November 11, 2021

Apple Spice Gin Sour (aka the perfect Thanksgiving cocktail!)

Looking for the perfect cocktail to serve your Thanksgiving guests? I’ve got you covered. This Apple Spice Gin Sour is delicious, easy to make in large batches, and the ginger-cinnamon simple syrup will have your house smelling like the holidays.

Is anyone else stunned that we’re already in NOVEMBER? Don’t get me wrong…I adore the Fall, and in fact if I had to pick, I’d say that it’s my favorite season. But for some reason, this year in particular, Fall has snuck up on me. Thanksgiving is right around the corner! Say what??

I love getting together with family and friends during the holidays. And for Turkey Day it’s a divide-and-conquer approach that gives everyone a chance to share their childhood (and adult) favorites. One of my contributions has always been the fun cocktail. Sure, we do wine with the dinner, but one needs sustenance during the long day of cooking. I will usually go with one of my tried-and-true sangria recipes, or whatever trending cocktail I’ve discovered on Pinterest.

This year I’ve created an original! It was inspired by a video my sis-in-law sent to me for a moscow mule made with homemade ginger simple syrup. I immediately chastised myself for not ever thinking of ginger simple syrup (flavored simple syrups are one of the keys to the tastiest craft cocktails)! But as much as I love a good mule, I wanted to go a different route. I have been on a bit of a gin journey these past few years, so I thought: why not put a Fall spin on a gin cocktail classic?

A bit about gin

Without deep-diving into the history of this spirit, the word ‘gin’ is derived from the Dutch word for juniper, ‘genever’. There are several different types or styles of gin, but all are infused with juniper (and other botanicals), giving it that fresh, zingy taste and fragrance that make it so distinct from it’s friends in the Sexy Six (brandy, gin, rum, tequila, vodka and whiskey).

I’ve long been a fan of a good Gin & Tonic, especially after visiting Spain (next level G&Ts, just sayin’). But usually when I mix a drink up for folks, if it’s not a margarita it’s a vodka cocktail of some sort as vodka goes with literally anything. This past year I have explored gin a bit more though, and have really become a fan of a good ole gin sour, which is traditionally comprised of gin, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, egg whites and bitters.

This recipe ups your gin sour game by making a spicy, ginger and cinnamon simple syrup (which removes the need for bitters). It’s also a vegan-friendly gin sour since I’ve omitted the egg whites; you could certainly still add them to get that nice foam (I’m a fan myself!), but I find the addition of the apple cider tempers the gin and lemon so that it’s definitely not necessary (plus a splash of sparkling water give it some fizz).

Making the simple syrup

If you haven’t done it before, it’s literally the easiest thing. And so easy to customize…you can infuse literally any flavor into it (hatch green chile simple syrup anyone? It’s delicious in a margarita!). The basic recipe is simply this: one cup of sugar to one cup of water, simmer until sugar is fully dissolved. For this ginger-cinnamon simple syrup we’re going to add fresh chopped ginger to the simmer.

Fresh ginger, chopped on a wooden cutting board with large chef's knife.

No need to peel your ginger, just roughly chop it up and toss it in the pot! Sidenote, you will also be fragrancing your home…so good! When you remove it from heat, you’ll throw in a cinnamon stick (if you add it to the simmer, it will overwhelm the ginger…cinnamon is potent and infuses quickly).

straining ginger and cinnamon from the simple syrup with a collander.

Once it’s cool, strain it into a glass jar. Now you’re ready to mix your drink!

Ginger cinnamon simple syrup being strained into a jar on a granite countertop.

I like to add a few apple slices and a sprinkle of freshly-grated nutmeg.

Apple Spice Gin Sour pictured on a wooden cutting board surrounded by cut apples and fresh ginger, with a cinnamon stick.

If you’re making a batch of these, just multiply everything out, and leave a bottle of sparkling soda out for folks to add their own topper.

I will also say that I’ve made this with vodka and it’s also very tasty that way…so if you’re not a gin lover (no judgement here!), grab your Tito’s! I also plan to try it with rum because, well, why not? I think a dark rum or combo of rums would be quite yummy.

Let me know what you mix it up with, and how you like it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Apple Spice Gin Sour pictured on a wooden cutting board surrounded by cut apples and fresh ginger, with a cinnamon stick.

Apple Spice Gin Sour

Tracey French
This is the perfect Fall cocktail! Created with a homemade ginger-cinnamon simple syrup, this crowd-pleaser is a fantastic pre-dinner option for Thanksgiving.
10 mins
Course Drinks
Servings 1 drink

Ingredients
  

Ginger-Cinnamon Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • ½ cup fresh ginger (roughly chopped)

Apple Spice Gin Sour

  • 1½-2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. Ginger-Cinnamon Simple Syrup
  • ½ oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz. apple cider
  • 2-3 apple slices
  • splash sparkling water (optional)

Instructions
 

Making the simple syrup:

  • Bring water and sugar to a simmer on medium heat, stir until sugar is dissolved.
  • Turn heat to medium-low and add the chopped, fresh ginger (no need to peel); simmer for 2-5 minutes (depending on how strong you'd like the ginger flavor).
  • Turn the heat off, add the cinnamon stick.
  • Once completely cool, strain the simple syrup into a glass jar and set aside.

Making the drink:

  • Add the gin, ginger-cinnamon simple syrup, lemon juice and apple cider together in a cocktail shaker and shake well.
  • Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. If you like bubbles, top with a bit of sparkling water.
  • Garnish with a few apple slices. Also great with a bit of freshly grated nutmeg on top!
Keyword cocktail, gin

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