The apple of our eye! This fall, we’re obsessed with a centuries-old sipper called pommeau that’s now showing up in Northern Michigan. Here’s how to make this month’s Last Call cocktail featuring local pommeau (grab some from Two K Farms or Tandem Ciders, both in Suttons Bay).

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Call me captain obvious, but I always love pouring apples into my glass each October. Sometimes that means running U-Pick Honeycrisps through our juicer, other times I join my kids in sucking down a glass of cider from our favorite Northern Michigan farmstand. On rare occasions, I might even treat myself to a nip from my bottle of Calvados. Recently, I’ve also started adding pommeau to my autumn lineup.

Pommeau Flip Last Call Cocktail close up

Photo by Dave Weidner

Pommeau is a sweet but not cloying cordial that is made by combining high-proof apple brandy with fresh apple juice before the combination is aged in barrels. Apple farmers in Normandy and Brittany have been making the port-like sipper since the 16th century. Here in Michigan, Mike Beck began distilling and aging a pommeau for Uncle John’s Cider Mill north of Lansing some 20 years ago, and the product is now being crafted Up North. Tandem Ciders and Two K Farms—both located in Suttons Bay—also bottle the sweet treat. “We make it by blending sweet cider with cider brandy and aging it in American oak barrels,” says Tandem’s cider maker Dan Young. The latest batch, which Young named Pomona after the Roman goddess of fruit trees and orchards, was aged for 52 months.

Pommeau has notes of baked apple and caramel and tastes like an apple wine. It is historically thought of as an aperitif, but I like it even better at the end of a meal, much like a dessert wine. I also love mixing it into a flip. Flip cocktails have been around almost as many hundreds of years as the tradition of pommeau. Before the category of cocktails became associated with rum or other boozy spirits they were originally made with beer, wine or sherry. In this recipe, we bring the flip back to those wine-based roots, which makes this a relatively lower alcohol option to add to your cocktail canon. Traditionally, flips—the same category of cocktails from which homemade eggnog comes—are served with a few passes of freshly shaved nutmeg on top, but I recommend skipping that when making one with pommeau. Instead, the nose of butterscotch and brown sugar found in a good pommeau benefit from a twist of bright lemon. Plus, maybe that’s just unexpected enough to allow me to keep drinking apples this October without worrying that I’m becoming too predictable.

Pommeau Flip Last Call Cocktail

Photo by Dave Weidner

Related Read: Sip Like a Local: Leelanau Wineries, Breweries & Cideries

Pommeau Flip Cocktail Recipe

Serves 1

  • 1 fresh egg
  • 2 ounces pommeau, such as Two K or Tandem
  • 1⁄2 ounce simple syrup
  • 3 dashes of lemon bitters
  • 1 piece of freshly cut lemon peel

View the step-by-step directions below

View of Pommeau Flip Last Call Cocktail

Photo by Dave Weidner

Directions: Place ice cubes in a flared cocktail glass or small wine glass to chill. Add egg, pommeau and simple syrup to a large, dry shaker. Seal tightly and shake continuously until the egg is emulsified and foamy, about 30 seconds. Carefully open the top of the shaker, add one or two ice cubes and shake again until the shaker is cold, about 10 seconds. Discard the ice in the glass and pour contents of the shaker into the glass, being sure not to leave any of the frothy egg behind. Garnish with a few dashes of bitters and serve with a piece of lemon peel. Go ahead and flare that lemon peel if you know how, hot shot.

Pommeau Flip Last Call Cocktail lemon peel

Photo by Dave Weidner

Stacey Brugeman is a 20-year food and beverage journalist. Her work has appeared in Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Saveur, Eater and on Instagram @staceybrugeman.

Dave Weidner is a local photographer for Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Follow him on Instagram @dzwphoto.

Sarah Peschel is a stylist and photographer with an appreciation for all things related to local agriculture, food and drink.

Photo(s) by Dave Weidner