Orchard and Vineyard

Recently, our friends at The Tennessean asked us to come up with a fall appropriate cocktail for their Taste article “Halloween Party Food, All Grown Up”. In thinking a bit outside the box, we wanted to come up with a hearty and robust cocktail that would suffice the men of a house party but also provide some delicate nuances that a woman would enjoy as well. We instantly chose to mix our house made cider syrup with Armagnac. I personally love working with this base spirit, and for many reasons. The more robust older brother of cognac, Armagnac is a grape distillate from the Armagnac region of France. Where cognac became the popular brandy through the centuries, Armagnac was the tipple of choice for the distillers, their families and friends. The simile that I use is this- where cognac would be comparable to America’s bourbon, Armagnac would be rye whiskey. One is softer, where the other has more spice, more heat, and potentially more wood notes through aging. Armagnac is a wonderful addition to any bar, professional or home, to accomplish just this mission: to create a drink that’s distinctive and mature but, depending on its recipient, not as harsh. Below is our recipe, but try your hand at it too. A wonderful place to start your exploration is making a simple old fashioned or manhattan with Armagnac instead of your rye or bourbon. You might still prefer American distillates in these recipes but it’ll help you see how this French spirit works with bitters, dilution and other liqueurs.

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Orchard and Vineyard

2oz Armagnac
1oz Cider Syrup*
3/4oz Lemon juice
4 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake with ice, strain over clean ice in Old Fashioned glass garnish with orange zest.

*How To Make Cider Syrup:
2 cups apple juice
2 cups pear juice
1cup sugar
1 cup water
5 medium sized cinnamon sticks (broken into pieces)
1/2 oz of whole cloves
1/2 oz allspice
1 star anise

Let ingredients simmer for 30 minutes, add 4 ounces of rum (Demerara or black strap) continue simmering for another 10 minutes, strain and let cool.

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