February 4, 2014

Swill, Part Two - Turning Lemons into Apple Pie!

Last week we shared one of life's lessons.  Sometimes you pay a lot of money for a really terrible bottle of whiskey.  It sucks.  You feel a bit robbed.  Perhaps we can take solace in the hope that we've spared one or two of our readers from suffering a similar fate.  If our warning didn't get to you in time, or if you find yourself in possession of a similar unwanted and undrinkable bottle, today's post is for you.

Baked Apple Rye

Well, call this SmokyBeast's first original recipe.  It's actually a combination of two ideas we stole.  We've been reading this awesome blog Boozed & Infused, and - of course - it's had us dying to infuse something.  So we looked up their whiskey recipes and found this one for apple pie bourbon using Granny Smith apples, vanilla beans, and cinnamon sticks.  This sounded pretty good, but we were thinking about how to perhaps "Lagasse it" (aka Turn It Up A Notch, Bam!).  A few days later we were talking with our resident rye historian Josh Feldman from The Coopered Tot who let it spill that he had been wanting to do a new take on an old moonshiner's tradition of mixing raw spirit with apple cider - a brown sugar baked apple whiskey infusion.  We figured we'd pilfer and combine these two ideas and make Baked Apple Rye.


1 Bottle Redemption Barrel Proof Rye
4 Granny Smith Apples
Brown Sugar
Vanilla Beans
Cinnamon Sticks
1 Used (& washed) Pasta Jar


Core apples, leaving the bottom intact, and place in a baking pan.  Coat the inside of each apple generously with brown sugar (around one tablespoon per apple).  Pour a little water into the bottom of the pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for about half an hour.


You only need about an apple and a half for the infusion, so you'll need to eat two of the apples.  They're really good with vanilla ice cream.  Cut the other two apples in quarters and loosely fill the pasta jar.  Slice one whole vanilla bean in half and add it to the jar.  Add two cinnamon sticks.  Pour about an inch of the syrupy liquid from the baked apples into the jar as well.  Then fill to the top with whiskey (save the bottle for the final product).  If you've spilled any brown sugar or have some left in the spoon, it can't hurt to add that as well (or just put in a couple of teaspoons for good measure).

We let the concoction infuse for about a week.  You could probably drink it after a few days or leave if for as long as several weeks.  Shake it up every day or two.  When it's ready to go, filter it through cheese cloth or heat it up in the microwave and use a coffee filter.  Pour it back into the rye bottle and you're ready to go with your infusion.  Now that you've turned your nightmare into a delicious bottle of Baked Apple Rye, it's time to make cocktails!

The Baked Apple Rye Old Fashioned

Chill your cocktail glass.  Pour your Baked Apple Rye into a pint glass or cocktail shaker over lots of ice.  Add bitters.  We used two bitters - Angostura & Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters.  If the infusion isn't sweet enough on it's own, add simple syrup or sugar to taste.  Stir, strain, and serve.

The Result

Ta-da!  We've turned our sorrow into the most delicious beverage of all time!  It's super strong (basically chilled barrel proof hooch), but it's got all that lovely cinnamon, brown sugar, apple, and vanilla.  Maybe it was all the hard work we put into it, but this is the best cocktail we've had in ages.  Enjoy.



  1. Awesome that it turned out! As my son used to say: "Daddy ficked it". I call that finding the silver lining. To give credit where it's due my angle was to upgrade the old moonshiner's recipe also called "Apple Pie".

    1. It was an inspired suggestion Josh! I think we should also make a few gallons of real apple pie moonshine and jar it up in case we run out of whiskey!