It’s definitely autumn. The frost in the mornings, that low angle golden light in the afternoon playing through the falling leaves. You can’t help but think of the bounty of the harvest and, for me, all the apple things. Cider, turnovers, dried slices, apple butter and fine fall cocktails. So, please join me now as we stand and make the Montparnasse. 

This one comes to us from “Drinking French” courtesy of David Lebovitz who writes the most wonderful things about French cooking and drinking. The history of the cocktail itself is a little vague, but you can assume it was created in the Calvados region to showcase their lovely apple brandy and that the name comes from the Parisian train station you’d leave from headed there.

This is a shaken drink, so grab your tins and pop in 1 1/2 ounces of apple brandy, French Calvados style would be preferable, but I happen to have Laird’s Applejack, so domestic it is. Add 3/4 of an ounce of elderflower liqueur, I chose St. Germain; 1/2 an ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1/2 an ounce of apple cider. You can replace the cider with white wine for a dryer finish, but I love cider. Add a couple of stabs of Dr. Elmegirab’s Orinoco Aromatic Bitters, some ice and shake to the beat of “C’est Si Bon”, cause that sets the mood perfectly, is easy to dance to as you shake and, well, I just like it. Double strain into something beautifully, coupe-like and garnish with a dehydrated apple slice, maybe grate a little nutmeg over the top, if you’re feeling froggy. 

Of course, that hits the spot. There is a lot of apple going on here, but it all balances out. The elderflower and lemon just bring it into perspective and adds a lovely herbal finish. Very nice. 

It’s that time of year, cardigans on our bodies and radios, falling leaves, apple and spice everything and I am here for that. Life has always been about simple pleasures, taking the time to stop and smell the pumpkin spice, so to speak. This year, maybe more than ever, indulge yourself. If it makes you happy, embrace it. Kick piles of leaves, snuggle puppies, sing songs in French and laugh in Catalan. Whatever it takes to raise the world happiness quotient a bit, just do your part and stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.