… from the California Holiday Happy Hour Bar
How you doin’? As we move past Thanksgiving it’s time to hunker down for the year-end holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Festivus (for the rest of us) it’s always great to offer a new cocktail. I love to invent cocktails that use the fruit flavors of the season… in this particular case, apples.
So, who was Johnny Appleseed? His real name was John Chapman. There are stories of Johnny Appleseed practicing his nurseryman craft in the area of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania and of picking seeds from the pomace at Potomac River cider mills in the late 1790s. Another story has Chapman living in Pittsburgh on Grant's Hill in 1794 at the time of the Whiskey Rebellion.
Kids’ stories present a more popular image of Johnny Appleseed spreading apple seeds randomly everywhere he went. In fact, this is not the case. Chapman planted nurseries rather than orchards, built fences around them to protect them from livestock, left the nurseries in the care of a neighbor who sold trees on shares and returned every year or two to tend the nursery.
John planted his first nursery on the bank of Brokenstraw Creek, south of Warren, Pennsylvania. Next, he seems to have moved to Venango County, along the shore of French Creek, but many of these nurseries were in the Mohican River area of north-central Ohio. This area included the towns of Mansfield, Lisbon, Lucas, Perrysville and Loudonville.
The story and life of Johnny Appleseed almost ended in 1819 in Ohio. One morning he was picking hops in a tree when he fell and caught his neck in the forked neck of the tree. Shortly after he fell one of his helpers, 8 year-old John White, found him struggling in the tree. Unable to get him out of the tree, young John White cut the tree down, saving Chapman's life.
Toward the end of his career, Johnny was present when an itinerant missionary was exhorting an open-air congregation in Mansfield, Ohio. The sermon was long and severe on the topic of extravagance, because the pioneers were buying such indulgences as calico and imported tea. "Where now is there a man who, like the primitive Christians, is traveling to heaven barefooted and clad in coarse raiment?" the preacher repeatedly asked until Johnny Appleseed, his endurance worn out, walked up to the preacher, put his bare foot on the stump that had served as a podium, and said, "Here's your primitive Christian!" The flummoxed sermonizer dismissed the congregation. Amen!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Yield: 1 cocktail
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce apple brandy (Calvados or Applejack)
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 ounce homemade cinnamon simple syrup (see ChefSecret)
3 ounces sparkling hard cider
Dehydrated apple slice, for garnish
ChefSecret: Making the cinnamon simple syrup is well, simple. Using a small saucepan, heat equal parts of granulated sugar and water along with 3 cinnamon sticks until the sugar dissolves. Cool and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
Quip of the Day: “John Chapman once said, There will always be challenges along the way. No road to success and happiness will be paved with apple blossoms. Sometimes it will be full of bumps and challenges that you need to deal with. But in the end, all those hard times will help you become your true self and the man you would like to be.”
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Have a wonderful safe and healthy holiday season. If you have a little extra in your pockets to share with others at this difficult time, please consider donating to Feeding America.
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