Liqueurs are an odd ingredients for me. I’m never quite sure what exactly people do with them. Sure, they’re cocktail ingredients, but people have to be using them for other things too, right? Do folks drink them straight? In coffee? Hot chocolate? I’m sure the list actually goes on and on. But, that leads me to a tough question, how can I best review liqueurs to give the best idea of how you’ll all use them? Well, tough questions aside, I’m going to do what I usually do. Give you a run down on the flavor alone and in a cocktail. If you’d like some other thoughts, shoot me a line.
Okay, on to Hiram Walker’s newest liqueur, Caramel Apple. Caramel Apple is definitely descriptive of the aroma. You get sweet apple (think gala or honey crisp) with a touch of tartness and a strong hit of the caramel. The flavor starts with a quick hit of bright apple followed by caramel that lingers for quite some time. The sweetness is powerful, it is a liqueur afterall, but it’s not overwhelming. Finally, since HW uses only natural flavors you don’t get the nasty aftertaste that’s common to other liqueurs.
So, what to do with it? I first tried one of the suggestions listed on the bottle. Equal parts Jameson and HW Caramel Apple yields a drink with a much tamer level of sweetness while maintaining the crisp apple and rich caramel flavors. Definitely a good start, but I wanted something more complex. Enter the Spiced Cider Old Fashioned.
Spiced Cider Old Fashioned (Cocktail Hacker)
2 oz Applejack 1 oz Hiram Walker Caramel Apple 1/2 oz Apple Juice 2 Dashes Fee's Barrel Aged Bitters Orange Twist
1) Combine Applejack, liqueur and juice in a glass with ice 2) Stir to combine 3) Garnish with a twist of orange
The flavor truly is reminiscent of mulled cider. With all those apple based ingredients saying that this drink has a solid apple flavor is a bit unnecessary though adding the touch of juice gives the apple flavor a boost of freshness. The bitters give the spice flavors good mulled cider is known for and harmonize with the apple. That said, you can (and should) substitute any bitters you like. The spicier the better. The sweetness is on par with that of a standard Old Fashioned, though if you’d like it dialed up or down play with the juice and liqueur levels. As my step-dad would say “It tastes like more.”
† The product reviewed here was provided to me as a free sample. If you’re wondering what that means check out my sample policy.