Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Cognac & Other Brandy Cocktails

Forbidden Fruit

Forbidden Fruit cocktail in a highball glass over ice, with a lemon half-wheel garnish balanced on top / Tim Nusog

Whenever the temperatures drop, it’s time to put away the Mojitos and spritzes and reach for drinks that complement cooler nights. Any spirit can be incorporated into a tasty fall cocktail, but certain bottles, like whiskey, dark rum and brandy, shine better than others. The Forbidden Fruit by bartending vet Aisha Sharpe combines apple brandy, Pimm’s No. 1, fresh lemon juice, a touch of simple syrup, and bitters, and is then topped with spicy ginger beer. It’s the equivalent of autumn in a glass but is still light and bright enough to whet your appetite for the season’s biggest meals.

Sharpe begins with Laird’s straight bottled-in-bond apple brandy, a 100-proof spirit made in New Jersey at the oldest licensed distillery in the U.S. Distilled entirely from apples, the rich and golden spirit is versatile in cocktails, with plenty of proof and distinct apple flavors.

Pimm’s No. 1 is a gin-based liqueur that was created in the 1800s by a London bar owner named James Pimm. It is most closely associated with the Pimm’s Cup, a refreshing cocktail that combines the liqueur with ginger ale, lemon juice and a medley of garnishes, including cucumber, strawberry and mint. In this case, Pimm’s No. 1 joins the apple brandy to create a bold and complex base.

Fresh lemon juice and simple syrup are a classic combination employed in countless drinks, providing citrus, sweetness and balance. From there, two kinds of bitters lend complexity, structure and aromatics. Angostura bitters have a bouquet of fruits, spices and herbs, while bright-red Peychaud’s bitters add some color alongside flavors of gentian and anise. 

The next step is to top the shaken and strained concoction with ginger beer. This brewed beverage is a centuries-old drink that features a strong ginger flavor and spicy kick. It’s noticeably different than ginger ale, which is essentially ginger-flavored soda. Choose ginger beer for the best and most flavorful result. Garnish with a lemon half-wheel and sip the Forbidden Fruit whenever you're craving crisp flavors.


  • 1 1/2 ounces Laird’s straight bottled-in-bond apple brandy

  • 1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1

  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 teaspoon simple syrup

  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters

  • Ginger beer, chilled, to top

  • Garnish: lemon half-wheel


  1. Add the Laird’s apple brandy, Pimm’s No. 1, lemon juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters and Peychaud’s bitters into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.

  2. Strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice.

  3. Top with the ginger beer.

  4. Garnish with a lemon half-wheel.