The Big Apple

Sometimes, you want to put a twist on a classic. Then there are times, you want to take inspiration from a classic. Call it an homage. That’s exactly what we have here. Start with a great drink: the Manhattan. Then take said drink and adjust it to make it apple centric and you have a whole new drinking experience: The Big Apple!

You make the traditional, old school Manhattan with rye whisky, sweet vermouth and bitters. It’s an exercise in simplicity and balance (as it is with most cocktails). I took inspiration from this and, as I’ve been on a bit of an apple kick lately, wanted to tweak it apple-y.

berentzen apple bourbon Bushel and Barrel

Here’s where the fun steps in to join the party.

First, replace the rye with an apple bourbon. You heard me right, an apple bourbon. If you’re going to go with one, go with a good one: Bushel and Barrel. It’s a lighter rendition of bourbon thanks to the addition of apple liqueur to the mix. Honestly, my father who isn’t much of a drinker (his drink has always been a tequila sunrise, but has of late discovered rum and coke thanks to his eternal love of all things Coca-Cola) could drink this on ice and be a happy camper.

berentzen Bushel and Barrel

Then, replace the sweet vermouth with an apple liqueur (I did say this The Big Apple, right?). Do what I did and go with the Berentzen Apple Liqueur. As they’ve been around for 250 years and produced the first modern liqueur, you know you’re getting a good one.

Finally, we replace the standard bitters with cherry bitters — for this, I went with Woodford Reserve Spiced Cherry Bitters.

stir cocktailpour cocktail

When you put all of these ingredients together, you get a beautiful combination of apples that isn’t too sweet, bitter or rough around the edges. This is a great fall sipper that’ll help you ease the day away into lovely apple bliss.

The Big Apple
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Cook time: 
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Serves: 1
  • 4 oz. apple bourbon
  • 1 oz. apple liqueur
  • Few dashes cherry bitters
  • Maraschino cherry
  • Glass type: Cocktail
  1. Put all of your ingredients in your mixing glass.
  2. Stir.
  3. Yes, stir, don't shake.
  4. Unless you want a cloudy, funky apple.
  5. Then by all means, shake.
  6. For the rest of you, stir.
  7. Pour into your glass.
  8. Garnish with the traditional maraschino cherry.
  9. Enjoy the apple goodness.

big apple cocktail