december 2, 2016
Forget everything you ever heard or read about moonshine. Forget the still-in-the-woods scenario, the comical backwoods fellers trying to stay one step ahead of the revenuers (think Andy of Mayberry), the shadowy figures skulking around parking lots peddling their hootch.
Think instead of the smooth liquor crafted by Richmond’s own Belle Isle Craft Spirits , made from organic corn and making its mark on craft cocktails in this city revered for its good eats. What precedes delicious plates of food? Unique cocktails, that’s what. I’ll confess that anything smoky or spicy hot catches my eye on the cocktail menu, and now that I have been pleasantly introduced to our local moonshine, my tastebuds will tingle when I see Belle Isle’s Honey Habanero moonshine swimming prettily in a glass. Can’t wait to try the Pink Grapefruit.
For today’s seasonal craft cocktail, we’re taking advantage of the waning local apple cider season and the upcoming season of Citrus on Parade. Ever hear of things being compared incongruously as apple to oranges? Here these fruits coexist peacefully, married by the moonshine preacher and kept from being too sweet by a dab of pure apple cider. If you’re pressed for time, you can skip the step of allowing the fruit to chill in apple cider for a few days and simply use plain cider (purchased spiced cider could work, but its spice panel that may detract from the pure, clean taste of the moonshine).
For glassmates, I chose orange liqueur as well as Domaine de Canton, a delicious ginger liqueur with flavor complementary to the fruits. A teaspoon of pure apple cider vinegar tames the sweet factor and tickles the nose and palate. Holiday gift idea here : a bottle of Belle Isle Premium Moonshine, with this recipe attached. Tis the season for entertaining.
Apples and Oranges Cocktail
makes one cocktail – fruited cider will make many more
3 cups fresh apple cider
one crisp apple, unpeeled and sliced thinly
one navel orange, sliced thinly
1 ½ ounce moonshine – I like Belle Isle Premium
½ ounce orange liqueur
½ ounce ginger liqueur
1 teaspoon pure apple cider vinegar – I like Bragg’s
optional garnishes : thinly sliced apple, orange zest
- Mix apple cider with sliced apple and orange and allow to chill in the fridge for 2-4 days for maximal flavor; any not used for the cocktail would be refreshing with seltzer or on its own.
- In cocktail shaker or glass jar, mix 2 ounces of the fruited cider along with the remaining ingredients and serve over ice.
- Garnish as desired.