With the crisp turn of seasons, a cozy yet adventurous cocktail is on the menu. The Dr. Walker cocktail weaves together warming bourbon and honey with unique player persimmon for a complex libation that may be just what the doctor ordered.
Cider educator and enthusiast Darlene Hayes shares the recipe from her book “Cider Cocktails – Another Bite of the Apple,” which is filled with cider-centric cocktail and appetizer recipes. A former biochemist, Hayes began creating and publishing original recipes a decade ago, saying she “always seem[ed] to have a bottle of cider handy.” It’s no surprise that her research in the kitchen eventually transcended onto paper.
Named after 18th century physician and explorer Dr. Thomas Walker, who traveled through Kentucky and was a known proponent of heirloom apple Newtown Pippin, Hayes says the cocktail’s name and its reflection of a moment in Southern history is a nod to the bourbon base. She adds that bourbon brings out a honey character in the persimmon to boot. To round out the sweetness, she recommends a dry cider from Farnum Hill or Finger Lakes’ Redbyrd Orchard.
Hayes’ favorite way to sip the Dr. Walker? “I see Dr. Walker as a perfect pre-dinner beverage served with a really nutty cheese, like an aged gruyere or some mildly spicy charcuterie,” she suggests. You had us at cheese.
Makes 1 cocktail
3 ounces tart, dry cider
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
2 ounces persimmon purée*
3 teaspoons honey
Garnish: freshly grated nutmeg
Pour the cider into a martini or coupe glass. Combine the bourbon, persimmon purée and honey in a shaker with ice and shake for 30 seconds to blend and chill. Strain the contents of the shaker into the glass with the cider and garnish with a sprinkling of grated nutmeg.
*To make the persimmon purée, dice one fresh, ripe persimmon into small cubes and place into a blender. Purée until smooth, adding water to thin out or sugar to sweeten to taste.