KO Distilling focuses on keeping its process fully in Virginia, from the wheat, rye, corn and barley it purchases for its whiskeys to feeding the recycled mash back to livestock, specifically pigs.
“We mill, mash, ferment, bottle,” says Peter Mowery, Virginia sales and marketing director for KO. “It’s grain to glass in the building.”
For this warm cider cocktail, KO uses its American wheat whiskey, which has a flavor profile of butterscotch and notes of vanilla, anise, oak and a little caramel. The pear shrub adds complexity. It’s not hard to make, but shrubs are easy to purchase too.
Whiskey & Spiced Cider Shrub Cocktail
Yields: 1 cocktail
- 1 ripe pear, peeled and diced
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 oz fresh apple cider
- ¼ oz pear shrub
- 1½ oz aged wheat whiskey (such as KO Bare Knuckle American wheat whiskey)
- 2 oz ginger ale
- cinnamon stick, for garnish
Prepare Pear Shrub: In 2- to 4-cup Mason jar, add pear and ¼ cup sugar; cover jar, shake and let stand at room temperature 20 minutes or until pear releases its juice. Add vinegar, stir, then transfer to blender, or use immersion blender; blend until pureed. Strain mixture into bowl or storage container. Add remaining ¾ cup sugar and stir until sugar dissolves.
In small saucepan, heat apple cider and pear shrub over medium heat until mixture simmers; pour into mug or heatproof glass. Add whiskey, then top with ginger ale and garnish with cinnamon stick. Store any unused pear shrub in refrigerator up to 1 month.