Mulling It

Allison Peach says the Baked Apple – a cocktail she drafted for the Tarpy’s Roadhouse fall menu – is inspired by an old family recipe. Clearly she was raised well.

The concept is a familiar one. Warm mugs of mulled cider are welcome as fall sets in. And it may appear to be a simple thing, a pour of apple brandy and a dash of orange bitters bringing warmth to the drink.

Yet ease is an illusion. Peach and her bar team at Tarpy’s put Gala apples and citrus into a crockpot where they simmer all day with cinnamon, cloves, allspice and a list of other spices that borders on excessive. When the pot is opened, the sensation of holidays past drifts over the bar.

“The holidays are a great time to play on nostalgia,” Peach says. “It comes together nicely.”

A sip of Baked Apple is like a remedy for the weight of the day. A rich, reassuring notion of fruit pulled from the oven, cinnamon nestled throughout. Toasty spice speaks of hearth and flickering logs. A twist of lemon gives it all a cheerful mood.

Peach uses Germain Robin, an artisanal apple brandy from Northern California, and relies on spirits from regional distillers for some of the other new cocktails on Tarpy’s list. But Baked Apple is a good place to start if you are drinking seasonal, especially on these damp, cooler nights.

“Whenever I think of fall and winter I think of mulled cider,” Peach says. “It’s a lovely, warm blend.”

TARPY’S ROADHOUSE is at 2999 Highway 68, Monterey. Open Sundays-Thursdays 11am-8pm, Fridays-Saturdays 11am-9pm. 647-1444, tarpys.com

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