A Whiskey Cocktail Hits the Spot at Fifth Floor


Brian Means, the Bar Manager at Fifth Floor Restaurant in SF gives us a recipe for an apple-spiced cocktail.

Most of the time when I’m making cocktails I don’t typically reach for a 12 year-old Japanese Whisky. I really prefer to sip the spirit and enjoy its qualities on its own. In this particular case, I wanted to see what the Nikka Taketsuru 12 year-old could do in a cocktail and how certain fall ingredients would support the Whisky. At the Fifth Floor, we’re swinging into Fall right now and seasonality plays a big part in what we do in the kitchen as well as the bar. 

I decided to choose Christian Drouin’s Pomme de Normandie as the main lifter in the cocktail. It’s heavily influenced with baked apples with some cinnamon and clove spice that work perfectly with the oak in the Nikka as well as the spiced pear and apple notes. Then there’s some Luxardo Maraschino added in to add a little more depth and a dry, nutty quality to the cocktail with a few dashes of black walnut bitters we make in house to finish off the cocktail.

I really prefer this cocktail as an Aperitif or Digestivo and works great with our in house charcuterie program or cheese plate. Just think of apples and pears, toasted almonds or walnuts and maybe some quince paste. The cocktail has enough depth to clean your palate in between bites so you can enjoy every bit of your meal.

Newton’s Theory

2 oz. Nikka Taketsuru 12 Year Old Japanese Whisky

.75 oz. Christian Drouin Pomme de Normandie

.25 oz. Luxardo Maraschino

4 Dashes Black Walnut Bitters

  • Combine all ingredients into a mixing glass and add ice.
  • Stir for about 10 seconds and then strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.
  • Garnish with skewered apples spheres and be thankful you’re having a cocktail and not having an apple shot off your head.
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