A Cocktail for Apple Season: The Szarlotka (Polish Apple Pie Cocktail)

‘Tis apple season!

Before I moved to Virginia I had no idea what Fall was. Having lived in California for most of my life, I never experienced actual seasons. The first time I went leaf-peeping and apple picking I was blown away. How had I not known about this?! And oh, THE HONEYCRISPS!! 

Fall also ushers in a slew of holidays and opportunities for entertaining. Realizing that it was time to put away the sangria until next summer, Charlie Schoening—our resident mixologist—went on the hunt for something cozier. What he found was a recipe for a Polish drink called the Szarlotka, which translated means ‘apple pie.’ This drink could not be simpler. It has only two ingredients that when combined taste EXACTLY. LIKE. APPLE PIE.

Apple pie cocktail reston fall drinks

The first ingredient is unfiltered apple juice that is available at Whole Foods. The second is Żubrówka or Bison Grass Vodka which is available at BevMo or at select liquor stores in the area. Bison Grass Vodka is a dry, herb-flavored vodka that is distilled from rye. The rye is flavored with bison grass extract which grows in the Białowieża Forest in Poland. A blade of this grass is traditionally placed in each bottle of Żubrówka, though this is largely decorative. Żubrówka is described as having chamomile or cut hay notes.

1 1/2 oz. Żubrówka vodka
Unfiltered apple juice
Cinnamon sticks or star anise for garnish (optional)

Pour into a highball glass with ice, garnish with cinnamon or star anise. If licorice is not your thing, skip the star anise.

Na zdrowie! (Cheers!)