These Whiskey and Apple Brandy Cocktails are the perfect holiday-inspired drinks! They’re strong, with just a hint of sweetness, and SO festive! Perfect for any holiday party!
Whiskey and Apple Brandy Cocktails with Whipped Cream
What can I say about these cocktails, except for MAKE THEM IMMEDIATELY. Ahh these are SO good. I’d describe them as a wintery take on the Moscow mule. They’re packed with apple brandy, a little bitterness from ginger beer, and a big kick-you-in-the=butt punch from whiskey. To balance the base of the cocktail, it’s topped off with a sweet whipped cream and bittersweet chocolate.
They’re actually inspired by a heavenly drink I had last week at a pop-up holiday bar here in Kansas City. I was sans kids, with the girls and ready to partake in the festivities. You may have heard of the bar, it’s called Miracle, and it actually started in NYC, and now has about 80 locations, so chances are, you have one close to you. It basically looks like Christmas exploded in a bar. There are over-the-top Christmas decorations, “All I Want for Christmas“ by Mariah blaring, and Christmas Vacation playing on every flat screen TV as far as the eye can see. Oh, and the best part? Every single cocktail is holiday or winter-inspired and served in adorable cups to match. Mine was so delicious, I just had to recreate it at home.
My version has all of the same flavors as the original, but also has a little bit of simple syrup to tame the whiskey down a bit, and a hint of lemon juice to brighten everything up. A splash of Pellegrino or any other sparkling water gives the drink a bit of effervescence, and ensures the drink isn’t pure liquor.
Ingredients in Whiskey and Apple Brandy Cocktails
- apple brandy = calvados
- ginger beer
- simple syrup
- Pellegrino (or any sparkling water)
- lemon juice
What whiskey should you use?
As far as whiskey goes, I’d use an above-average brand. I used a local whiskey, but go with your gut, whatever you yourself would drink is a safe bet. Kevin tried to make me use some crap whiskey we had in the basement because he didn’t think I’d know the difference. And since I’m indignant in his lack of faith in my taste-testing skills, I made him give me a blind taste test to see if I could choose the better of the two.
Morale of the story: If this non-whiskey drinking girl can pick out the top-shelf whiskey out, anyone can.
What is apple brandy and where do you get it??
I think there are several kinds of apple brandy out there, but I always go with Calvados. It’s relatively inexpensive (my bottle cost about $20), has a smooth taste I love, and pairs beautifully with a ton of other spirits and mixers. It’s also great to cook with (recipe coming soon!), so I love to have it on hand. Your closest liquor store should carry it.
Whipped Cream and chocolate on a cocktail??
I know it sounds….off to put whipped cream on top of a whiskey cocktail, but guys IT IS SO GOOD. I couldn’t find banana extract, so I just went with vanilla. Trust me, it’s equally as delicious. What the whipped cream does, is it sort of helps to tame the robustness of the whiskey and brandy. It’s like the perfect hit of sweetness to balance everything out. And the hint of dark chocolate on top, which seems like an afterthought, really adds to the overall flavor of the drink. Plus, it’s just so darn festive.
How do I serve Whiskey and Apple Brandy Cocktails at a party?
You could obviously make each drink individually, but what I like to do, is make up the base of the drink and put it in a big pitcher near the bar. I put out a big bucket of crushed ice, the whipped cream in a festive Santa mug or bowl, and then put a dark chocolate bar on the side with a grater. You can make a cute sign to inform guests how the drink should be concocted and you then don’t have to worry about a thing.
Just be warned. You may have to make a double or triple batch, because these things go FAST.
For more festive cocktails, check out these posts:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 20 ounces good quality whiskey
- 13 ounces calvados
- 12 ounces ginger beer
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 12 ounces Pellegrino
- dark chocolate for shaving
- crushed ice
- Add water and sugar to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and bring to a simmer. Simmer until sugar has dissolved. Pour in a measuring cup and cool.
- Add cream to a large bowl. Use a whisk to vigorously whisk the cream. Beat until peaks form. (You can also use a hand mixer or stand mixer). Add powdered sugar and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Add simple syrup, whiskey, calvados, ginger beer, lemon juice, and Pellegrino to a large pitcher. Mix to combine and chill.
- To assemble drinks: Fill a highball class with crushed ice. Pour cocktail on top. Top with whipped cream. Use a grater to shave chocolate on top.