Apple Butter & The Eden
Between Trapper Keepers, No. 2 pencils, spiral-bound notebooks, and scientific calculators, nothing says “Back to School” like the almighty apple. M. domestica is the most popular, and notorious fruit in American history. Adam and Eve screwed us forever with their infamous shaming in the Garden of Eden and the Greeks and Romans wrote about the apple symbolizing love and beauty. George Washington chopped down his father’s apple tree, and the legendary Johnny Appleseed sowed his apple seeds across the Midwest and Northeast.
Having been in school for the better part of twenty years, I decided to pay homage to the fruit that signifies health and knowledge. I have been fascinated with canning lately, and one of my favorite cookbooks, Jam It, Pickle It, Cure It: And Other Cooking Projects, inspired me to create an apple butter. Now, this apple butter could be used for spreading on toast, English muffins, bagels, and blah blah blah. Instead of spreading it, I have started shaking it into cocktails with one of the most traditional American spirits, Applejack.
I decided to create my own simple drink named, Eden. Applejack is reminiscent of a whiskey, and has soft notes of apple; the herbal Benedictine plays nicely off the potent, spicy aforementioned spirit; Cointreau brightens up the cocktail, and my homemade apple butter takes center stage, packing earthy apple flavor and pleasant grittiness. I was very surprised with how well the flavors and texture complemented each other.
- 4-5 lbs. apples (I used large Gala)
- 2 tbsp. (29ml) lemon juice
- 1 cup (70g) apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp. (9.8ml) whole cloves
- 0.5 tsp. (2.5ml) ground allspice
- 0.5 tsp. (2.5ml) ground cardamom
- 3 tbsp. (44.3ml) ground cinnamon [approximately, I just used a liberal free-pour]
- 1 tsp. (9.8ml) kosher salt
- 4 cups (280g) dark brown sugar
- 2 cups (140g) water
- 2 fl. oz. (59ml) Laird’s Applejack
- 0.75 fl. oz. (22.2ml) Benedictine
- 0.5 fl. 0z. (14.8ml) Cointreau
- 1 heaping bar spoon of homemade apple butter
- 1 scoop ice
- Cut the apples into quarters and throw them into the pot filled with water and apple cider vinegar.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately 20-30 minutes (or until apples are soft).
- Drain water from pot, then pour apples into food processor.
- Puree the fruit for about five minutes, adding in remaining ingredients.
- Pour puree into sieve over larger bowl and push through with the bottom of a ladle.
- Boil your Mason jars in a clean pot of water for about ten minutes to sterilize.
- Carefully ladle apple butter into jars while hot, then refrigerate.
- Add all ingredients to shaker and fill with ice.
- Shake for approximately ten seconds.
- Strain into chilled coupe glass.
- Garnish with apple slice.