Few cocktails elicit so much aversion among bartenders as the Apple Martini. In his new book, Vodka Distilled: The Modern Mixologist on Vodka and Vodka Cocktails (Agate, 2013, $22.95 on Amazon.com), world-renowned beverage consultant and champion of the craft-cocktail movement Tony Abou-Ganim re-casts that pariah as the Apple Blossom, a delightful vodka cocktail that benefits from the addition of calvados, fresh lemon juice, apple puree and a little egg white. Similarly—though not so much despised as it is misunderstood—the Cosmopolitan takes a lot of heat, which is understandable when you consider the way it rocketed to infamy at the hands of Madonna and Sex & the City’s thirsty ladies.
Enough, Abou-Ganim declares, “I’m tired of people beating up on the Cosmopolitan.” But, if all one has experienced is well vodka and artificial triple sec mixed with cranberry juice off the gun and lime cordial, how could you blame them? The key—as it invariably goes with Abou-Ganim—is fine, fresh ingredients. (Remember, this is the man who ushered Las Vegas out of the Dark Ages in 1998, when he established Bellagio’s beverage program.) “To say, ‘We don’t stock vodka,’ or, ‘We don’t make vodka-based cocktails,’ or, ‘Don’t even think of ordering a Cosmopolitan,’ I think were doing a great disservice to our profession,” Abou-Ganim says. “Absolutely we’re going to make Cosmopolitans, and we’re going to make the best Cosmopolitan that guest ever had!”
“In keeping with celebrating vodka at its purest level, flavored vodkas were intentionally excluded from this book,” Tony Abou-Ganim says. “That said, the Cosmopolitan is a cocktail for which I might reach for a citrus-flavored vodka. Here, I suggest vodka with a lot of bright citrus notes in both nose and palate—something approachable, made of grape or barley. Or better yet, taste it both ways, using flavored and unflavored vodka side by side, and see what you think.”
In a mixing glass add 1½ ounces vodka, ¾ ounce Cointreau, ½ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice and ¾ ounce Ocean Spray cranberry juice cocktail; shake with ice until well blended. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a spiral of lemon.