Today’s drink, like last week’s, is a departure from the classic mixology we like to feature on this website, but it’s not a bad cocktail. The only reason its reputation isn’t as lofty as that of other sweet cocktails like the Cosmopolitan or the French Martini is that it incorporates sour apple schnapps as one of its main ingredients — and, like many fruit liqueurs used for flavoring, there just isn’t a good apple schnapps on the market. (Sex on the Beach suffers the same fate for its reliance on peach schnapps.)
Which is a shame, because the other ingredients in the cocktail could really elevate this to a modern classic. The whiskey used is usually a mid-range blended (Canadian) whisky — often Crown Royal, which is an exceptionally nice whiskey to be mixing with whatever cheap schnapps your favorite bar carries. And we’ve talked about how good mixers (like a quality cranberry juice) can elevate your cocktails. But still, we’re stuck with that sour apple schnapps.
As a result, the Washington Apple is usually grouped with the Red-Headed Sluts, Kamikazes, and other mixed shots ordered by young drinkers — college students, young professionals, and everyone else who’s looking to engage in some unsafe binge drinking. Which we would never condone here, of course. But we’re including the Washington Apple because, doubled up from its normal shooter size, it makes for a potent drink, with a smooth burn from the whiskey (maybe not so smooth, if you use something lesser than the Crown) to mellow out the faux-tart sweetness of the apple schnapps. It’s like a more grown-up version of the appletini. (Not that we think the appletini isn’t grown up. I’ve made plenty of tips selling appletinis to grown-ups. But that’s a discussion for another day.)
As for why the founding father’s name has been grafted onto this drink, I’ve got nothing. A true George Washington-approved Washington Apple would probably feature applejack, since the general was fond of the stuff, and approached the folks at Laird for their recipe at one point (at least, according to the company. And who would lie about Washington? Except for the guys who lied about him and the cherry tree, of course.) But I digress. Here’s your drink. Enjoy.
- 2 oz. blended whisky (Crown Royal is often used)
- 1 oz. sour apple schnapps (no recommendation there.)
- 1 oz. cranberry juice
- Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker over ice, and shake to combine and chill.
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and garnish with a cherry.