Where is the most beautiful place to be in October? We're pretty sure it's the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York. Its hills turn red, orange, and yellow. Wood smoke drifts from the little towns that line the its shores. And its farms are abuzz with end of year harvests. It's absolutely gorgeous and only an hour's train ride from Manhattan.
In honor of its stunning scenery and all the great memories we have of autumns spent in it, we created a cocktail that captures the spirit of the Hudson Valley in October. Named "the Demeter" after the Roman goddess of the harvest, the drink exudes the tastes and smells of the region's apple and pear orchards. And like October itself, the Demeter is cool, playful, a little mysterious, and laced with unexpected bursts of intensity.
The particular mix of liquor and cider that we use has both the crispness of fresh apples and pears, as well as the spicy sweetness of the warm baked goods that these fruits eventually make their way into.
Whiskey is at the heart of the Demeter, and what makes this drink especially reflective of the Hudson Valley is that we used Denning's Point Beacon Whiskey. Produced in Beacon, NY, this whiskey is smooth and mellow with soft touches of vanilla, maple, and charred oak. Sipping it, we were reminding of apple turnovers and cream.
To add crispness, we used pear schnapps from St. George. The key here is to use real schnapps (brandy, whatever you want to call it) from a small producer, and not the syrupy sweet stuff found in most liquor stores. Apple cider, also from a small producer and not a mass market brand is also important. The cider tames the booziness but fresh cider keeps the sweetness to a minimum.
Ingredients for 1 Drink
- 1 ounce Denning's Point Beacon Whiskey (or another good quality whiskey with a similar flavor profile)
- 1/2 ounce pear schnapps. Austrian producers are our favorites
- 1.5 (or 2 depending on the desired strength) ounces fresh and cold apple cider.
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 splash orange bitters
In a champagne flute or cocktail coupe, add the whiskey, schnapps, cider, and bitters. Stir with a cinnamon stick and serve immediately.