Fall has always been my favorite time of year. Not just because I love wearing hoodies and sweaters, but because it means so many of my favorite flavors are back in season. When I was but a wee nerdlet, every October my parents bundled my little sister and I up and took us to Apple Hill, which is about halfway between South Lake Tahoe, CA and Sacramento. We’d fill up our baskets with apples, pick out pumpkins to carve, and get to go through the country market and get hard candy and a candied apple to take home. I was particularly fond of root beer barrels.
Last year, I felt strangely restless and needed to get out of the city for the day. I suggested to my friends that we maybe go apple picking. We’re all city girls, but a half a day outside wouldn’t be so bad. After consulting the Google, we settled on Apple Holler, just over the border in Wisconsin.
We had such a good time that we went back last weekend and in addition to my apples, I grabbed a quart of their hand pressed cider. I probably didn’t need a whole quart, so as I was looking at the contents of my fridge, I thought, “cocktail time!”
This is a combination of two excellent fall flavors with Irish whiskey, which makes everything better.
Apple Cranberry Whiskey Smash
Makes One pint glass or Two highballs
¼ of a cup of fresh cranberries, rinsed
⅔ of a cup of apple cider
2 ounces of Jameson
½ can (4 ounces) of Sparkling Cranberry Juice
Ice – for shaker and for glasses
Supplies: cocktail shaker, muddler, stirring spoon, glass(es)
First, rinse your cranberries and drop them into the bottom of your shaker.
Then, smash them up with a muddler. Or if like me, you don’t have a muddler, you can use the back of an ice cream scooper. Cranberries are tougher than most other berries, so a normal spoon isn’t quite tough enough.
Add ice, apple cider, and whiskey.
Note: if you can’t find/don’t want to use sparkling cranberry juice and have flat juice, you can add it to the shaker at this point as well. I like using sparkling for a little bit of fizziness.
Put the lid on and shake for a solid 30 seconds.
Fill one pint glass (if you are me) with ice and pour.
Then top with sparkling cranberry juice.
Stir to make sure all the elements are mixed well.
Garnish with a couple of cranberries and enjoy.
This drink is just sweet enough to mask the bite of the whiskey, so if you make it in a big batch or have more than one, be careful! I think this would also be excellent as a warm drink if that’s your fall preference.