Advocates of modern American diner cuisine, Seattle’s Skillet restaurant group also embraces the classic American fruit of fall: the apple. What was once street food served from a vintage airsteam parked on the curbs of the Emerald City is now a multi-restaurant culinary empire, and Skillet leaves no apple behind in its locally sourced food and drink, starting with its home-made apple butter in three different cocktails this fall.
“Apple is synonymous with fall for me, and I wanted to explore what I could do with it this year,” says Chris Cinka, bartender at Skillet’s Capitol Hill neighborhood location. “I was experimenting with lots of things and landed on apple butter — it brings a robust spice flavor to the cocktail.”
In the Appaloosa Chai, Cinka melds rum, chai, milk and lemon juice with Skillet’s apple butter, which he suggests using Golden Delicious apples for.
“Everybody is looking for something to make peace with the transition to fall, especially in Seattle, where it can be a tough transition,” Cinka adds. “We try and avoid the predictable pumpkin spice, and lean toward something a little stronger.”
This drink can be served hot or cold, for brunch or in front of the fireplace, and even with a float of cider to give it extra lift.
By Chris Cinka of Skillet
Makes 1 cocktail
1 ½ ounces rum
1 ounce apple butter (recipe follows)
½ ounce chai (Rishi Masala Chai concentrate is great)
½ ounce lemon juice
Splash of milk
Cold: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and add ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass with ice.
Hot: Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until just steaming, no more as to not cook the alcohol out and burn the milk. Whisk quickly to get some foam, and pour into a bucket glass.
Yields 1 quart
5 apples, peeled and diced
4 cups sugar
½ cup lemon juice
2 ounces molasses
2 tablespoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
15 whole cloves, crushed
Combine all of the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let cook for 1 ½ to 2 hours, until the apples are completely soft. Remove from the heat and let cool for 5 minutes, then blend with an immersion blender or in a regular blender.