Apple Crisp Cocktail from Union Square Cafe

[Photograph: Wes Rowe]

This autumnal highball from Union Square Cafe in NYC brings together Laird's bonded apple brandy with bourbon that's been infused with spicy green cardamom pods. It's lightly spicy but still refreshing.

Notes: We used Buffalo Trace bourbon, but you can use whichever drinkable bourbon you have on hand. Don't infuse the bourbon for longer than directed, or it will take on much too aggressive a flavor. This recipe makes 1 cup infused bourbon, so you can save it in a sealed container for future cocktails.

To make honey syrup, stir together 1 ounce boiling water with 1 ounce honey until dissolved. Let cool before using.

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Apple Crisp Cocktail from Union Square Cafe

About This Recipe

Yield:makes 1 cocktail
Active time:15 minutes
Total time:1 hour 45 minutes
Special equipment:Cocktail shaker and strainer, resealable jar, fine-mesh strainer


  • For the Cardamom-Infused Bourbon:
  • 1/4 cup green cardamom pods
  • 1 cup bourbon, such as Buffalo Trace
  • For the Cocktail:
  • 1 ounce Laird's 100 proof apple brandy (not Applejack)
  • 1/2 ounce Cardamom-Infused bourbon
  • 3/4 ounce fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • 3/4 ounce honey syrup (see note above)
  • Club soda
  • Garnish: lemon twist


  1. 1

    To make the Cardamom-Infused Bourbon: Place ΒΌ cup cardamom pods in a resealable jar. Crush with a wooden spoon to crack about half the pods (this can also be done in a mortar and pestle.) Top with 1 cup bourbon, shake, infuse for 1 1/2 hours at room temperature. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, discard solids, and re-bottle bourbon.

  2. 2

    To make the cocktail: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add apple brandy, cardamom-infused bourbon, lemon juice, and honey syrup. Shake until well chilled, about 15 seconds.

  3. 3

    Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Top with soda and garnish with lemon twist.


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