Years ago in Aberdeen, Scotland, I was handed a drink and told it tasted ‘just like apple strudel’ and contained ‘vodka with grass in it’. I was skeptical, but it turned out to be true: when you combine Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka with cloudy apple juice, it really does taste like strudel. As far as I can tell, there’s no cinnamon in this vodka; it’s distilled from rye and flavoured with bison grass, a type of grass that’s often eaten by bison. The grass – a blade of which is included in every bottle – gives it a dry, herbaceous note, and yet when it’s combined with the apple juice you’d swear there’s a heavy dose of cinnamon sugar going on. Yum.
This cocktail is a real crowd-pleaser and it’s super simple to make, so naturally I decided to tamper with it by adding bitters. Mister Bitters Fig and Cinnamon bitters was the obvious choice and while the result was subtle, it was definitely good. Here’s the recipe – you can alter the proportions if you wish (the original drink I had in Scotland, for example, was in a Collins glass and so contained much more apple juice), omit the bitters or even forget the ice (heaven forbid!) and it will still taste good.
45ml Zubrowka vodka
8-12 drops Mister Bitters Fig and Cinnamon bitters
Cloudy apple juice (do NOT, under any circumstance, use the reconstituted kind)
apple slices, to garnish (optional)
Half-fill the glass with ice. Add vodka and bitters and top up with apple juice. Stir. Garnish if desired.
Apple strudel made by someone who loves you unconditionally and is, coincidentally, really freaking good at making apple strudel.
I don’t know who came up with the original, but whoever it is, I salute you.