It’s not Autumn, and I’m not in New England, but this cocktail still works on a number of levels. While this may sound like a book or movie title, it’s actually an adult libation we found in our copy of America’s Test Kitchen’s book “How to Cocktail.” They point out that apple and sage are a pairing that taste as if they were always meant to be together, and that’s why this drink works. The piney, slightly astringent notes of the sage are mellowed by the bright sweetness of apples.
A couple of sage leaves are muddled in maple syrup to infuse with herbal flavor. Apple cider’s sweet, slightly fermented flavor adds even more depth, as does the smoky, caramelized bourbon. Keeping with the apple theme, a bit of cider vinegar with its bracing acidity adds another touch of savoriness to balance things out.
Autumn in New England Cocktail
- 6 sage leaves, plus small sprigs for garnish
- 1 Tbsp. maple syrup
- 4 oz. bourbon
- 2 oz. apple cider
- 1⁄2 oz. cider vinegar
- Add sage leaves and syrup to base of cocktail shaker and muddle until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add bourbon, apple cider, and vinegar, then fill shaker with ice. Shake until just combined and chilled, about 5 seconds
- Double-strain cocktail into old-fashioned glasses half-filled with ice, or containing one large cube.
- Garnish with sage sprigs and serve.