1 oz Applejack
1/4 oz Benedictine
3-4 dashes Boker's Bitters
~3 oz Clos Normandy sparkling cider
Stir the Applejack, Benedictine, and bitters with ice and strain into a champagne flute rimmed with sugar. Top with the sparkling cider.
Sunday night, Andrea and I were feeling a bit cooped up so after I put the final ingredients into my batch of Abbott's bitters (which will be done in 4-6 months after a long oak aging step), we took off to Central Square to visit Scott Holliday at Rendezvous. Scott had told me a week ago that he was using my Boker's in a new cocktail on his menu. It came up when we were talking about botanicals and about how some of them are rather astringent such as the ones in Boker's. When I stated that Ben at Drink commented that my Boker's tend to dry out the drinks they are put into, Scott replied that was part of the reason he chose those over the other bitters in his collection. So once at Rendezvous, I was rather excited to try Scott's creation, the Essence of Winter Sleep, which is a reference to Robert Frost's poem "After Apple-Picking".
The drink was indeed rather dry, evocative of a coming winter. This effect stemmed from the use of sparkling cider from Normandy which is a rather dry style unlike the British and some of the more popular American versions which can often be cloyingly sweet. The sugar crystals, the only hint of sweetness in the drink, were adhering to the glass in Hoar Frost style and helped to solidify the seasonal change symbolism. The Benedictine liqueur and the bitters added some interesting notes to the crisp apple flavors, but did not overwhelm the appleness itself as say cinnamon often does in even the lightest of mulled ciders.