The Washington apple shot has been around since at least 1934 when it was first introduced as an appetizer on the menu of the White House.
Today, the Washington apple shot continues to be one of America’s most iconic cocktails.
It’s also one of the easiest drinks to make because all you need are two apples, simple syrup, lemon juice, and bitters.
The result is a refreshingly tart treat that will surely impress even the pickiest guests.
What Is A Washington Apple Shot?
A Washington apple shot is an alcoholic drink made from finely chopped fresh apples in a mixture of sweetened condensed milk and bourbon or whiskey.
The name “Washington Apple Shot” comes from the fact that President Franklin D. Roosevelt loved his apple shots and would often order them while he ate lunch at Blair House.
When asked how many people were eating with him, Roosevelt famously said, “They’re not here for my cooking.
They’ll eat anything but they won’t touch what I cook.”
Roosevelt never actually had any apple shots himself, but he did love having them served to him by his personal chef, James Beard.
Afterward, he requested that the restaurant serve up more apple shots every time he ordered.
Over the years, the apple shot became popular among American presidents and celebrities alike, including Marilyn Monroe who reportedly always kept several bottles of apple-based spirits in her refrigerator.
Today, some bartenders prefer to use cranberry juice instead of sweetened condensed milk, which adds another layer of flavor to the taste.
How Do You Make A Washington Apple Shot?
Washington apple shots are traditionally served in small glasses or wine goblets which makes them ideal for sipping on your patio table while enjoying some good company.
To start, slice each apple into six wedges (so you have 12 total).
Next, combine the sliced apples with 1/3 cup of simple syrup in a blender until they become juicy and pulpy.
Next, add 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice and 3 dashes of Angostura bitters.
Blend again until everything becomes smooth and then pour the mixture back into the blender jar.
Add another dash of bitters if needed.
Now you can serve up your Washington apple shot by pouring the contents of the blender directly into your glass.
If you want, you can garnish the drink with slices of fresh mint leaves.
If you like your Washington apple shot sweeter than others, feel free to increase the amount of sugar used in the recipe above.
What Is The Recipe For A Washington Apple Shot?
There is no official Washington apple shot recipe, but there are plenty of variations out there.
You can find recipes online that include everything from vodka to brandy, rum to tequila, or even orange liqueur.
But we recommend sticking with the basics here.
If you want something more adventurous, try making your own variation using our tips below.
- Apple cider vinegar (1 part): Use 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar per 2 cups water. Add some honey if you like sweet shots.
- Simple Syrup (1 part): Combine equal parts sugar and boiling water until dissolved. Cool completely before adding other ingredients.
- Lemon Juice (1 part): Squeeze fresh lemons into a glass jar and add enough cold water to cover them. Let sit overnight, then strain through cheesecloth and discard pulp.
- Bitters (1 part): Mix equal parts Angostura Bitters and Simple Syrup together.
- Apples (3-6 halves): Select any variety of crisp, flavorful apple available. Slice off the top and bottom and cut each half into 6 wedges.
- Ice (optional): Fill ice cube trays with cubed ice and freeze until solid. Place cubes directly in shot glasses and fill with prepared mixture.
It might take a little trial and error to get these proportions correct.
However, once you have found your preferred balance between citrus and acidity, the rest should follow naturally.
What Is In A Washington Apple Shot?
To start, we have our apples which must be firm but not too ripe or they won’t hold their shape well enough during the process of making the drink.
Next up is the liquid part, which comes from both fresh squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup (a mixture of water and sugar).
Finally, we add some bitters to give the drink its signature flavor.
As the name implies, bitters include spices like cardamom, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, etc., so you can customize your own Washington apple shot by adding whatever flavors strike your fancy.
Ingredients for a Washington apple shot
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 4 cups water
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Dash salt
If you want to get really creative, try experimenting with different types of fruit juices instead of plain apple cider vinegar.
For instance, if you prefer using pineapple juice instead of apple cider vinegar, simply replace half of the vinegar with pineapple juice.
You may also use orange juice, grapefruit juice, raspberry juice, or any other fruit-based beverage of choice.
How Do You Serve A Washington Apple Shot?
This drink goes great with any meal or occasion.
You can serve it straight up for dinner, but I think it tastes best if you add it to your favorite alcoholic beverage.
For instance, I prefer to pair mine with hard cider, while others like their shots with beer or wine.
- Washington Apple Shot (makes 1)
1 ½ cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
¼ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
½ cup Simple Syrup (recipe below)
Dash Angostura Bitters
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and cored
- Combine juices, simple syrup, and bitters in a bowl. Peel 3 apples and cut into bite size pieces. Add them to the mixture along with the remaining apple pieces. Stir well until combined.
- Cover and let sit overnight in refrigerator before serving cold. Serve chilled over ice.
What Is The Alcohol Content Of A Washington Apple Shot?
This sweet-tart drink packs quite a punch.
A single serving contains about half a gram of pure ethanol (the same amount found in one 12 oz beer) which makes them ideal for those who want something more than a glass of wine but less than a full bottle of liquor.
As if that wasn’t enough, they pack a ton of flavor too.
Apples contain significant amounts of pectin, which gives them their characteristic sourness while also contributing to the drink’s fizzy texture.
Lemon juice adds acidity while its bitterness balances out the sweetness from the sugar in the simple syrup.
Finally, the addition of bitters provides additional depth of flavor thanks to their high levels of tannins.
What Is The Origin Of The Washington Apple Shot?
Although the Washington apple shot gets its name from the state in which it originated, there isn’t much evidence to suggest where or how exactly it got started.
However, it’s likely that it began life in New York City back in the 1930s.
At some point in time, someone decided that making Washington apple shots would be a great way to serve them up for people who were visiting President Franklin D Roosevelt at his home.
As such, they began adding these little gems to the White House’s famous menus, which helped to spread the drink across the country.
Ingredients for the Washington Apple Shot
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 12-16 drops Angostura bitters
- 2 apples (about 1 pound)
Step by step instructions for the Washington apple shot
- In order to make the Washington apple shot, start off by cutting your apples into small cubes. Then, put the cubed apples into a mixing bowl along with the sugar and water. Next, cover the mixture and let sit overnight. Once the apples have macerated, strain out any pulp using cheesecloth.
- Once the apples have been strained, pour the liquid into a pitcher and add the lemon juice. Mix together thoroughly before adding 12-16 drops of Angostura bitters. Serve immediately while the fruit is fresh and delicious.
How Did The Washington Apple Shot Get Its Name?
There’s no clear answer why the Washington apple shot got its name, but there are several theories floating about.
One popular story goes like this: back in the 1930s, President Franklin D Roosevelt used to frequently order the drink while attending parties hosted by his wife Eleanor (who loved her apple pie).
So whenever he ordered the shot, she would ask for “the Washington Apple”.
Another theory says that the Washington apple shot originated during Prohibition when bartenders were asked to create new recipes to keep up with demand after alcohol consumption became illegal.
And then there’s the idea that the drink got its name from another famous apple-related event which took place during World War II…
What Are Some Variations Of The Washington Apple Shot?
There are many different versions of the Washington apple shot out there but here’s what they look like in terms of ingredients and preparation.
- Classic Apple Shot – The classic Washington apple shot is made by simply squeezing fresh lemons over sliced apples. The resulting sweet-tart taste will leave your palate feeling refreshed.
- Spiced Apple Shot – If you want something more unique than the standard apple shot, try making this spiced version which uses cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, and vanilla bean pods instead of lemon slices.
- Cranberry Apple Shot – Some people think cranberries go better with vodka while others prefer rum. Try this variation if you can’t decide between the two.
- Pineapple Apple Shot – To add another twist to the traditional Washington apple shot, use pineapple juice in place of lemon juice.
- Honey Pear Shot – Instead of using lemons or limes to flavor the shot, try adding honey (or maple syrup) to the mix.
Is The Washington Apple Shot A Popular Drink?
A little over half (52%) of Americans have had a Washington apple shot in their lifetime, according to data from YouGov BrandIndex.
That makes the Washington apple shot one of the more popular alcoholic beverages available today.
It’s no surprise then, that many restaurants offer the Washington apple shot on their menus.
In fact, there are more than 400 different establishments throughout the United States that serve up the classic cocktail for patrons.
So if you find yourself at home or out and about looking for a tasty beverage, why not give the Washington apple shot a try?
You may already know how to make the Washington apple shot, but here are some tips to keep in mind while preparing your own version of the famous drink.
To start, wash your hands thoroughly before making any shot-related preparations.
Wash them well enough to remove dirt, grease, and other foreign substances.
This can help prevent bacteria from contaminating your food preparation area.
Next, cut each apple into four wedges.
Then slice off the skin using a sharp knife.
Finally, put both the wedged and sliced pieces of apple into a medium bowl.
Add the simple syrup, lemon juice, and bitters.
Stir everything together until they’re combined.
If you’re new to the Washington apple shot, don’t worry!
We’ll go through the entire process step by step below.
Just follow along closely and use these tips to create a delectable treat every time you prepare it.
Now grab a shot glass (or a cup) and fill it halfway with ice cubes.
Next, pour the mixture from the mixing bowl into the prepared glass.
Give the shot a stir with a spoon before serving it to friends and family members who want to enjoy a nice cold drink.
- 1 Glass
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup water
- ½ teaspoon lemon juice
- 12 drops Angostura bitters
- 2 apples
- In order to make the Washington apple shot, start off by cutting your apples into small cubes. Then, put the cubed apples into a mixing bowl along with the sugar and water.
- Next, cover the mixture and let sit overnight. Once the apples have macerated, strain out any pulp using cheesecloth.
- Once the apples have been strained, pour the liquid into a pitcher and add the lemon juice.
- Mix together thoroughly before adding 12-16 drops of Angostura bitters. Serve immediately while the fruit is fresh and delicious.