There are so many fantastic events happening in North Idaho this time of year. The Rebel Junk show at the Coeur d’Alene fairgrounds a couple of weekends ago, was one such event. The space was JAM PACKED with amazing treasures, old and new. And, as it just so happens, it also turned out to be the beginning of a delicious cocktail. As strange as it sounds, junk and cocktails are excellent companions. It was in amongst all of the beautiful repurposed pieces, handcrafted goodies, and barn fresh treasures that we found Nikki of Athol Orchards. Nikki was offering up samples of her own handcrafted Apple Cider Syrup and I fell in love with the amazing sweet, tart, spiced apple goodness.
First, a little background about Nikki and the orchards before we get to the cocktail. Nikki established her Antique Apple Farm operation in 2016 in Athol, Idaho. It’s there that she is working hard to bring back the traditional apple varieties that are part of the Lost Apple Project. She is bringing these heirlooms and also sugar maples to the farm, creating delicious baked goods and her incredible Apple Cider Syrup. But it’s about more than just creating a delicious product. Nikki has fond memories of growing up among old apple groves and wants to create those same treasured moments for her own family in the clean mountain air, tasting the crisp fruit, and walking among the trees.
“Our girls will run through the orchards barefoot, they will chase ladybugs, once again see food growing before their eyes, and will truly learn the concept and reward of a job well done,” said Nikki. Her passion for delicious, handcrafted food is clearly evident in the fresh, spiced flavors of her syrup. She describes it as “apple pie in a bottle” and it brings to mind crisp fall days, fresh baked pie, and family gatherings.
Athol Orchards offers not only the Apple Cider Syrup, but also fresh bakery goods, plant starts, local honey, fresh cut flowers, pumpkins and apples. They will be at the Coeur d’Alene and Athol Farmers markets this coming season and can now be found at Pilgrims Market in Coeur d’Alene and Winter Ridge in Sandpoint.
And now for for the cocktail!
This syrup is so good, it doesn’t need much more than a shot of rum and some cold apple juice, buuuuut…we wanted had to take it a little further while still keeping it simple. This paired well with not only our No. 217 corn whiskey, and our Pend Oreille River Gold Rum, but also our Scotchman Peaks Barley Vodka (it was actually delicious with all of our spirits and it was a hard one to narrow down!). We decided we liked the idea of pairing two amazing Idaho farm products and went with our family farm-grown Barley Vodka for this new and delicious cocktail. So without further ado here is our….
Barley Apple Crisp
1 1/2 oz Mill Town Barley vodka
6 oz ginger ale
2 TBSP Athol Orchards Apple Cider syrup
Combine all, stir, and serve over ice. Garnish with an apple slice and cinnamon stick. Feel free to add more cider syrup to taste. I don’t think you can over do it!
This would also be delicious if you swap the ginger ale for some hot tea for a cold weather drink (like right now with all this ridiculous late season snow! Spring! Come on already!)
Here at Mill Town, we are all about supporting local and we get especially excited about local farm products. We are happy to share the stories of the people who can grow, build, craft and create something unique from the bounty that surrounds us. If you know someone who follows this path, give us a shout. We love to shine the light on those who share our passion for supporting local!