Apple & Spice & Everything Nice

It’s the season of crisp evenings, yellowing leaves and a market filled with apples and pears once again – the beginning of fall. Fall is my favorite time of year – sweaters and scarves, cider doughnuts, chai tea, the sounds of leaves crunching under your feet, pumpkin muffins… and snaps! The beginning of fall is the time I start thinking of which snaps to make to serve at Thanksgiving, since Norwegians need something tasty to make all of our toasts with (and let me tell you, Norwegians toast a lot). I wanted to try something different than the cinnamon and cardamom snaps I did last year, even though it was amazingly good. But I do like variety. As it so happened, I had a nearly full bottle of Effen vodka in the bar which has been sitting in the bar, nearly full for a over a year. We’re not big straight vodka drinkers, and we don’t really drink cocktails in the spring or summer – to us, before dinner cocktails are a cozy wintertime drink. So I figured, why not use up the vodka by doing a test run of three different snaps recipes I’ve been thinking about? So this morning, I divided the vodka into three one cup portions in pint jars, and each one got a slightly different mix of ingredients –

Basic Spiced Snaps – a piece of dehydrated ginger, one stick of cinnamon, one whole nutmeg, four allspice berries and four whole cloves.

Apple Spice Snaps – two large pieces of skin-on Honeycrisp apple, one stick of cinnamon, one whole nutmeg, four allspice berries and four whole cloves.

Orange Spice Snaps – two large pieces of orange zest (lightly toasted in a dry pan for a few minutes), one stick of cinnamon and four whole cloves.

They all have basically the same spice profile, with little refinements. I’m not sure how much the raw apple will actually flavor the vodka, so we’ll see. I plan to serve the one that turns out the best. If they all turn out good and have distinctly different flavors, maybe I’ll serve a trio in small bottles at the table. Who knows? Since I’m steeping the spices in such a small quantity of vodka, I think I’ll know what I’m working with in just a couple of days, so stay tuned for the tasting notes!