Something tells us that every city centre might feel a little heart-breakingly empty this Halloween with so many of our bars and nightclubs closed and trick or treating at a bit of a standstill. But not to worry, you don’t need a party or a bustling drinks venue to have a good time because we have compiled some great Halloween cocktail recipes that don’t need a star bartender to mix.
Let us introduce ‘Bobbing for Apples’, an autumnal treat that will have you questioning the next morning “how you possibly managed to drink so many?”. What makes this cocktail shine is the homemade spiced apple syrup that adds depth and warmth to this drink.
Go Local or Forage Your Own
An autumn harvest wouldn’t be complete without a basket full of crab apples, which you can find in abundance throughout the UK. If you aren’t lucky enough to have an apple tree in your own, or a neighbour’s garden, you can find crab apple trees in hedgerows, fields, parks and woodlands. There are also some great charities like The Orchard Project and Orchard Revival who fund and support community driven orchards, so check out their websites to see if there are any in your local area.
When we refer to a ‘crab apple’, we aren’t referring to a specific species of apple. Crab apple is a broad term given to wild apples that are small in size. They can be a range of different colours from dark red to light greens and yellows and their leaves are oval shaped with serrated edges and pointed tips. The trees themselves never really surpass 20 ft and blossom in the spring with flowers that, like the fruit range in different colours but are usually pink or white.
Spiced Apple Syrup Recipe
To create our spiced apple syrup, we use apples that grow on the grounds surrounding our Strathmashie distillery and a mouth-watering spice mix made up of fresh cinnamon, cloves and caraway seeds, as well as a splash of Taylor & Colledge Vanilla Bean Extract.
Cocktail syrups are so simple to make and are a great addition to any home bar. Bartenders utilise all sorts of homemade and branded syrups to add sweetness to their drinks as well as balancing, complimenting and enhancing the cocktails flavour profile. When creating any cocktail syrup, you are going to use a ratio of one-part water to one-part sugar (1:1) and while white granulated sugar is widely used, you can experiment with others to achieve different flavours and consistencies. Add your water, sugar, fruits and spices to a pan. Boil, simmer, cool and strain. It’s as simple as that.
For this recipe we used:
1 x apple
1 x 3½ inch cinnamon stick
2 x whole cloves
½ x teaspoon vanilla extract
½ x teaspoon caraway seeds
1 x cup granulated sugar
1 x cup water
Cut your apple into slices and measure out spices, water and sugar, add all ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring occasionally. After mixture starts to bubble turn down to a low-medium heat and simmer for five minutes.
Leave to cool and keep tasting to see how flavours are infusing. Once happy with the flavour, strain out spices and apple slices and transfer to a bottle or jar.
‘Bobbing For Apples’ Recipe
Now that you have made your syrup it is now time to source the rest of your ingredients, we have used Daffy’s London Dry Gin, fresh lemon juice and Cawston Press Cloudy Apple Juice but you could also use their Cloudy Apple Soda too if you wanted to add a touch of fizz to your drink. We have chosen Cawston’s because they use a variety of apples such as Cox’s Orange Pippin, Bramley and Braeburn for depth, flavour and sweetness and their juices are pressed, natural and not from concentrated; making them a perfect companion for our Gin!
50ml x Daffy’s London Dry Gin
25ml x Fresh lemon juice
25ml x Spiced apple syrup
Top up with Cawston press or sparkling.
We have also garnished with a cinnamon stick and some apple slices, as well as, crushed ice and miniature apples using a melon baller.
Prep miniature apples by carving out an apple with a melon baller, add to a short glass.
In a cocktail shaker add gin, lemon and spiced apple syrup, shake vigorously until cocktail shaker is too cold to touch and is covered in condensation.
Strain into short glass over apple balls. Add crushed ice and stir with spoon to mix apples and ice. Top up with choice of Cawston juice and garnish with a cinnamon stick and apple balls and slices.
…Et Voilá! Simple and downright delicious. Enjoy!