Using seasonal ingredients is one of the joys and challenges of cooking. After going apple picking at Mountain Orchards a few weeks ago, even though I only got a small bag of apples, I have been diligently working through my stockpile. I put them in this cranberry compote, baked them into a cake along with a healthy dose of bourbon, and now, I’m serving them in a cocktail.
I love the combination of apples and thyme in food and thought I would try this delectable pairing in a cocktail.
Calvados is an apple brandy from the Normandy region of France. It has an authentic apple flavour that isn’t too spicy or cloyingly sweet.
When I was shopping at Appetite for Books in Montreal – a bookstore that only sells cookbooks and culinary literature – the saleswoman asked me if I owned The Flavor Bible. I had no idea what she was talking about. She explained that the book is a guide to culinary creative – it lists pretty much every ingredient under the Sun and then suggests flavour pairings. Flavours that are particularly well-matched are listed in bold, all caps.
Luckily, a close friend gifted me The Flavor Bible for my birthday and I often consult it when I’m trying to come up with original recipes, for cocktails or otherwise. When I looked up “apples” in the flavor bible, I learned that they pair exceptionally well with dark rum, lemon and honey. With that information at hand, I experimented with different combinations of honey, rum, apple brandy, lemon and a hint of thyme until I came up with this winning recipe.
- 1 1/2 oz dark rum
- 1/2 oz Calvados
- 1/2 oz honey thyme syrup
- 1/2 oz lemon juice
- 1 slice apple for garnish
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup water
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass filled halfway with ice. Stir for 45 seconds. Strain into an ice filled rocks glass. Garnish with an apple slice.
Combine honey, water and thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer gently for 5 minutes, stirring regularly until honey is dissolved.
Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes - allowing the thyme to steep. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Syrup with keep for up to 2 weeks in an airtight container in the fridge.