Wigle’s Pressed Pommeau
At their latest seasonal release, Wigle Whiskey sent us Pressed, their version of a pommeau. A pommeau is a traditional liqueur in Brittany and Normandy, made by combining apple brandy with raw apple cider, and then allowing it to age for a while (in Wigle’s case 2 months). We’ve never tasted a genuine Norman pommeau, but Wigle’s is crisp, sweet without being cloying, and fresh, with a pure apple flavor. It also has a surprisingly strong kick for a drink that’s only 32% alcohol.
It’d be perfect to drink neat, with some fruit or, as Wigle suggests, a cheese plate. We’ve also been enjoying it in a gem of a cocktail our friend Dan discovered.
Dan was in town a couple of weeks ago, helping out with our vermouth tasting (and for a family vacation too, if you want to get into the details). As I mixed various recipes for us to try out with our new vermouth toys, Dan was thumbing through Drink & Tell, Fred Yarm’s encyclopedia of Boston-born cocktails, and he ran across this recipe from Boston celebrity bartender and worldwide smoky cocktail booster, Misty Kalkofen.
It’s smooth and warm and herbal and crisp, and just a little bitter and a little smoky.
In full disclosure, in Kalkofen’s original version of the drink, you caramelize the orange twist by setting it and the Scotch on fire in the glass, and dousing the fire out with the rest of the drink. We’ve been unable to duplicate that technique without creating an even bigger fire or breaking a glass with too extreme a change in temperature. So, we’ve simplified, keeping the flame and the alcohol separate.
Seek No Further Cocktail Recipe
- 2 oz apple brandy–Kalkofen uses Laird 7 1/2 year; we, as you might expect, used Wigle’s Pressed pommeau
- 1/2 oz Benedictine
- 1/2 oz Islay Scotch whiskey–Kalkofen uses Laphroaig Cask Strength, but that’s too rich for our blood
- 1/2 oz simple syrup
- caramelized orange twist, for garnish–Kalkofen caramelizes hers by setting it on fire in the Scotch; we use a kitchen torch
- Combine all of the liquid ingredients in a mixing glass.
- Add ice, to the level of the liquid.
- Stir until the ice is noticeably melted.
- Strain into a cocktail glass.