I think it’s officially time to break out the whiskey. The temperature has finally dipped for the season, and I wish I had a fireplace to sit in front of…with a fur blanket…and a whiskey cocktail to sip on. I mean, I have switched over to the pea coat which always triggers the cozy vibes.
I only have a radiator to warm my feet in front of, but I do have this apple butter old fashioned to get going with! Silver linings, right? And it’s actually kind of perfect timing because hopefully you’ve made this slow-cooker apple butter from your apple-picking adventures, and now your reasons for entertaining are hitting peak. Cocktail party season is about to kick off.
This old fashioned came about during my time at grad school. My best friend, Charlene, and I would throw impromptu snack and wine parties (for ourselves) to take our minds off of lab work. It eventually evolved into cocktail experimentation. Because why not test out fun flavors and liquors? She was a big fan of Irish whiskey after studying abroad there, so we created a play on the old fashioned with apple cider to get in the spirit of fall. It was a winner. The next year, when I made apple butter for the first time, I had so much extra sitting in my fridge that I just threw it into the drink. Utter perfection!
Seriously make this now.
Obviously I’ve raved about the wonderful aspects and making of Irish whiskey, but I also have the secrets and science to distillation too. I wrote an article for Edible Long Island recently, so be sure to check out that magic!
To go along with the old fashioned, I made some spiced, candied nuts. They are utterly easy to make, and they look so festive in a bowl. Also, the flavors are complementary to the drink. That ginger! Your friends and family will be incredibly impressed with your skills.
Of course, you can always make this stuff for yourself and be the coolest human being alive. Yes yes yes.
I don’t know what you’re waiting for. Get going!
Recipe note: if you don’t have apple butter around, you can make this drink with a spoonful of brown sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, and a bit of extra apple cider. It would be so fun to make a rim of cinnamon and a bit of nutmeg for super festive feelings. Thanksgiving drinks on lock.
Apple Butter Old Fashioned
⅓ cup whiskey (I used Jameson)
⅓ cup apple butter (homemade or store-bought)
1 cup apple cider
- Put a couple handfuls of ice in a cocktail mixer. Add the whiskey, apple butter, bitters, and apple cider. Stir vigorously with a stirrer or tall spoon for 20 seconds.
- Pour into two glasses, straining the ice as you do. I like to add a couple ice cubes to each glass to keep it cool, but not make it so cold that I can’t taste the aromatics of the drinks. See above for recipe notes on variations. Enjoy!
I used a mixture of almonds, pecans, and hazelnuts, but I think this would be amazing with all pecans. Or any other mix of nuts you enjoy!
Adapted from Martha Stewart
8 ounces unsalted almonds, raw
4 ounces unsalted roughly-chopped pecans, raw
4 ounces unsalted hazelnuts, raw
¾ cup minced candied ginger
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons coarse salt
¼ teaspoon ground pepper
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
¼ cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
- Preheat oven to 350⁰F. Set an oven rack in the middle of the oven, and prepare a baking sheet by lining with a sheet of parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine nuts, candied ginger, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper, and sesame seeds. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, and cook until the sugar dissolves, stirring occasionally.
- Pour the sugar syrup over the nut mixture and toss well to combine. Arrange in a single layer on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until nuts are golden, about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool completely on the sheet. When at room temperature, break into bite size pieces and serve.