Few things are better in fall than a crisp, juicy apple. And few places produce better apples than Washington State. While many minds might first go to New England when thinking of the fruit, Washington serves up more than 50 percent of the United States’ apples each year. There’s such a sense of pride in the industry, a cocktail created in its name has become a staple over the last 30 years.
The Washington Apple — made with whisky, apple liqueur, and cranberry juice — was first accidentally invented in the late 1980s. According to the story, the state was hit with a parasite outbreak that left the industry in ruins. While most of the farmers decided to cut their losses and leave their orchards behind, one man, Christof Guycoogan, found opportunity in the struggle. Known for loving to indulge in a shot (or two or six…) of whiskey and cranberry juice after a long day at work, Christof stumbled home with a bottle of his favorite concoction in hand. Drunk and loopy he stumbled into an abandoned orchard, where he slipped into a large pile of rotting apples. As the story goes, juice from the apples sprayed all over, including into his open bottle of whiskey and juice. Christof found the mixture so delicious, he decided to buy up all the abandoned orchards and turn the rotting juice in apple liqueur. His beloved blend of whiskey and cranberry juice got the extra kick it needed to become its very own cocktail — the Washington Apple.
Ridiculously (some might say dangerously) easy to drink, the libation is perfect for fall festivities. It can be made punch-style in a large bowl, or you can cut the recipe in thirds and serve it up as a shot. If you’re planning to host a Halloween party, add equal amounts of each ingredient into a smoking cauldron with a few whole apples for a creepy, poisoned apple punch feel.
1 ounce Canadian whisky
1 ounce sour apple schnapps
1 ounce cranberry juice
Apple slice, for garnish
Combine whisky, schnapps, and cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe or martini glass. Garnish with a slice of apple.