Jump to content


Welcome to the eG Forums!

These forums are a service of the Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancement of the culinary arts. Anyone can read the forums, however if you would like to participate in active discussions please join the Society.

Photo

Apricot Brandy: Apry, Etc.


  • Please log in to reply
116 replies to this topic

#61 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,110 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 17 June 2007 - 05:46 AM

Flatiron Lounge recently had a nice Apry drink on their menu called the "Slope" (presumably after Park Slope). It's similar to the Red Hook, only substituting Apry for the maraschino. The Red Hook is 2 rye and half each of Punt e Mes and maraschino. Since Apry is not as assertive as maraschino, you'll want to play with the ratios a bit to find out what works best.

Another cool cocktail for Apry is the Golden Dawn (equal parts Calvados, gin, Cointreau, Apry -- shake, strain, dribble in a little grenadine).

Apry would also be good as the sweet component of a Julep (I've been making gin juleps with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, but that's for another thread).
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#62 Nathan

Nathan
  • participating member
  • 4,260 posts

Posted 17 June 2007 - 02:34 PM

Flatiron Lounge recently had a nice Apry drink on their menu called the "Slope" (presumably after Park Slope).  It's similar to the Red Hook, only substituting Apry for the maraschino.  The Red Hook is 2 rye and half each of Punt e Mes and maraschino.  Since Apry is not as assertive as maraschino, you'll want to play with the ratios a bit to find out what works best.

Another cool cocktail for Apry is the Golden Dawn (equal parts Calvados, gin, Cointreau, Apry -- shake, strain, dribble in a little grenadine). 

Apry would also be good as the sweet component of a Julep (I've been making gin juleps with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, but that's for another thread).

View Post


If I recall correctly (don't count on it!)...I think they told me the Slope was 2:1:1. It is a nice drink.

#63 DCP

DCP
  • participating member
  • 258 posts
  • Location:Baltimore metro area, MD, USA

Posted 18 June 2007 - 12:51 PM

If you have some time on your hands, a freezer, and a willingness to flaunt the law, you could make true apricot brandy at home.

Start with pure apricot juice, freeze it slowly to remove water and increase the sugar concentration.  Then add a cider yeast starter (available from a home brew store) and/or wine yeast and allow it to ferment for 3-6 months.  At this point you'll have apricot wine.

Now proceed as if you were making applejack and just freeze it repeatedly, discarding any ice that forms until it stops forming.  The final alcohol concentration will depend upon the temperature of your freezer.  When you make applejack, most people can achieve 60 proof using the freezer.

As I noted above, I wouldn't tell the ATF if you do this as fractional crystallization is considered a form of distillation (i.e. technically a felony as if you were operating an illegal still).  If you're sure the feds aren't going to raid your home, you should be fine though...

View Post


[Il]legalities aside, I'd be more concerned about health impact. Fusel oils (types of congeners) produced during fermentation are removed by traditional evaporative distillation, but concentrated by fractional crystallization. Depending on the specifics, one could implicate freeze distillation in side effects from headaches to vomiting, or worse.

OTOH, impurities = flavors, and if we relentlessly pursued their elimination then it would be pure ethanol in our glasses. I don't know where the line is; perhaps someone more experienced in distillation can lend their knowledge?
David aka "DCP"
Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

#64 Friend of the Farmer

Friend of the Farmer
  • participating member
  • 79 posts
  • Location:BOS

Posted 18 June 2007 - 02:31 PM

Home distillation of fruit sounds like an expensive hobby. And if you just use the apricot juice you won't get any of the characteristic tastes that come from the apricot stones. I'd stick to buying Apricot eau-de-vie or the comparable apricot fruit liqueur.

#65 JAZ

JAZ
  • manager
  • 4,902 posts
  • Location:Atlanta

Posted 30 June 2007 - 04:11 PM

I've been making what I call the Orchard Paradise -- Applejack, Apry, a splash of Maraschino, lemon juice and a dash of peach bitters. It's reminiscent of one of the sweeter hard ciders (it was also described as fruit salad in a glass, but in a very good way).

#66 bostonapothecary

bostonapothecary
  • participating member
  • 1,268 posts
  • Location:have shaker will travel

Posted 30 June 2007 - 11:30 PM

I've been making what I call the Orchard Paradise -- Applejack, Apry, a splash of Maraschino, lemon juice and a dash of peach bitters. It's reminiscent of one of the sweeter hard ciders (it was also described as fruit salad in a glass, but in a very good way).

View Post



i wonder if you could find a plum brandy and then you could take the stone fruit theme to the next level....
abstract expressionist beverage compounder
creator of acquired tastes
bostonapothecary.com

#67 DCP

DCP
  • participating member
  • 258 posts
  • Location:Baltimore metro area, MD, USA

Posted 01 July 2007 - 06:48 PM

i wonder if you could find a plum brandy and then you could take the stone fruit theme to the next level....

View Post


Sounds delicious. About 9 months ago I was on a plum wine kick and picked up a bottle of every sort I could find. One in particular was knock-you-over strong, and we were positive it was actually mislabeled plum brandy. Never figured out what to do with it, and I'm fairly sure it was tossed during a kitchen re-organization.

Fairly sure I know which place it came from, and can hunt down the brand if you like.
David aka "DCP"
Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

#68 eje

eje
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,359 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 01 July 2007 - 09:20 PM

i wonder if you could find a plum brandy and then you could take the stone fruit theme to the next level....

View Post


Sounds delicious. About 9 months ago I was on a plum wine kick and picked up a bottle of every sort I could find. One in particular was knock-you-over strong, and we were positive it was actually mislabeled plum brandy. Never figured out what to do with it, and I'm fairly sure it was tossed during a kitchen re-organization.

Fairly sure I know which place it came from, and can hunt down the brand if you like.

View Post

Being the stickler kind of guy that I am, I will point out that what is typically labelled "Plum Wine" is not actually a fermented beverage made from Plums.

It is really a type of plum liqueur made by steeping whole plums in "white liquor" with sugar. Depending on the proof of the liquor you start with, you can have a real range of proof. Many of the commercial ones seem to be around 15% Alcohol. Homemade ones could be 30% (typical shochu) or higher.

Real "Plum Brandy" is typically called "Slivovitz", "Quetsch" or "Mirabelle". Clear Creek makes a nice slivovitz style Blue Plum Eau de Vie. It is similar in character to a Grappa or Kirsch.

Edited by eje, 01 July 2007 - 09:25 PM.

---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#69 BTR

BTR
  • participating member
  • 96 posts
  • Location:Santa Barbara

Posted 01 July 2007 - 11:38 PM

If I'm not mistaken, Mirabellenbrand is made from yellow plums and Slivovitz from blue.

Having only had kind of nasty slivovitzes I'm not really in a position to say what sort of flavor difference that makes, if any, but I'd imagine it's rather subtle.

#70 DCP

DCP
  • participating member
  • 258 posts
  • Location:Baltimore metro area, MD, USA

Posted 06 July 2007 - 11:15 AM

Being the stickler kind of guy that I am, I will point out that what is typically labelled "Plum Wine" is not actually a fermented beverage made from Plums.

It is really a type of plum liqueur made by steeping whole plums in "white liquor" with sugar.  Depending on the proof of the liquor you start with, you can have a real range of proof.  Many of the commercial ones seem to be around 15% Alcohol.  Homemade ones could be 30% (typical shochu) or higher.

Real "Plum Brandy" is typically called "Slivovitz", "Quetsch" or "Mirabelle".  Clear Creek makes a nice slivovitz style Blue Plum Eau de Vie.  It is similar in character to a Grappa or Kirsch.

View Post


Interesting! That would certainly explain the flavor. Thanks for the details.
David aka "DCP"
Amateur protein denaturer, Maillard reaction experimenter, & gourmand-at-large

#71 bostonapothecary

bostonapothecary
  • participating member
  • 1,268 posts
  • Location:have shaker will travel

Posted 08 July 2007 - 01:35 AM

so marie brizzard apry seems impossible to get these days and i'm irritated because i don't have an ingrediant i'm used to having. anyone have a apricot brandy in mind that is not disgustingly sweet and available in nyc.  thanks

View Post



i found some marie brizard apry today are girace wine and spirits in the north end.... that place is incredible by the way.... picked up some nardini amaro as well....
abstract expressionist beverage compounder
creator of acquired tastes
bostonapothecary.com

#72 lynchu

lynchu
  • participating member
  • 3 posts

Posted 10 July 2007 - 12:34 AM

i wonder if you could find a plum brandy and then you could take the stone fruit theme to the next level....

View Post


The Charlie Chaplin Cocktail
1 part apricot brandy
1 part sloe gin
1 part lemon juice

A little weak to my taste but highly delicous.

(served on the rocks)

Edited by lynchu, 10 July 2007 - 12:35 AM.


#73 Nathan

Nathan
  • participating member
  • 4,260 posts

Posted 10 July 2007 - 06:17 AM

i wonder if you could find a plum brandy and then you could take the stone fruit theme to the next level....

View Post


The Charlie Chaplin Cocktail
1 part apricot brandy
1 part sloe gin
1 part lemon juice

A little weak to my taste but highly delicous.

(served on the rocks)

View Post


substitute a robust london dry gin for the sloe gin. it makes for a stronger and more dry version of this cocktail.

#74 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,627 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 07 August 2007 - 06:48 PM

Flatiron Lounge recently had a nice Apry drink on their menu called the "Slope" (presumably after Park Slope).  It's similar to the Red Hook, only substituting Apry for the maraschino.  The Red Hook is 2 rye and half each of Punt e Mes and maraschino.  Since Apry is not as assertive as maraschino, you'll want to play with the ratios a bit to find out what works best.

View Post

If I recall correctly (don't count on it!)...I think they told me the Slope was 2:1:1.

View Post

Having found a bottle of Apry (for Bostonians, at Kappy's in Saugus/Revere) finally, I made a Slope following Sam's receipt:

2 oz rye (Wild Turkey 101)
1/2 oz Punt e Mes
1/2 oz MB Apry

I really liked it. I'm a Red Hook fan, but this brings out different dimensions of the rye than that drink. I can't imagine bumping up the PeM and Apry to 1 and 1 as Nathan suggests, though; it'd overpower the rye, at least for me.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#75 Nathan

Nathan
  • participating member
  • 4,260 posts

Posted 08 August 2007 - 01:21 PM

I guess I need to get around to making this at home and see which way it was.

2:.5:.5 certainly would showcase the rye more.

#76 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,110 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 10 August 2007 - 06:46 AM

In this drink, I'm usually more concerned about overpowering the Apry than anything else. As opposed to the way maraschino cuts right through in the Red Hook, Apry can get lost behind an assertive rye and especially behind the Punt e Mes. I'd be more likely to bump the Apry up to 3/4 and leave the Punt e Mes at 1/2.

Chris, I'm a little surprised that you're concerned about covering up the rye, considering the bottling you use (fwiw, I think Flatiron uses Rittenhouse). It's hard to find a more assertive straight rye whiskey than Wild Turkey. If any rye can stand up to 2:1:1, it's Wild Turkey 101.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#77 Nathan

Nathan
  • participating member
  • 4,260 posts

Posted 10 August 2007 - 07:22 AM

In this drink, I'm usually more concerned about overpowering the Apry than anything else.  As opposed to the way maraschino cuts right through in the Red Hook, Apry can get lost behind an assertive rye and especially behind the Punt e Mes.  I'd be more likely to bump the Apry up to 3/4 and leave the Punt e Mes at 1/2.

Chris, I'm a little surprised that you're concerned about covering up the rye, considering the bottling you use (fwiw, I think Flatiron uses Rittenhouse).  It's hard to find a more assertive straight rye whiskey than Wild Turkey.  If any rye can stand up to 2:1:1, it's Wild Turkey 101.

View Post



I wonder what Lillet would do instead of the Punt e Mes....

#78 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,110 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 10 August 2007 - 07:52 AM

I assume you mean the red one? Could be interesting.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#79 Nathan

Nathan
  • participating member
  • 4,260 posts

Posted 10 August 2007 - 08:50 AM

yup...or Vya or Dubbonet.


on the other hand...I wonder what rye, Apry, Lillet Blonde and a touch of citrus (probably lemon...I think that would play better with the Apry) would do? I guess whether that would go with the rye is questionable...

#80 TBoner

TBoner
  • participating member
  • 113 posts
  • Location:Texas

Posted 10 August 2007 - 10:21 AM

I made a Slope at 2:.5:.5 a couple of days ago. Really good, and the Apry came through nicely in good balance with the Punt e Mes. I used Overholt, BTW. I think WT Rye might overpower the Apry unless you bumped it up a bit. On the other hand, Chris had good results upthread with WT Rye. At any rate, I think the drink could handle experimentation with the basic ratios.

Edited by TBoner, 10 August 2007 - 01:11 PM.

Tim

#81 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,110 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 10 August 2007 - 10:48 AM

TBoner, you say "Apry came through nicely in good balance with the maraschino." Maybe you mistyped? The Slope, which we're talking about, doesn't have any maraschino. In the Slope, Apry more or less subs for the maraschino in a Red Hook... so it's rye, Apry and Punt e Mes (instead of rye, maraschino and Punt e Mes, as in a Red Hook).
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#82 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,627 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 10 August 2007 - 11:56 AM

In this drink, I'm usually more concerned about overpowering the Apry than anything else.  As opposed to the way maraschino cuts right through in the Red Hook, Apry can get lost behind an assertive rye and especially behind the Punt e Mes.  I'd be more likely to bump the Apry up to 3/4 and leave the Punt e Mes at 1/2.

Chris, I'm a little surprised that you're concerned about covering up the rye, considering the bottling you use (fwiw, I think Flatiron uses Rittenhouse).  It's hard to find a more assertive straight rye whiskey than Wild Turkey.  If any rye can stand up to 2:1:1, it's Wild Turkey 101.

View Post

Yeah, I had another two nights ago and realized that I can find the Apry just this side of cloying, and thus wouldn't ever bump it up, even with the WT 101. What can I say: I have a complicated relationship to the intensity of rye, I guess!
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#83 TBoner

TBoner
  • participating member
  • 113 posts
  • Location:Texas

Posted 10 August 2007 - 12:54 PM

TBoner, you say "Apry came through nicely in good balance with the maraschino."  Maybe you mistyped?  The Slope, which we're talking about, doesn't have any maraschino.  In the Slope, Apry more or less subs for the maraschino in a Red Hook... so it's rye, Apry and Punt e Mes (instead of rye, maraschino and Punt e Mes, as in a Red Hook).

View Post


Ummm...right you are. I meant Punt e Mes. Just a momentary brain lapse. At any rate, the drink was quite good.

I've edited the post. Thanks for the heads-up.

Edited by TBoner, 10 August 2007 - 01:10 PM.

Tim

#84 mixtress

mixtress
  • participating member
  • 14 posts

Posted 11 August 2007 - 06:48 PM

The Slope recipe that we serve at Flatiron is:

2 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Apry
Dash Angostura bitters



Flatiron Lounge recently had a nice Apry drink on their menu called the "Slope" (presumably after Park Slope).  It's similar to the Red Hook, only substituting Apry for the maraschino.  The Red Hook is 2 rye and half each of Punt e Mes and maraschino.  Since Apry is not as assertive as maraschino, you'll want to play with the ratios a bit to find out what works best.

Another cool cocktail for Apry is the Golden Dawn (equal parts Calvados, gin, Cointreau, Apry -- shake, strain, dribble in a little grenadine). 

Apry would also be good as the sweet component of a Julep (I've been making gin juleps with St. Germain elderflower liqueur, but that's for another thread).

View Post


If I recall correctly (don't count on it!)...I think they told me the Slope was 2:1:1. It is a nice drink.

View Post


Edited by mixtress, 11 August 2007 - 06:50 PM.


#85 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,627 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 11 August 2007 - 08:15 PM

The Slope recipe that we serve at Flatiron is:

2 1/2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
1/4 oz Apry
Dash Angostura bitters

Now that sounds right on.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#86 eje

eje
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 4,359 posts
  • Location:San Francisco, CA

Posted 12 August 2007 - 11:29 AM

Well, about all I can say is I'm glad I didn't read mixtress post before I made myself a drink last night.

I went with Nathan's proposed 2:1:1 guidelines.

1 1/2 oz Pikesville Rye
3/4 oz Punt e Mes
3/4 oz Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur

Stir, strain.

Yessir, that might just've been the tastiest cocktail I've had in a couple weeks.

The R&W Apricot and the Pikesville are just a beautiful match. Plus, not being as sweet as the Brizard, you can up the amount, and get more of the apricot flavor without exiling the cocktail to candyland.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#87 bostonapothecary

bostonapothecary
  • participating member
  • 1,268 posts
  • Location:have shaker will travel

Posted 12 August 2007 - 11:16 PM

Stir, strain.

Yessir, that might just've been the tastiest cocktail I've had in a couple weeks.

The R&W Apricot and the Pikesville are just a beautiful match.  Plus, not being as sweet as the Brizard, you can up the amount, and get more of the apricot flavor without exiling the cocktail to candyland.

View Post



i've got to try this cocktail tomarrow....

i wonder what the brix of R&W apricot is because their creme de violette is far lower than average for a liqueur.... only 20 brix.... the low sweetness is an interesting ethic but give a tiny learning curve to fitting into classic proportions of classic recipes....
abstract expressionist beverage compounder
creator of acquired tastes
bostonapothecary.com

#88 limewine

limewine
  • participating member
  • 73 posts
  • Location:seattle

Posted 13 August 2007 - 12:20 AM

Yessir, that might just've been the tastiest cocktail I've had in a couple weeks.

The R&W Apricot and the Pikesville are just a beautiful match.  Plus, not being as sweet as the Brizard, you can up the amount, and get more of the apricot flavor without exiling the cocktail to candyland.

View Post

You're not blowin' smoke there -- I just made up one of these to your specs, and it's a keeper. Not having any Apry on hand, I couldn't tackle the Flatiron original, but the R&W works just as you say -- plenty of apricot flavor, but not cloying. Thanks for putting up this recipe.
Paul Clarke
Seattle

The Cocktail Chronicles

#89 Chris Amirault

Chris Amirault
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 19,627 posts
  • Location:Rhode Island

Posted 17 September 2007 - 05:36 PM

Another cool cocktail for Apry is the Golden Dawn (equal parts Calvados, gin, Cointreau, Apry -- shake, strain, dribble in a little grenadine). 

View Post

Thought I had orange so I started a Golden Dawn with Laird's apple brandy -- then realized I had only lemons. Thus the Maize Morning:

3/4 oz apple brandy (Laird's)
3/4 oz gin (Plymouth)
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Apry
1/2 oz lemon juice

Shake; strain. Dribble in grenadine. Peachy -- and peach-y, in fact.
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#90 slkinsey

slkinsey
  • eGullet Society staff emeritus
  • 11,110 posts
  • Location:New York, New York

Posted 18 September 2007 - 08:37 AM

I recently acquired a bottle of Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur. It's an interesting product and I decided to taste-test it alongside Marie Brizard's Apry, which has long been considered the flagship apricot brandy.

First impressions were that R&W's Orchard Apricot smells a lot more like a just-opened container of dried apricots. It's a light, cleaner, "fresh" aroma. Apry, by contrast, had a richer, more complex nose that was less obviously "apricot." In addition, Apry has a considerable almond-like component in the nose (apricot kernel?).

Tasted along, the R&W product, again, has a light, fresh flavor very evocative of dried apricots. That said, I found the impression a little one-note, without a lot of backbone and complexity, which made me wonder how it would hold up in a cocktail. As predicted, Apry was richer, fuller and had a more substantial mouthfeel, but was less reminiscent of dried apricots. The kernel flavor was also quite apparent. Interestingly, Apry had a slight bite and seemed "hotter" compared to Orchard Apricot. Perhaps this is because Apry is 60 proof compared to only 48 for Orchard Apricot? I believe it was Eric who said that Orchard Apricot isn't as sweet as Apry. I can't say that this was my reaction. Or rather, it may have been the case that Apry's more intense and rich flavors compensated for a higher brix All in all, I didn't have the impression that Apry had any more "sweetness per flavor" compared to Orchard Apricot.

Rothman & Winter says that "Orchard Apricot Liqueur combines juice from the seasonal harvest of Austria’s famed Klosterneuberger apricots (known locally as "Marillen") with an eau-de-vie produced from this same fruit." I wonder if this is an eau de vie made from distilled fermented apricot juice, or whether apricot flesh is macerated in neutral spirits which are then redistilled. Regardless, Orchard Apricot has a fresh, "juicy" character similar to other stabilized-fruit-juice-and-booze products such as Hypnotiq -- although I should hasten to add that R&W's products are much higher in quality. I was a little disappointed that it didn't have a more apparent eau de vie character (more on this below), and I didn't detect any evidence that apricot kernels were used in producing the eau de vie R&W uses in Orchard Apricot. Rather, it presented the light, uncomplicated, fresh "juicy" flavors and aromas of apricot.

Marie Brizard says that "the apricots selected by Marie Brizard come from Africa and the Rousillon region of France. After distillation and maceration, the 'spirit' is blended with the finest Cognac to produce a smooth and velvety liqueur." The label also indicates that caramel coloring is added. It's not entirely clear from this whether MB macerates the apricots in neutral spirits and then redistills the infused liquid, making a kind of eau de vie, or whether the infused liquid is used as-is. Regardless, the almond-like flavors and aromas suggest that apricot kernels may be part of MB's process, whereas they and not part of R&W's process. Unlike Orchard Apricot, Apry does not include apricot juice. Apry uses Cognac (more on this below), which undoubtedly contributes to Apry's richness and overall fuller flavor.

I suppose the most simple comparison between the two of them would be to say that Orchard Apricot is more like fruit juice whereas Apry is more like a fruit preserve. The former has a light flavor of fresh fruit, while the latter has a concentrated flavor of transformed fruit.

We decided to give the two apricot liqueurs a go in a cocktail, and chose the Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail: 2 ounces Tanqueray; 1 ounce Apry or Orchard Apricot; 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice; 1 short dash Angostura bitters; shake/strain. Both liqueurs came through quite nicely, and the two drinks appeared to have approximately the same level of sweetness. The version with Apry was noticably more colored. Interestingly, dilution with other ingredients really opened up Apry's fruit flavors, although the kernel flavor was apparent and the Apry cocktail was noticably richer. The version with Orchard Apricot was overall lighter and more delicate with a more subtle flavoring, while retaining the fresh character that sets R&W's product apart. Overall, my friends preferred the Apry cocktail. I enjoyed them both, and thought the Orchard Apricot cocktail was a nice change of pace. With a product this subtly flavored, however, it's going to be difficult to use in cocktails so that its flavor makes an impact but it doesn't overly sweeten the drink. I can see it being useful as an aromatic float, perhaps (Alchemist used to make me a drink that more or less consisted of a egg white gin sour with a bit of damson and/or sloe gin floated on top -- something like that sounds like a possibility for Orchard Apricot).


With respect to R&W's eau de vie and MB's Cognac (remember I said "more on this below)... a lot depends on how much they're using. Just because they say they're using eau de vie and Cognac doesn't mean that 100% of the liquor has to be eau de vie and Cognac. Indeed, I would be surprised if this were the case. Something like 51% would be what I would expect, and there have been "XXXXX-based liqueurs" sold in the US that have had a substantially lower percentage of the claimed base spirit. I should add, however, that using only a percentage of eau de vie or cognac isn't necessarily a bad thing. The manufacturers add enough of the product to contribute the flavors, aromas, etc. they want. Some manufacturers only claim to be made with "French vodka" or "the finest Cognac" or whatever for image and marketing purposes only, but I don't believe that is the case for either R&W or MB.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey