There are a lot of cocktail nerds out there who don’t consider the Appletini a serious cocktail. But, aside from the name, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this drink. Sure, it looks and tastes kind of gimmicky (like a liquid Jolly Rancher, essentially), but if you tone down the sugar and use some fresh citrus, you get a well-balanced cocktail that’s about as likable as Mr. Rogers or free money. The original was invented by a bartender named Adam Karsten at a West Hollywood bar in the 1990s, but we’re going to update the recipe a bit - because the ’90s weren’t exactly a Golden Age for cocktails.
Makes 1 Appletini
- Coupe or martini glass
- 1.5 ounces vodka
- .75 ounce apple schnapps
- .5 ounce lime juice
- .5 ounce simple syrup
Step One: Lime Juice
You might be wondering why we’re using lime juice in an apple-flavored cocktail, and the answer is simple. Lime juice has acidity. Apple juice does too, but not nearly enough for this drink - and we prefer lime over lemon juice because lime juice contains malic acid, which you also find in apples. Juice a lime, and add .5 ounce to your cocktail shaker.
Step Two: Simple Syrup
Next, we need some simple syrup to help tame the acidic bite of lime juice. If you don’t know how to make that, it’s easy. Mix equal parts white sugar and warm water, then stir until the sugar is dissolved. Pour .5 ounce simple syrup in your cocktail shaker.
Step Three: Apple Schnapps
There are a bunch of different kinds of apple schnapps out there, any of which will work for this drink. We usually use Schöenauer Apfel Schnapps, but if all you can find is a bottle of bright green Apple Pucker, that’s fine. The important thing is that you have something that tastes like apple. Put .75 ounce apple schnapps in your cocktail shaker.
Step Four: Vodka
Finally, we need some vodka. Any type will do for this, as long as it isn’t flavored. This Appletini already has enough going on, and it doesn’t need your salted caramel vodka. Pour 1.5 ounces (plain) vodka into your shaker.
Step Five: Shake
Throw 5 or 6 ice cubes into your cocktail shaker, and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Once you’re finished, strain your drink into a coupe or martini glass. If you want to add a garnish, try an apple slice soaked in lemon juice (so it doesn’t turn brown), but you don’t need one. It’ll be delicious and Jolly-Rancher adjacent either way.