Sparkling Fig and Thyme Cider Cocktail
It’s Friday and I’m in the mood to do something October-y this weekend like visit a pumpkin patch, murder someone or, you know, maybe just enjoy a cocktail on the couch while binge-watching The Confession Tapes on Netflix. It’s sooooo good. Have you guys watched it? I feel like it’s a cross between Steven Avery’s Making a Murderer and something unnecessarily disturbing on ID Channel like “Wives with Knives”. It’s ideal for October. We’re also watching a ton of other Fall shows like American Horror Story, Halloween Baking Championship, Survivor, and This is Us. Basically, we never leave the house now?
Tomorrow’s an exception though. We’re planning on hiking our favorite mountain with my family before heading to this winery in the middle of no where. Last year, my Mom and I stumbled across it after driving down this long, dirt road through the woods without cell service or telling anyone where we were going. Good times, good times. When we got there though and found out that it wasn’t some creepy trap, we ate a ton of really delicious brick oven pizza and fed cute baby animals (and tasted wine, obviously). I’m really excited about tomorrow because it feels extra chilly outside right now, like temps in the 60’s, and I’m betting that the trees are going to be colorful and pretty and no one will complain that they’re profusely sweating on our hour-long hike (especially since pizza will be in their foreseeable future).
Last weekend was a very different story though. Sam told me to “bundle up” for our trip to Tilghman, so I packed all my favorite cozy sweaters and extra pants, and by the time we arrived on Saturday afternoon the sun was so hot that right when we greeted his parents, one of my nipple covers came sliding off and landed in the bulge of my sweater. I acted like everything was normal, but guys? It totally wasn’t. Gotta love that Maryland weather. We went out on the boat and had some margaritas and popcorn at this beach bar where everyone was barefoot and live music was playing and, it was nice and all, but it felt nothing like October.
Anyhoo, while we were there, I wanted to test out a new Fall cocktail (on account of our weekend being all “cold and cozy”). I wanted to get Sam’s family’s opinion on the drink because I knew that we would be bringing it to a holiday party in the next few weeks and I needed it to be GOOD. I made a mess in my Mother-in-law’s kitchen testing out different combinations and once everyone was settled outside with a ginormous cheese platter, I made my rounds to get feedback. Once I tweaked it and made it a little less sweet (ugh I just love that homemade simple syrup SO MUCH), it was perfect!
To give you an idea of how much we enjoyed it, we ended the night in a circle cracking up to the card game, “What do you Meme?” surrounded by chips and Lemonheads. Oliver was definitely giving us that look like “can you not?”, and we had to apologize to our bodies the next morning with a $10 bottle of green juice.
The holiday party that this cocktail was designed for is our friend’s annual Halloween Camping Extravaganza where we all get dressed up in costume, pitch tents in their giant backyard, watch scary movies on the projector, eat junk food, and generally just drink a lot of alcohol by the bonfire.
By the way, is it just me or does everyone bring a super “extra” cocktail and their own glassware to holiday parties? Call me high maintenance, but I’m not just throwing away precious calories on any old Bud-Light-in-a-red-solo-cup situation. Obviously I’m saving those for the midnight garlic knot binge. #Priorities.
I’m the type of guest who likes to take over your kitchen, rummage through your drawers to find a proper muddler, and ask you to rearrange your lighting so I can get the perfect Instagram-story shot of my cocktail. Kidding. Kind of.
For the past two years, Sam and I have brought our holiday Moscow mules which were always a crowd favorite. But, this year I wanted to switch it up and bring something that felt even more in line with Fall flavors in particular. The apple cider mixed with fresh figs, thyme, lemon juice, and topped off with fizzy wine creates the perfect mixture of sweet and crisp.
Now, go try it for yourself! I’m not making any promises that you won’t drink the simple syrup straight from the saucepan, but at least do it in private (you know… so you don’t have to share).
Sparkling Wine (Champagne)
Sprigs of Thyme
Juice of Lemon
First, make the simple syrup: pour 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white sugar into a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Mix until sugar has dissolved into water. Thinly slice 1 fresh fig lengthwise, add to saucepan along with 5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme. Stir gently. Simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes (add 10 minutes if you want the syrup to be extra flavorful). Remove from heat to cool completely.
In each of your cocktail glasses, add 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, 1 tablespoon strained simple syrup (or to taste; the more you add, the sweeter your cocktail will be). Then, fill about 1/3 of the glass with chilled apple cider.
Thinly slice another fresh fig lengthwise, add a few slices to each cocktail glass. Fill the remaining glass with sparkling wine (champagne), and garnish with 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme. Enjoy!
Alternative option: if you’re more into bourbon than wine, swap it out for a rich, evening cocktail!
If you want something non-alcoholic this season, try my favorite healthy mock-tail: Apple Spice Kombucha Float with Salted Caramel Sauce.
What is your go-to cocktail for entertaining? Comment on my latest Instagram photo and tell me, or tag me in your homemade Sparkling Fig and Thyme Cider Cocktail!
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xo Anna Elizabeth