Harvest Punch

Harvest Punch

Punches have been on my mind lately, and I couldn’t figure out why until I realized I’d been reading Imbibe by David Wondrich on and off for the past few weeks. I wasn’t making any of the drinks (yet), but somehow I was channeling the fine cocktailian at the bar. Swizzles and punches just started falling into cups and crushed ice was being stirred with vigor at every turn. Perhaps it was the simplicity of the thing. I never thought swizzles matched well with the turning of the leaves, but that was simply lack of practice on my part.

Fall has brought lots of cider, braised lamb shanks, and new spirits into my life. One of the most exciting of these is Apfelkorn, an apple liqueur made in Germany. I recently learned the company, Berentzen, produces a slew of other products that I’ve never seen anywhere in the U.S. Here are a few that sound interesting: Doornkaat, Grandma’s Vanilla, Rote Grutze, Wild Kirsch, and Winter Apfel.

Their Apfelkorn, which is all I’ve seen locally, is a delight. I can’t get enough of the stuff, really. It’s finding its way into many more cocktails than I expected. One of my favorites so far has been a punch I came up with for last week’s farm bonfire. Surprisingly no one was felled by its might, but it filled many with merriment.

Harvest Punch

  • 1 1/2oz Jamaican rum (used Appleton v/x)
  • 1oz Barbados rum (used Mt. Gay sugarcane)
  • 1/2oz Apfelkorn
  • 1oz grapefruit juice
  • 1/2oz cinnamon syrup
  • 1t allspice dram
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • cinnamon stick and grapefruit peel, for garnish

Fill a double-rocks glass with crushed ice and add everything. Swizzle until deliciously frosted. Garnish.

Rick from Kaiser Penguin

It’s important to swizzle this for a little while, or the rum will come through a bit too much. Subbing in a subtler rum than the Barbados sugarcane would smooth things over too. This drink tastes exactly like fall… festive roasted apples, spiked with cinnamon and cloves and just enough tartness to balance it out.

KP Question

  • Is anyone else obsessed with Apfelkorn? What have you used it in?

10 Responses to “Harvest Punch”

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10 Comments to “ Harvest Punch”
  1. Look at the fancy garnish! Tiare is gonna have a cat when she sees it.

    BTW, you spelled apfelkorn three different ways in this post.

    We don’t have the stuff in Eugene (yet), but its one of the things I’m gonna try to pick up while in Houston this week.

  2. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    I saw that garnish in the mixoloseum chat room..its fabulous, stunning as most of his garnishes.

    As for apfelkorn i`m very happy as i just saw it on the shelf, i haven`t seen it before. So i got to try it of course. i would like to get some more tips on where to use it apart from in this tasty looking swizzle.

    I wonder if i start using it, will i also get obsessed? that would take me away from vanilla for a while..

  3. DayneNo Gravatar says:

    Rick, how would you describe apfelkorn, flavorwise? Is there any [kind-of close] substitution? FOr instance, if I wanted to make a Harvest Punch — which sounds fantastic, and didn’t have Apfelkorn available — could I use a 1:1 Laird’s Bonded:apple cider as a substitute? Or Laird’s plus simple syrup? Or Clear Creek Eau de vie de Pomme + [something] — or anything else you could suggest?


    [As a side note, I’ve now been to two Tales of the Cocktail in a row without managing to meet you; if I make it next July, I need to correct that.]

  4. Rob in Somerville, MANo Gravatar says:

    We’ve been using Berentzen’s Apfelkorn ever since we read a recommendation for it in Dale DeGroff’s “The Craft of the Cocktail.” He has a recipe for the “Apple Manhattan” (attributed to David Marsden in NYC) which replaces the sweet vermouth with Apfelkorn (no bitters). It’s simply delicious, especially at this time of year. I wonder how it would taste with 1/2 oz Apfelkorn and 1/2 oz Allspice dram.

  5. RickNo Gravatar says:

    John, were you able to get Apfelkorn this weekend?
    Tiare, I’m pretty much 100% confident you’ll become obsessed with it if you find some :) I can see it going well with bourbon and rum without much effort. Might be a bit touchy with other spirits, but I’m sure you could get it to work.
    Dayne, Apfelkorn is very similar to apple juice in flavor and acts that way when it’s mixed as well. I’d try a combination of laird’s, simple, and cider if you want to approximate it. I look forward to meeting you at Tales this coming year!
    Rob, The allspice might overpower the Apfelkorn if you keep it at 1/2oz. Give it a try, though, and report back!

  6. BonzoGalNo Gravatar says:

    David Wondrich has an article in the latest Saveur, all about punches! It’s a must-read. He goes into the history of punches, and some old and new recipes and tips.

  7. Dr. BambooNo Gravatar says:


    1) Again, you have taken the crafting of garnishes to ridiculous heights of grandeur. If, in my lifetime, you & Tiare do not publish a large-format coffee table book stuffed with your best creations I will consider myself (and the cocktail community at large) grievously cheated.

    2) To answer your question, I’ve been buying apfelkorn whenever I can find it ever since my father turned me onto it about a year ago. It appears very sporadically (an understatement) in the state stores, so it’s a rare treat when I find it. I haven’t yet experimented w/ mixing it though, because I enjoy it too damn much straight out of the bottle. ;-)

  8. Rob in Somerville, MANo Gravatar says:

    Hi Rick, I did try the allspice and it seemed ok to me. It might not taste delicious to a more experienced palate, but I thought it created an interesting Manhattan-esque drink in the spirit of autumn. Here’s my recipe:
    2 oz. Bourbon (I used Eagle Rare), 1/2 oz. Berentzen’s Apfelkorn, 1/2 oz. St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram, 2 dashes Orange Bitters (I used Hermes). Stir with ice and strain into cocktail glass. I’ll be calling it a “Spiced Apple Manhattan.” If one of these after a big Thanksgiving meal doesn’t put you to sleep, I don’t know what will.

  9. I like the nifty lemon garnish.

  10. Rick OrijNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Rick,

    Been lurking for quite some time now, excellent blog! It’s interesting to see you rave about apfelkorn. Over here in Holland apfelkorn is something that mostly ‘kids’ drink. Something you start out because when you’re young beer tastes so bitter. I hadn’t touched the stuff since my teenage years so I’d never considered it to be a ‘proper’ cocktail ingredient. But the recipe for this punch looked so good I just had to try it. I’m glad a got a bottle because I really like this drink. I did tweak the recipe a bit, hope you don’t mind. I thought it could use a little more sour so I upped the grapefruit to 1 1/2 oz. I also though the apple taste could be a little stronger so I upped the apfelkorn to 1 oz. Anyway, thanks for this recipe, it is turning in to one of my favorites of late. An excellent fall drink. It’s raining a lot here and it is getting colder, but it’s not yet cold enough for Hot Buttered Rum.



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Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

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It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.