Fruit Focus: Apples

Throughout the summer we are going to talk about some of the different fruits that we grow here, what we can do with them, and how to use them in cocktails.  Since we are first and foremost an apple farm, we thought that would be the ideal fruit to start with.

We have been growing apples at DeFisher Fruit Farm for four generations, and are approaching our centennial anniversary (you had better believe we will have a heck of a party for that!)  Over the years tastes in apples have changed and so has what we grow.  Today we grow over two dozen varieties of apples, and have just recently planted another half dozen or so "heritage" variaties.  Some of the more common apples we grow are Honey Crisp, Macs, Delicious (golden and red), Crispin (formerly Matsu) etc.  The heritage variates include cool names like Newton Pippin, Porter's Perfection and Spitzenburg.


Because we grow so many apples we make a majority of our products out of apples.  The first was Tree Vodka, a vodka made from apples, but most certainly NOT apple flavored.  At one point we actually figured out approximately 40-60 pounds of apples go into each bottle of Tree that we make (the range is because some apples have a lot more juice/sugar than others).  We have since added two flavors, but each still uses the original Tree as a base.

Next came our AppleJack.  It comes in two types.  Aged and Un-Aged.  We have done a blog post in the past about this so I won't go too in depth on it.... other than to say it is our response to bourbon.  The Un-Aged is like a moonshine made with apples, the Aged is like a mellow approachable whiskey.

Rootstock Cider joined the fray more recently.  It is a great, approachable cider that balances sweet and acidic.  It sits at about 7% ABV, so, like most ciders, is somewhere between wine and beer.  We are working on other expressions of Rootstock -- some dryer, some mixed seasonally appropriate and some featuring different apple varieties.  Stay tuned for more on those!

Finally we have our Apple Brandy.  It is done much like the AppleJack, but instead of being aged in Whiskey barrels it is aged in used red wine barrels from one of the Finger Lakes more well known wineries.

So that is what we make with apples.  What can you do with this at home?  Well, below is a handful of cocktails we enjoy tremendously.


Johnny Applexander (Our take on the Classic Brandy Alexander)

1.5 oz Apple Country Spirits Apple Brandy

1 oz Creme de Cocao

1 oz Light or Heavy Cream

Combine in shaker with ice.  Shake.  Strain into a glass and put a couple of dashes of Ground Nutmeg on top.  Enjoy!


Blood Cider and Tears (from our Spirited Dinner at Rio Tomatlan in Canandaguia)

1oz Peach Tree Vodka Vodka

.5 oz Habenero simple Syrup

.5 oz Cassis

Dash Fresh Lemon Juice

1 Pint Rootstock Original

Combine in pint glass, finishing with rootstock.  Garnish with Basil or Rosemary


Apple Jack and Coke

2 oz 2 Year old Apple Jack

Combine in a glass with ice and serve.

Jeffrey Lennox