In honor of the farmers, fishermen, foragers, brewers and other workers responsible for the bounty on our Thanksgiving tables, Voracious this year asked local food producers to provide their favorite holiday recipes. We'll run one recipe each day through Nov. 23; if you collect them all, you'll have a complete Thanksgiving feast.
Wade Bennett, owner of Rockridge Orchards, suspects half the bartenders in Ballard would like to take credit for the brandy drink that's sold as Applecrisp.
"I think we invented it, but don't hold me to it," he says. "We've been making it for close to 20 years."
Bennett believes the spiced beverage is "probably the best adult Thanksgiving drink."
"After two or three of those, you don't care if the turkey's late," he says. "It's something we always serve. Not bad for an ex-Mormon family."
Rockridge is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and has been streaking in the awards department. Since 2009, Bennett, his wife Judy and their Enumclaw orchard have been awarded the titles of "best artisan beverage" by Edible Seattle; "farmer of the year" by the Washington State Farmers Market Association and "rural small business of the year" by King County.
Bennett considered growing Asian pears when he retired from the film industry, but ended up planting apples in the abandoned raspberry field he purchased. "Unfortunately, you can't produce really pretty apples in Eastern Washington," he says, a circumstance that forced him to learn how to process cider.
Bennett now makes flavored ciders, honeys, vinegars and wine from the fruits grown on his 41-acre patch. Starting next year, he'll have apple brandy available for customers interested in making his signature Applecrisp. In the meantime, he recommends Calvados.
8 oz. Spiced cider
1 oz. Apple brandy
Heat the cider. Add brandy. Top with whipped cream and dust with cinnamon.
Bennett sells spiced cider, but says it's easy to replicate at home. Start with plain apple cider, and add cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and ginger ("don't forget the ginger," he warns.)