Tuesday, November 3, 2009


2 oz White Horse Blended Scotch
1 barspoon Roxbury Russet Apple Butter (see text below)
2 dash Fee's Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters

Stir in a rocks glass with a large ice chunk. Garnish with a sage leaf.

Two nights ago, Andrea and I went to Drink and sat at the ice bar where John Gertsen was tending. Although it was Tiki Sunday, the drink that John suggested that I try first did not follow the night's theme. However, it was one that Misty Kalkofen recently created for a dinner at Eastern Standard in honor of Jill DeGroff's new book, Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar. The star ingredient of this Fall cocktail was apple butter made from Roxbury Russet apples which are believed to be the oldest cultivar of apples grown in the United States. The apples originated not too far from the bar in Roxbury, now a suburb of Boston, during the mid 1600s. The drink is named after the cultivar's nickname of "leathercoat" due to the apple's rough, russeted skin. As for the apple butter recipe, John seemed to suggest that Misty followed a standard recipe and used shredded apples, sugar, cider vinegar, and some salt and cooked it down to the consistency of maple syrup. John stated that they used the peels which are rich in flavor but left out the cores which contain a large part of the pectin. And note, there are commercially available apple butters on the market if you do not feel like making your own batch (although you will have less choice in the apple varietal).
The Leathercoat had a rich Scotch and cinnamon nose with hints of chlorophyll from the sage leaf garnish. The apple butter contributed a considerable mouthfeel to the drink and worked rather well flavor-wise with the Scotch and cinnamon (from the bitters). Overall, the Leathercoat was a delightful Old-fashioned style cocktail with a pleasant degree of smokiness, spice, and tart apple goodness which worked well with the autumn night.

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