Before serving a big Thanksgiving meal, there are two things you want to avoid: getting your guests (or yourself) too giddy on generous pours of wine or scotch; and killing the palates of all the assembled guests by doling out rich, sweet pre-prandial ice-breakers that blunt, rather than enhance, the appetite.
Here's a way to avoid these related hazards, while still serving something creative that will help get the conversation flowing. Created by Audrey Saunders, co-owner of Pegu Club and the mind behind some of the best cocktails in current circulation, Eve relies wholly on a base of dry vermouth, its herbal flavor enhanced by a slow maceration of fresh apples. Lower in alcohol than a cocktail or a scotch on the rocks, and with a complexity of flavor that sets the stage for the meal to come, Eve has a delicate character perfectly suited for the season.
- 1 liter Noilly Prat Extra Dry vermouth (make sure it’s a fresh, unopened bottle)
- 8 Macintosh apples
- 1 crab apple, for garnish
Using a mandolin, thinly slice the apples. Place the slices in a large jar and completely submerge with vermouth. Cover the jar and refrigerate for five days, gently agitating the mixture each day. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and rebottle, keeping the infusion refrigerated.
To serve, pour four ounces of the flavored vermouth into a coupe glass (a kind of champagne saucer). Thinly slice the crab apple on a mandoline, and float a slice in each drink as garnish.