Normally when bartenders create a drink in the spirit of the fall season they turn towards darker spirits, favoring whiskeys, dark rums and brandies, especially pear and apple brandy. However, that’s not always the case, as the Autumn Apple exemplifies. This gin drink comes from bartender Chris Chamberlain and in it autumn’s favorite flavor takes center stage with a festive mix of apple cider, gin, honey syrup and cinnamon.
For the base spirit, Chamberlain uses Bluecoat American dry gin. Rather than the traditional London dry gin with its juniper-heavy flavor profile, the Pennsylvania-made Bluecoat American gin has more citrus and floral notes, and holds back on the juniper. Trouble is, the copper-distilled Bluecoat American can be difficult to acquire outside of Pennsylvania. If you’re unable to get your hands on it, you can switch it out for a more traditional London dry, or try the Autumn Apple with other styles of gin like Aviation, another American dry gin that leans less on juniper. These brighter, more citrus-forward gins like the Bluecoat will pair better with the apple cider, which notably should be a fresh-squeezed, and not a sparkling, alcoholic cider. This will better evoke the lush flavors of autumn, regardless of the time of year the cocktail is being imbibed.
Essentially an apple cider take on a gin sour, the drink also calls for lemon juice, while honey syrup takes the place of simple syrup. This, too, gives the drink a darker, more autumnal tone without making it overly sweet or cloying. Cinnamon—a fairly uncommon cocktail ingredient outside of the cinnamon syrups often used in Tiki drinks—adds even more warmth and depth. But it is important to use restraint when adding a pinch, as too much can overpower the drink and make it cloudy. Some aromatic bitters complete the drink; the most popular brand by far is Angostura, but you can always try some other aromatic bitters, with a broad array being available these days.
Add the gin, apple cider, lemon juice, honey syrup, aromatic bitters and cinnamon to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain using a handheld strainer into a coupe glass.
Express the oil from a lemon twist and garnish with the twist.