Apple Pie Martinis

I thought that it would be fun to start off this week by telling you a bit about what we did on the weekend!  Whee!  Aren’t you excited?  You can hardly WAIT?!  I know, I know.  So we ran some errands, enjoyed the company of a couple friends, ate a lot of food including a phenomenal cheese course, and drank Apple Pie Martinis.  Lots of Apple Pie Martinis.  I won’t tell you how many because my mother reads this blog and will think she reared a troubled daughter with devastating alcohol dependency issues that are rapidly ruining her health and future potential (HI MOM!!!!).

So, here’s the thing.  You know how everybody has their culinary Achilles heel? That one thing which you simply CANNOT make well (or possibly at all) regardless of how hard you try, how much unsolicited and questionable expert advice you receive, and how many different methods you use to skin that particular cat?  Oh, by the way, if ‘skinning cats’ is your Achilles heel, I would prefer not to hear about it….in fact, now I’m thinking about it and I’m getting upset.  JEEZ LOUISE.  Sick bastards and their cat skinning.  Alright, let me shake that one off and try to be more pleasant – which is a stretch, I know.  

Astra Libris was talking about culinary nemeses a few days ago and I thought that I could pick out my immediate two (chocolate sauce/ganache and omelets) but then I had the sickening realization that there were a lot more than two.  Pie crust, for example.  I have used easily 15 recipes for pie crust, I try not to touch it with my sweaty little paws, and the butter and water are so ice cold that you could get frostbite just looking at them – but to no avail.  I can make superlative and feather light cakes, but pies…stupid pies…. Every pie crust I’ve made has been chewy and dense, fallen apart before it could be rolled, or shrunk to a ridiculously wee size to the point where I’m sure somebody was chanting “Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice” in the background.  Sigh.  What a hard life I have.   It’s alright though, all is not lost when a pie needs to be made (and no, I do NOT use Tenderflake frozen crusts, thank you very much!  I do have SOME pride!!) because MIKE just happens to make the lightest, flakiest, tastiest pie crust ever.  I knew I kept him around for more than just a piece of tail and the mortgage contributions.

Anyway, I’m starting to Atwood over here, so I’ll get to the point:  I make a crappy pie. But I make an awesome cocktail.  I’m willing to concede that, and focus on where my true talents lie.  So if a cocktail based on pie is what I can bring to your table, please let me do so.

The holidays are sneaking up on us.  My fellow Canucks and I just celebrated Thanksgiving, but the Yanks have theirs coming up and then there is the Christmas season.  I say, be prepared with plenty of Apple Pie Martinis on hand.  After all, what’s screams out ‘fall’ like an apple pie? And what’s more festive than cocktails?  Other than a cherub in a bunny suit riding a sleigh drawn by reindeers and giving out candy to children as they eat turkey.  I guess that would be more festive, but only JUST a bit.  Anyway, pass these around at your next gathering and you will not be disappointed.  

The apple liquor will take about two (2) weeks to stew itself into submission, so if you start now it will be ready for the holiday season….but don’t start too soon, or you won’t have any left for the holiday season. It’s gooooood…..

And by the way, if you’re thinking to yourself, “Gee…I have to MAKE the apple liquor?  Can’t I just buy it? Oh, sweet cocktail gods, why hast thou forsaken me?!”  Things are not as egregious as you think.  You put some stuff in a jar, shake it, and leave it for two weeks.  Really.  Don’t tell me that you can’t do that.  Plus, when people ask you what’s in the SIMPLY DELICIOUS cocktail (and okay, just one more, but only if you’re offering…) and you tell them that it’s your homemade apple liquor?  You are a liquor bearing rock-star. You are their Mega-Mixologist Extraordinaire.  

So go.  Make some cidery vodka.  Drink pie flavored beverages and be happy.  That’s what we here at the Choosy Beggars are all about.

Apple Pie Martinis

  • 1.5 oz Apple Cider Liquor *
  • .5 oz Phillips Butter Ripple Schnapps **
* Recipe to follow.  

** If you can’t find Phillips Butter Ripple Schnapps in your liquor store feel free to substitute another delicious butterscotch flavored liquor and change the amount according to taste.

Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.  Garnish with a slice of apple, or as you see fit.

It doesn’t look fancy, but this is elegance, decadence and delight in a glass.  

I think I might be getting a bit turned on, that’s one hot cocktail.  Look at it, being all coy…

Apple Cider Liquor

  • 5 Macintosh apples *
  • 60 oz vodka
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 21 cloves

Other equipment:  3 extra large Mason jars.

* I’m not fussy, any large juicy apple with a lot of appley flavor will work.  Honey Crisp would be delightful!

Start by chopping up the apples.  There is no need to core the apples unless you really feel the yen, because any seeds or odd little bits will be strained out at the end.  So, in the interest of feeling wickedly and deliberately lazy (like a complete slattern, I’m still in my pajamas as I type this), I say leave them in…just this once…it feels rather liberating, I must say.

Divide the apples evenly among the three large Mason jars.

Pour some sugar on them…ooh, in the name of love.  Pour some sugar on them, c’mon fire me up. What, WHAT?!  Alright, fine, less Def Leppard and more specifics. That would be 1/3 cup of refined sugar per jar.

Snuggle 2 cinnamon sticks into each jar, and flirtatiously drop 7 whole cloves into each as well.  Why 7 cloves?  Why not?!  I was feeling the ‘lucky number 7’ vibe, but if your lucky number is 6, or 8, or anything close than I’m sure it will be fine.  If your lucky number is 64, you’ll have cloven hooves by the time you’re done. We don’t want that.  It’s always best to stay on the good side of the Liquor Gods and the Vodka Spirits <- HA!! Holy heck, I crack myself up.

Pour 20 oz (a pint) of vodka into each jar.  It should be enough to just cover the apple pieces.

Take the bottle, shake it u-u-up, break the bubbles, break it u-up….

Sorry, I thought I was done with that.  I was wrong.

That’s it!  These need time to themselves as they come to terms with their new fate.  Store them in a cool, dark place for at least two weeks.  After every few days (and by ‘few’ realistically, I mean that you should do this every few days but if you pop by once a week – like you know very well that I did – there’s no harm no foul) shake the jars and just let them rest.

Are you like me?  I’m ridiculously nosy and I need to know what’s going on at all times, in every situation, and with regular progress reports.  If I don’t have a finger in every pie then I sometimes get a bit panicky. Such is the life of the control freak gossip monger.  Anyway, I find it very hard NOT to pop them open and investigate what may be brewing inside, but DON’T DO IT.  Leave the vodka alone!!  What did it ever do to you?!  Plus, it’s HAPPY in there with it’s apples and spices. Leave it be.  There.  That’s better.  Good vodka, everything is going to be okay, we’ll see you in a couple of weeks.

After two weeks the jars will contain an incredible caramel hued liquor that is infused with fresh sweet apple and rich dark spice.  It’s delightful sipped on its own, which of course we investigated purely for the reason that we wanted to give you a full and unadulterated understanding of what this liquor could and could not do.  Yes, we took one for the team here.  What it can do:  make cocktails, ciders, caramel sauces, and pork tenderloin marinades reach a point of genius that you didn’t think possible.  What it cannot do:  cure cancer, but we’re working on that.

Empty the contents of the jars through a strainer (I like a mesh sieve lined with coffee filters) into a receptacle large enough to hold 2-3 pints.  The apples absorb some of the vodka, but we forgive them because they’ve played their part.  Discard the solids as you go.

And there we have it!  Apple Cider Liquor.  So.  Good.  We aren’t kidding when we say it tastes just like apple cider…I could drink a warm cup of this and be hammered off my ass happy as a clam.

Sante!!  Chin Chin!!  Bottoms up!!

Or, as we like to cheer in our household, “WHERE’S MINE?!”


  • Mike

    Everyone should make that apple-pie vodka. It truly is out of this world.

    I’m also glad we have the recipe posted now, because we (Tina) are going through it at such a rate that we (I) will have to make it again soon.

  • Lo!

    No arguments here. This looks like a fabulous addition to our autumn repertoire.

    And just in time too. We’ll be finishing up our red currant liquor any day now!

  • Tina

    Ooh, red currant liquor. Yum!! This was such a stellar success that I’ve been eyeing the box of pears in my garage and thinking of allowing at least a few of them a similar fate….but then I think about how that’s roughly 6 pints of vodka (between apple and pear) when all is said and done. Which means that Mike and I will be DRINKING 6 pints of vodka. I’ll be so pickled that by Christmas you’ll see me in a wax museum.

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  • JennyM

    Right, so I’m making this for sure, because we’ve just about finished up the bottle of homemade sweet-tea liquor.

    Ok, so here’s a question, because it seems such a shame to waste vodka-and-spice-soaked apples: are the apple bits totally gross by the time you’re straining the vodka out? Because I was thinking that if they wanted to become one with a dish of vanilla ice cream, that wouldn’t be tragic. Unless they’re gross.

  • Tina

    Ooh…homemade sweet-tea liquor! AND currant liquor! I can totally hear my liver groaning in (nervous) anticipation!!!

    Jenny, thank you for stopping by our site!! The apples weren’t the slimy nast-balls that you would expect because they only steeped (in vodka, which IS a preservative after all!) for about two weeks. They were still somewhat firm, tinted from the spices, but yet still not particularly appetizing. There were also all of the pips and seeds. If you are more energetic than I am (and most people are) then core them and remove the seeds before soaking. There goes problem #1! The texture is still a little bit spongy though, so if that throws you off why not puree them? Vodka spice apple sauce….

    (and now I’m really wishing that I hadn’t thrown them all away)

  • noble pig

    Wow, that’s pretty cool, I usually make my apple-tini’s with apple vodka…this is much more impressive.

  • Tara

    We went apple picking last weekend and I have no idea how we’re going to use all the apples.

    I should say, I HAD no idea how we were going to use all the apples, because I’m giving this a try next weekend.

  • JennyM

    Hmmmm… that’s a good point about the seeds and whatnot. I was just going to hack them up, but maybe I’ll slice ’em up proper after all. And applesauce — there’s an idea!

  • Tina

    Noble Pig – I love green apple martinis with vodka and apple sourz! These are totally different though – a bit sweeter and spicier….like pie…..

    Tara – a person can only eat so much apple sauce, right? I fully support an alternate use for the fruits of your labor!

    JennyM – I really wish that I had done that now. If you do, please let me know how it goes!!

  • michelle @ TNS

    okay, i need to have started this 5 minutes ago. i sense apple picking in my next weekend.

    also, there is such a thing as butterscotch schnapps? how have i gone 30.5 years without knowing this?

  • Tina

    Michelle – really? When I was in University I sucked so many slippery nipples (butter ripple and baileys) that Portia and I should be on a first name basis by now. It’s like butterscotch in a glass…..very sweet, and a scant bit goes a long way. Great choice for souping up specialty coffees as well as Caramel apples (mix with green apple sourz).

  • Susan


    You give yourself no credit. I distinctly remember you delivering a precious, still warm from the oven cherry pie to me at work. Everything about that pie was brilliant, including the crust, and the cherries…oh the cherries. This is still one of my happy memories that I focus on when I am stressed. Come to think of it , you are responsible for all my “go to happy place before you kill someone” thoughts, like the chocolate chip banana bread, birthday party, big sandwich, thai food…it goes on for awhile, but you get the point.

  • Tina

    Aw, Sus you make me blush. I miss you too, you know. By the way, I’m working on a recipe for chewy but tender blueberry and white chocolate foccacia – which is all about you. I don’t have it quite right yet, but as soon as I do you betcha there will be a Tuesday care package coming your way.

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  • Elizabeth

    Got it – bake the apples. I put them in a baking dish with some butter and a little brown sugar and they’re good. They still taste awfully alcoholic, too, even after 40 minutes in the oven. We’re thinking they’d be great over vanilla ice cream.
    The only iffy thing: the fumes (I guess) will blow the oven door open. This happened one time and when I looked inside, the apples were on fire. I had a second of panic before I realized it was just (some of) the alcohol burning off. But I suppose that could be considered hazardous. (It blew open a second time, but no flames then. Maybe it could be negated by opening the oven every ten minutes.)
    I thought about sauteeing them instead next time? I don’t know if that would be better. Either way, if you want to use the apple bits, I say cook ’em; they’re certainly viable.

  • Mike

    Excellent, thanks Elizabeth! As it happens, we have another batch brewing as we speak, so I’m definitely game to try it.

    In truth, I’m a little more comfortable with methods that don’t cause my oven to explosively decompress every now and again, so I’m thinking I’ll go with the sauteed approach. Perhaps this will be our inaugural Reader Feedback post?


  • JenB

    Thanks for this recipe. Yummy and impressive.

    I made one batch with CSA apples – something local and heirloom and green that the farmer recommended for pies, and the booze was tasty but a little too spicy for me. Which is saying something as I regularly double spices in recipes. So I made a second batch with MacIntoshes and reduced the cloves to four a jar. The result was applier and less spicy. I think it may have had something to do with the fact that Maryland won’t sell anything larger than 1.75L of hard booze, so I’m guessing the cloves got super-concentrated?

    Anyhow, all that booze? All but one lone bottle (mine! mine mine mine!) went into these adorable 375mL wine bottles and with a Michaels tag about the neck, they became my standard coworker Christmas gift. Hey, no one’s allergic to booze! They seemed to really like it, and bonus, I figure it was about $4 each. And I’ve inspired two other people to buy canning jars and give this a shot.

    As to the leftovers, if you chop the apples so that the core is all one piece (slab opposite sides, knock off the other two so you’ve isolated the core, then chop that in three length wise) you end up with the seeds all contained, and it makes it much easier to reuse the apple bits. I wish I had figured that out before halfway through the second batch. My roommate’s boyfriend put the leftover apples into a pie, and apparently, not such a great idea – it was super boozy. I like the idea of doing a boozy applesauce though. MMmmmmm.

    Anyone try this with pears?

    • Tina

      JenB – I’m so glad that you liked the liquor!! I did too 🙂 I also really wish that I had coworkers like you who would bring me bottles of delicious homemade liquor for Christmas….they are the lucky ones, indeed!
      I was going to do a pear liquor in the fall when I had a huge glut of pears on hand, but…I drank all the vodka. Oh well, there’s always next year!!

  • Rebecca

    I made this for Christmas, which people quite enjoyed, especially as it was packaged in cute jam jars. Looked a bit like hooch, but tasted much better!

    But we tried the apple pie martinis last night and they were decadent and delicious! Can’t wait to make some more vodka next fall!!

    • Tina

      Rebecca – I bet they looked charming, those wee jam jars!! We’re so glad that you liked the recipe. Nothing says love like a little bit of moonshine…..

  • katrina

    Maybe it’s the mom in me…but maybe apple seeds which are naturally ladened with arsenic aren’t such a good idea to include?

    • Tina

      Katrina, thank you for bringing that up, it’s a common misconception. Apple seeds do not actually contain arsenic. However, they do contain a compound called “amygdalin” which is a cyanide compound and turns into HCN when it is metabolized. And as we all know, cyanide is highly lethal – but NOT in the minute amount which is contained in apple seeds, which your body can detoxify easily for the most part. Human bodies are pretty cool that way. And if apple seeds were laden with cyanide I don’t think we’d be quite as likely to pack the fruit in kiddies’ school lunches as often as we do 🙂

      There are a couple of other factors at play here too:
      – each apple seed contains such a tiny, wee, microscopic amount of amygdalin that you would literally have to eat several large handfulls of the seeds before kicking it reaper-style, or even having enough chemical in your blood to allow a buildup over time. If you were to singlehandedly eat all of the seeds from all of the apples that were used here, you still wouldn’t need to tidy up your last will and testament.
      – The pips of apple seeds also include a really tough exterior shell which you would have to penetrate. Swallowing the seeds isn’t enough – they need to be chewed up, ground or pulverized. When you’re cutting up the apples for this mixture, you will likely cut through several seeds as well – but again, those few seeds aren’t toxic enough to cause a flutter in a butterfly’s heart.
      – The apple seeds in the liquor are strained out and therefore the chance of digesting one is about as minimal as can be.
      – Even if there was enough toxin in the moderate number of apple seeds that you would have here (which there is not), and you were to ingest this mixture in all it’s apple flesh, seed, and spiced glory, you would have also just consumed so much vodka (so very, very much vodka) that your body would ‘rid itself’ (read: harf your guts out viciously for hours on end) of that toxin first, and any lingering apple seeds would wash out in part of the milieu.

      If you wanted another reference to put your mind at ease, here’s an article which doesn’t get too science-y and just sticks to a few main points:

      Take care! Tina

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  • Alan

    Here’s a picture of my first batch in mid-soak.

    • Mike

      Oh, that’s just delightful to see. You’ve reminded us to get our own fall infusions going, and soon.

      • Alan

        Mmmm, sipping apple pie martini now. It’s totally everything you guys said and (hic) more.

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