Pucker up, buttercup—today we’re mixing up Appletinis!
This is one delightful 90s libation that you don’t want to miss. At first sip, you’re bound to get a taste reminiscent of Sour Apple Jolly Ranchers, but—believe it or not—those candies are not what give this cocktail recipe its signature sweetness. The key ingredient in the Appletini is Sour Apple Pucker: a bright green schnapps that came on the scene in 1997. Almost instantly, a creative bartender at a Los Angeles bar specializing in zany cocktails mixed up the first Appletini, and today it’s our turn! So go grab your bottle of Sour Apple Pucker, because it’s time to revive this 90s favorite!
In the 90s, the glitzy nightlife scene of Los Angeles was on everyone’s mind. Bars and clubs opened throughout the city to capitalize on the booming nightlife trend, and there were colorful cocktails in abundance. Lola’s opened in LA in 1996 and found its niche in bright, whimsical cocktails.
While Sour Apple Pucker didn’t receive immediate attention at first release, it did catch the eye of Lola’s owner, Loren Dunsworth. She asked one of her staff bartenders, Adam Karsten, to mix up a drink using the new liqueur. He stirred up some Sour Apple Pucker with vodka, floated a lemon-soaked apple slice on top, and the Appletini was born. Though it was originally called Adam’s Apple, aptly named after its creator, the drink soon became known as the Appletini and quickly grew in favor among cocktail lovers around the world.
Step 1: Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and top with ice.
Step 2: Shake until chilled and well combined.
Step 3: Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish.
For garnish, I experimented with two options: a maraschino cherry, and a skewer alternating green apple and caramel. Both were delicious!
While the Appletini was in high demand for a few years, eventually sugary drinks became off-putting to many, stopping the Appletini trend right in its tracks. This same shift in cocktail preferences has also meant that colorful liqueurs, like Sour Apple Pucker, are seen less frequently on liquor shelves. And because I would hate for the Appletini to be forgotten, I’ve decided to add a little intrigue to this neon delight.
Here, I’ve mixed in an ounce of Midori Liqueur, a move that enhances the drink’s sweet, fruit-forward flavor. I also couldn’t make up my mind on garnish so thought—why not do a couple! The classic recipe calls for a maraschino cherry, so I went that way on the first round. Then, I mixed things up a bit with a skewer of rotating green apple and caramel. Either way you go, you have my word that this delicious vodka cocktail won’t disappoint!