Why It Works
- Warming the bourbon with caramel popcorn quickly infuses it with flavor.
- A pat of butter, an unordinary cocktail ingredient, adds a soothing richness that balances out the alcohol's punch.
Shige Kabashima of ROKC in New York concocts a caramel popcorn–infused bourbon that he lets rest in the freezer overnight, then skims and mixes with steaming-hot cider. For a quick and easy home version, I recommend skipping the freezer step and simply warming caramel popcorn (purchased is fine) with bourbon and straining it into a hot cider–filled mug. The pat of butter cuts the potency of the mix—the combination is just sweet and rich enough to be deeply warming on a snowy day, or on a day when you're missing the snow.
- For the Caramel Popcorn–Infused Bourbon:
- 1 cup caramel popcorn (1 ounce; 30g)
- 1 cup (240ml) bourbon
- For Each Drink:
- 2 1/2 ounces (75ml) hot apple cider
- 2 ounces (60ml) Caramel Popcorn–Infused Bourbon
- 1 small pat butter
To Make the Caramel Popcorn–Infused Bourbon: Warm bourbon and caramel popcorn in a small saucepan over very low heat (you don't want it to boil away), stirring frequently, for 15 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer and discard popcorn. Infused bourbon can be kept in the fridge up to one week.
For Each Drink, Microwave Method: Pour the cider into serving mug and warm until desired temperature, about 25-45 seconds, depending on the strength of your microwave. Add Caramel Popcorn–Infused Bourbon and stir. Top with pat of butter and serve immediately.
Stovetop Method: In a small saucepan, warm cider over low heat, five to 10 minutes. Preheat serving mug by filling with boiling water, then discard water. Add hot cider and Caramel Popcorn-Infused Bourbon to mug and stir. Top with pat of butter and serve immediately.