Apples do a lot of heavy lifting around the holidays. We bake them in pies, drink their fermented juice, and sip on spiced cider. Apple brandy is my favourite vehicle for this particular flavour, and when paired with Bénédictine liqueur, it makes a drink that tastes like a more alcoholic version of your favourite seasonal hard cider.
You can use a fancy apple brandy—like the French Calvados—but I prefer the more apple-forward (and sweeter) Applejack. Honey-sweetened Bénédictine brings some citrus notes, along with nutmeg, cedar, and a little sage. It’s like eating a slice of apple pie under a Christmas tree, and it is delicious. To make it, you will need:
45mL Applejack (or other apple brandy)
20mL fresh lemon juice
Add everything to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake until the shaker gets too cold to hold comfortably. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a strip of lemon zest.