A Fall Highball with Hints of Quince
Breathe easy: No apples will be tortured for this autumn beverage column. Instead, I’d like to talk about quince. If you’ve never encountered one, think back to the sun this past summer as seen through the haze of wildfire smoke—muted yellow in tone, and often accompanied with a light beard of gray, dust-bunny-like fuzz. Quince are unique as fruit, in the sense that they are best consumed cooked. While you can eat them raw, they’re about as appealing as raw eggplants or potatoes. When treated to heat, however, they are tender as any warmed orchard fruit, with a flavor profile of honeyed apples and pears, accented by an additional aureole of elderflower. Which is why I love them in cocktails. Quince syrup with brandy, lemon, and soda makes for a very handsome fall highball. This year, give the apples a rest and pick quince.
MAKES 1 COCKTAIL
1½ ounces brandy
½ ounce quince syrup*
¼ ounce Lemon
Combine brandy, quince syrup, and lemon in a tumbler. Add ice, shake, and double strain into a highball glass. Add ice and soda, then stir with a straw to fully integrate.
*Peel, core, and cut 1 quince into small pieces. In a saucepan set over medium-high heat, combine quince with 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water. Heat until mixture is just shy of boiling, then allow it to simmer and reduce until the fruit is tender. Strain and cool, being sure to reserve the cooked quince for a delicious compote, jam, or frozen dessert topping.