An Apple a Day…

by Chef

With Halloween upon us, we are certainly amidst the fall season here in the Panhandle; albeit a very brief fall season, but nevertheless, it’s autumn. Hooray! I know that I’ve been ready for the summer-to-fall transition for quite some time now, and not just because it has been so intensely sweltering for months on end, but more importantly because this upcoming time of year is jam-packed with many of my favorite holidays. I know that our “seasons” here in Florida are more than a little crazy. The temperature and humidity never quite seem to match the climate we’re envisioning for the time of year we’re in. It’s not uncommon for it to be well over 80 degrees on Thanksgiving or Christmas; not to mention that sometimes a season drags on and on, while another might be merely a tiny blip on the radar that is the calendar year. Yet none of this means we should overlook getting into the festive spirit. This is the time of year for cooking, feasting, decorating, enjoying fellowship with our loved ones, and my very personal favorite … making cocktails and imbibing! There are a zillion and one options that come to mind when considering fall-inspired libations. Pumpkin, for example, is typically an ever-popular theme, but in my opinion there isn’t a flavor that’s more synonymous with this time of year than that of the apple. Are apples overdone? Maybe. It’s true we enjoy apples in a plethora of ways: we make sauce, cider, and even butter out of them; we put them in tarts, fritters, pies, and turnovers; we cover them with caramel and candy; we even make jams and jellies with them, but in my opinion there is no better way to enjoy the delicious flavors of ripe apples than in a well-balanced cocktail (and please get the appletini images out of your heads; that’s not what we’re talking about here). Recently the talented bar team at Jackson’s crafted a season-embodying concoction that they’ve dubbed “Apples to Apples.” The key element is a spiced-apple puree that we make using Honeycrisp apples (in my humble opinion the tastiest apple on the planet) for sweetness, balanced by the tartness of Granny Smiths. Then we spice it up a bit with a little sugar, cinnamon, vanilla bean paste, and apple cider vinegar. The base for this tasty beverage is Calvados - apple brandy from the French region of Lower Normandy. The Calvados and apple puree are mixed together with fresh citrus, strained into an absinthe-misted glass, and topped off with Prosecco. The undertone of anise and the herbal and floral character of the absinthe play perfectly with the flavors of apples, pears, apricots, nuts, and even butterscotch from the apple brandy. Crisp and aromatic Prosecco adds just the right amount of bubbly effervescence and added complexity of peach and citrus, plus more apple, pear, and apricot. The result is a harmonious blend of flavors that makes me smile at every sip. Even though it’s still “shorts and flip-flops” weather outside, inside Jackson’s it is autumn all the way. Stop by the bar and enjoy this instant “fall classic.” We hope to see you soon!


Apples to Apples
1 ½ oz. Calvados (or your choice of apple brandy)
2 oz. house-made spiced-apple puree
½ oz. fresh-squeezed citrus (blend of equal parts lemon and lime juices)
2 oz. Prosecco (to fill)



Combine spirit, puree, and citrus with ice in a mixing tin and shake. Strain into an absinthe-misted martini glass and top with Prosecco. Garnish with an apple slice (optional: cinnamon-sugar rim).