ball, garnish with an apple slice and ‘paint’ an autumn bitters leaf (below).
Autumn Leaf Bitters Design
I’m not a barista, so I don’t know how those crafty gents create those intricate designs that glide upon blankets of steamed milk, but I wanted to try my hand at adding a festive element to the cocktail, so I winged it. And while it may not be the technical way to do it, it worked out beautifully, and my happy accident can be your deliberate addition.
Splash 3-4 drops of bitters in a single line atop the egg white head. Using a toothpick, cocktail stirrer, straw or any other narrow object, ‘draw’ the leaf with the bitters as if they’re paint drops, spreading the splashes of color across the foam. I connected the dots first with a few sweeping motions of my cocktail stirrer, then extended the leaves out on the sides. Don’t be discouraged if it looks like an indiscernible blob at first. You can just add more bitters or call it an ode to Jackson Pollock! Either way, feel free to be creative and assemble the dashes of bitters into a heart or any other shape you want. Then, simply connect the ‘dots.’ Whichever you choose, it adds a fun touch to the cocktail. (Expect the compulsory ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ from your guests.)
If you like this cocktail, you may also enjoy my ‘Frothy Monk’ beer cocktail, an egg-nog inspired holiday drink that’s like Christmastime in a glass. ‘Tis the season. To drink heavily. But always drink responsibly. Cheers!