By: Hannah Lee Leidy

Stephen Blackmon of Doar Bros. in Charleston riffs on the classic vieux carré with a drink that transports you to the apple orchard. Calvados, a French apple brandy, steps in for the cognac, while the same rye brings a spice-driven punch.

A homemade shrub with honey crisp apples and apple cider vinegar does a lot of the heavy lifting–and it’s easier than you think. The secret ingredient, though, is the cardamom bitters. “It’s a very French-driven ingredient. When I was in France, I definitely got the feeling that they love using cardamom,” Blackmon says. But use with caution: A few drops are plenty per cocktail to bring a herbaceous touch without overwhelming the other delicate flavors for a savory, punchy take on apple pie.

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Makes 1 cocktail

  • ¾ ounce brandy (Calvados Boulard VSOP)
  • ½ ounce Rittenhouse rye
  • ½ ounce quinquina (Cap Corse Mattei Rouge)
  • ½ ounce yellow chartreuse
  • ¾ ounce spiced honey crisp apple shrub (recipe follows)
  • 3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 drops cardamom bitters
  • Garnish: Apple slices
  • Honeycrisp apple shrub
  • 8 honey crisp apples (or 4 apples and 1 cup apple juice)
  • 1 teaspoon Saigon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 3 star anise pods
  • 1 cup demerara sugar
  • Raw apple cider vinegar
  1. Make the spiced honeycrisp apple shrub: Juice 4 apples and dice the remaining 4 apples. Combine juice, diced apples, and spices in a container. Cover with sugar and let macerate for up to 48 hours.

  2. Add macerated apples and syrup to a small pot with an equal ratio of apple cider vinegar. Bring to a low simmer, then remove from heat and set aside for up to 1 hour. Pour through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids, and refrigerate liquid.

  3. Make pomarré: In a mixing glass, combine all ingredients except garnish with ice.

  4. Stir, then strain into a chilled coupe or nick & nora glass and garnish with a fan of apple slices.

  • Recipe By
    Stephen Blackmon, Doar Bros., Charleston
  • Contributing City
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