Don’t be fooled (and don’t, for gosh sakes, lose your head over it) by the fact that the first two items in this ingredient list are fresh products and not spirited liquids, or by the fact that the ingredient directly following them is a sweetening device. The hefty helping of gin in this drink does indeed give it quite a kick.
Balancing out this tasty drink is the apricot liqueur, which is not a sugary mess as some might think – don’t confuse it with apricot schnapps or apricot syrup. True, apricot liqueur should be a bit dry and a slight bit sweet, with flavor, a sensual bouquet and a smidge of nuttiness, too. If you can find it in your trick-or-treat bag, Rothman and Winter apricot liqueur, made from the renowned Austrian Klosterneuberger apricots, mingles well with the gin here, and then when you bring in the mint and lemon, the whole moonlit mix is a spookily delicious drink (maybe you will lose your head over it, after all, but in a good, non-decapitating way). This makes it ideal for Halloween parties, scary movie nights, or whenever you’re reading classic American literature.
I’d go with a juniper-forward gin here because that specific flavor goes well with the above-mentioned ingredients. A classic London-style gin or an American gin in British-style, like Voyager gin, is bound to keep your Sleepy Hollow cocktails from causing any fright. The below recipe is from the IACP award-winning book “Good Spirits,” a read that is sure to haunt your every (imbibing centric) thought.
The Sleepy Hollow:
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
2-1/2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce apricot liqueur
1. Add the mint, lemon juice and simple syrup to a mixing glass or cocktail shaker. Using a muddler or hefty wooden spoon, muddle well.
2. Fill the cocktail shaker or glass halfway full with ice cubes. Add the gin and apricot liqueur. Shake as if you heard the horseman’s hoofbeats coming.
3. Strain into a large cocktail glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and a swizzle stick topped with a plastic head.
A.J. Rathbun is the author of Good Spirits: Recipes, Revelations, Refreshments, and Romance, Shaken and Served with a Twist (Harvard Common Press, 2007) and other books.