Underserved is a recurring Y&H feature highlighting the best cocktails you’re not ordering.
What: An Ode to an Appletini with Calvados apple brandy, Imbue vermouth, lemon, and sparkling cider
Where: Ripple, 3417 Connecticut Ave. NW
What You Should Be Drinking
Four cougars sitting in a bar that airs Sex in the City episodes instead of SportsCenter is the kind of scene that calls for a round of appletinis. The sugary drink assaults the eyes with its Nickelodeon slime green, thanks to Pucker Sour Apple Schnapps. This image is perhaps why few order one of Ripple bar manager Caroline Blundell’s favorite creations: Ode to an Appletini. “I’ve always wanted to poke fun at the cocktail, especially Zach Braff’s character on Scrubs,” she says. (Dr. John Dorian loved appletinis.) Fortunately, Blundell’s take couldn’t look or taste further from its stereotype. There’s no Pucker, but the line-up of ingredients—including Calvados apple brandy, Imbue vermouth, and cider—contributes to the sparse orders: “People would rather order something else than ask about them,” she says.
Why You Should Be Drinking It
There’s nothing aggressively sweet about the Ode to an Appletini. It’s dry and tart enough to fire up the parotid glands—the twinge you feel where your jawbone meets your ears after you take in something sour. A generous amount of lemon can take credit for the zip. Calvados, a storied apple brandy from Normandy, France, gives the cocktail its golden hue. The other two main ingredients are from Oregon. Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth is made from the state’s native pinot gris grapes aged in American Oak. Try it on its own, and the blast of botanicals might have you dabbing it on like perfume on date night. It mingles well with Oregon’s Anthem Hops dry cider. “As cider catches on more and more, people are asking for dryer styles,” Blundell says. Its dryness contributes to a balanced finished product that doesn’t cause cavities (unlike its inspiration).
Photo by Laura Hayes