Residents of Sacramento know that every autumn, it’s that time again to drive up the road to Apple Hill and visit all the merchants and sample their goods. I always buy a Dutch Apple Pie, grab the best apple fritters known to man over at High Hill, and pick up some handcrafted items from a booth or two. It dawned on me this year that the only thing missing was a mixed drink that tastes just like homemade apple pie. After hours of scouring the Web and experimenting with different formulas, I settled on an Apple Pie Cocktail recipe that lives up to the hype.
Apple Pie Cocktail
- 1 ½ oz apple cider
- ½ oz spiced rum
- ½ oz green apple vodka
- ½ oz sweet vermouth
- Splash of brandy
- 3 dashes grenadine
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Garnish of maraschino cherry or apple wedge (optional)
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, pour all liquid ingredients. Shake and strain into a martini glass and garnish with a maraschino cherry or green apple wedge. Drink and enjoy!
You can substitute vanilla vodka for green apple vodka if that’s all you have on hand. You can also use vanilla liquor in place of the green apple vodka, but personally, I like the crispness that the apple vodka adds. It is very important to use sweet vermouth and not dry vermouth in this drink; it won’t taste quite right otherwise. Vermouth is like three bucks, so go ahead and invest in it.
This particular Apple Pie Cocktail recipe is a quick one to mix. It shouldn’t take you more than two minutes or so to assemble this drink. After trying a dozen or so different Apple Pie cocktail recipes, I kept coming back to this one as the genuine article. This Apple Pie mixed drink tastes more like a real apple pie, unlike other recipes that are closer to an Apple Martini. The Apple Pie Cocktail is less about the sour and more about the sweet, but it still has a range of flavors. Definitely a slept on drink recipe that you can impress your friends with.
A Brief Guide to Apple Hill for Non-Locals
Apple Hill is a whole area of ranches, farms, wineries, and tourist attractions off of Highway 50 going towards Lake Tahoe away from Sacramento. It’s not far at all for most people in the Sacramento area to drive, not more than an hour from downtown. You’ll start seeing exit signs around Pollock Pines, Camino, and Placerville. There are tons of places I haven’t even been yet, as there are over fifty ranches associated with Apple Hill now. Although most of the stops are open year round, the busy season has to be considered the early autumn until winter, because of the harvest and the holiday season. In addition to apple farms, there are wineries, pumpkin patches, Christmas tree farms, artisan vendors and flea markets, and at least one microbrewery. In a typical day, you can probably hit up to five places, but I would go out of your way to visit High Hill Ranch. For me, I’m trying to figure out how they fry these massive apple fritters (which are the best I’ve ever had) without any grease soaking through. It’s simply uncanny. There are awesome homemade pies, cider, and handcrafted goods at pretty much every stop; so be sure to grab the family or some friends and make a day of it at least once a year.