Fall is always a time to reconnect with friends and family who we didn’t get to see in the height of summer. This week, an old shipmate and friend paid us a visit and that was occasion enough to make a festive and fun fall cocktail.
We call this drink a Rockland Sunset in our house for the way the layers settle to resemble a sunset sky. Typically, I use bourbon & and an orange-cardamom simple syrup, but in the spirit of the season I substituted a homemade apple cider syrup and a nice bottle of rum we had set aside for a special occasion. The layering effect is created by thickening the rum or whiskey with simple syrup so it settles to the bottom of the glass. By carefully pouring the floating layer over a spoon, you can create a cocktail that is visually-interesting and dynamic as the ratio of wine to the base layer changes.
I started by making a simple syrup by cooking down apple cider from Beth’s Farm in Warren with brown sugar and cinnamon. I made the simple syrup thicker than I might otherwise have so that the wine would eventually be able to float on the surface. For this drink, I used Eight Bells Rum as the base. Eight Bells Rum is a gold rum that is aged 3 years in bourbon barrels right here in Portland, Maine by New England Distilling. I chose this rum because it tastes like mulling spices and finishes like caramel which pairs perfectly with my apple cider simple syrup. The red wine on the surface is Rogue Admirals Red Blend. Rogue Admiral is a South African wine, but you can substitute any dry red wine for the same effect.
I combined 2 oz. of rum with ¾ oz. of the apple cider syrup and ½ oz. of lemon juice in my shaker and shook it with ice until it was combined. I poured that into a rocks glass over a whiskey rock. To get the layering effect, I carefully poured 2 oz. dry red wine over the back of a spoon. The thick mixture on the bottom is heavy enough that the red wine remains on the surface. I garnished this mixed drink with a wheel of apple dipped in cinnamon sugar.
This drink was the perfect way to kick-off our visit, and we will definitely be making these again soon.