Yup, this is our last blog post. More details on that in a bit. But first let’s concentrate on this delightful fall-themed drink.
Applejack and orange juice celebrate autumn flavors. Brandy and grenadine add extra punch and tingle. The result?
A drink that says hello to fall. Even when it’s saying goodbye.
Recipe: The Swan Song Cocktail
This is one of the rare cocktails that features two primary spirits (brandy and applejack in this case). Most cocktails have one primary spirit, plus lesser quantities of secondary flavorings (like vermouth, for instance). But applejack and brandy pair quite well, so the combination really works in this drink. Adding OJ enhances the fruity flavor. But this drink still has bite – and it’s definitely dry enough to serve as a predinner drink.
This cocktail is much less well known than it should be. We found it in Lesley M. M. Blume’s Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition (a fun collection of largely forgotten alcoholic libations).
This recipe takes about 5 minutes to prepare and serves 1.
- 1 ounce brandy or cognac
- 1 ounce applejack (see Notes)
- 1 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice (see Notes)
- 1 to 2 dashes grenadine (to taste; use more if you want a sweeter drink)
- garnish of an orange twist (optional)
- Add all the ingredients (except garnish) to a cocktail shaker half filled with ice. Shake vigorously until the contents are well chilled (about 20 seconds).
- Strain into a cocktail glass, preferably one that has been chilled. Garnish, if you wish, and serve.
- This drink traditionally is served “up” in a cocktail glass. But we also like it over ice in a rocks glass.
- We sometimes use bottled orange juice in drinks. But we think this cocktail is much better with freshly squeezed OJ.
- Applejack is a form of brandy that’s made from – wait for it! – apples. In the US, the most common brand of applejack is made by Laird & Company. You’ll most often see the 80-proof version of Laird’s applejack, which is good stuff. But if you can find the bonded (100 proof) version, give it a try – the flavor is superior.
- You could substitute French calvados for applejack (but it will be pricier).
- You can use either domestic brandy or French cognac for this drink. We suggest using a decent name brand, though you don’t need anything particularly expensive. Your local liquor store will probably have a good suggestion.
- For the grenadine? It’s easy to make your own, so that’s what we recommend. See our post on Homemade Grenadine. The most common brand of commercial grenadine has terrific neon color, but blah flavor. When you make grenadine from pomegranate juice, it’s tons better.
- Our usual disclaimer: We’re noncommercial and do not benefit from mentioning brands. We suggest only what we like (and buy with our own money).
- We often skip the orange twist garnish. But it does look nice.
We’ve thoroughly enjoyed writing Kitchen Riffs. But after almost 12 years – in which time we’ve created over 700 posts with thousands of photos and close to a million words – it’s time to move on. We’re healthy and well – we just have some activities planned that won’t mesh with a regular blogging schedule. (We may post some recipes on Facebook in the future, but no promises.)
We’re so grateful to all our readers. You’ve inspired us, and we appreciate your kindness and friendship. We’ve made some terrific blogging buddies who have enriched our lives. We’ll still be visiting your blogs (but do note that we have a lot of activities lined up, so our visits will be sporadic). Please know that we treasure you.
Thanks to everyone.
The Long Goodbye
“Swell sipper for our swan song,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “Gorgeous, too, just like the song of the swan is reputed to be.”
“It is,” I said. “And no need to do an elaborate song and dance about this being our last post.”
“Writing the blog has been fun and entertaining,” said Mrs K R.
“And we’ve nowhere near run out of ideas for recipes – or puns!” I said. “But it’s time for other things.”
“Yup,” said Mrs K R. “We’re singing from the same page on that.”
“Totally in tune,” I said. “So to speak.”
“But please don’t burst into song,” said Mrs K R. “We don’t want to shatter the cocktail glasses.”
“Guess I do sing in an unusual key,” I said. “But I always dance to my own tunes!”
“Yeah, looney tunes,” said Mrs K R.
Speaking of which: That’s all, folks!
Wow, John — what a surprise! Thanks for your friendship over these years — your kindness and thoughtful comments were so appreciated. Of course I still hope you will visit C&L from time to time. I’ve loved learning about (and drinking quite a few!) cocktails from you — your punny humor always adds a twist.
I wish you and Mrs. KR all the best in this next phase. It’s odd —mi just wrote a blog post about “when bloggers” disappear — thanks for letting us know you are well and happy!
Will miss you, my friend.
Hi David, will absolutely be visiting you! When travel permits. :-) Thanks so much for your friendship and all the great recipes you make on your blog. :-) And also thanks for this very kind comment.
It's always sad to lose a good fellow blogger! Good to see that your reasons are happy ones, not due to some misfortune. I wish you many happy cocktail hours ahead of you.
best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com
Hi Mae, thanks so much! Will definitely be stopping by your blog when I can just to see what you're reading. :-)
Oh, goodness! I'm really going to miss you. I've been following your blog for quite some time and you almost always leave me with a smile. Sorry that I haven't commented sooner - that's just me. Will make this cocktail this weekend and will toast you and Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. Happy trails.
Hi Donna, you'll like this cocktail! And thank you so much for such a kind comment. :-)
WOW! You did pick a winner for your last post. But seriously, wishing you and your wife a wonderful adventure ahead. I have completely and thoroughly enjoyed your posts all these years. Best wishes to you both.
Hi Laura, thanks so much! We've been saving this cocktail for, well, our swan song. :-)
What a gracious farewell and what a fine ending cocktail to share with us. John, I can sure relate to needing to explore new things as we grow older. Blogging has become more of a challenge since I punched that 71 mark, not because of my age, but cause I got things I want to do.
Do enjoy your travels and time together in the future and if you find your way in our area let me know, we'll treat you guys to a proper Swedish home-cooked meal...
This is so sad! But I’m happy for you!!!
Hi Ron, we're a similar age, and that's one of the reasons we're moving on to other things. Thanks so much for your kind comment. :-)
Hi Mimi, aw, thanks! :-)
What a beautiful and tasty last post. I hope you guys have a wonderful time on your upcoming adventures. Cheers!
Hi Pam, thanks so much for that very kind comment! :-)
John, what a surprise! And a little bit of disappointment, too... I mean hey, where am I going to learn about all these unique cocktails and also get inspired?! Now, I've got to make and taste even more cocktails than ever before, just to keep the cocktail production going LOL
I wish you all the best in your new endeavors. And hopefully, we will see you as a blogger in some capacity (What about travel blog?!) again in the future.
P.S. Beautiful cocktail and the name; perfect for the farewell post!
Hi Ben, there are so many cocktails yet to write about! We're going to miss all the "research." :-) Thanks for the comment.
Dang it all! But go, yes, live your lives IRL. Blogging has become way less engaging, absorbing. ~ Alanna
Hi Alanna, blogging, alas, has lost a bit of its bloom. We'll miss it, though, but we want to move on. Thanks for your comment, and especially thanks for all the encouragement you've given us over the years. We're grateful to you.
Such a pretty and tasty drink to end the blogging...I am sad that you don't have time to blog,and I ill really miss the flirty conversations between you and Mrs., John, but life is more than just blogging and I wish you two a fun adventure ahead!
Hi Angie, thanks for that kind comment! We do have loads of fun things planned, so we'll be busy. :-)
What surprising and sad news for us! Best wishes in your new adventures and I'll be thinking of you. Thank you for your support all these years. Prost with my glass in hand!
Hi Evelyne, we're sorry to stop posting, but excited to have more time for other things. Prost! And thanks. :-)
What a beautiful and lovely end-post! As usual, your presentation photo looks perfect. i loved. Good luck with the rest of your lives. Greetings.
Hi B&S, we're looking forward to new adventures! :-) Thanks so much for your comment.
John, I'm sad. For me. But happy for you and Mrs Riffs as you embark on other adventures. A beautiful final post for a beautiful blog. I do hope you'll be leaving it online. Boy, I'm going to miss you!
Oh John. Truly I will miss you and Mrs. Riffs. But YOLO! And I so get it. Do it while you can and leave it to you to leave us with a swan song. When ever I see a swan I will now think of you and Mrs. Riffs peacefully paddling somewhere in a beautiful spot with perhaps a cocktail or two in hand. With a tear in my eye, I wish you all good things ahead. Hugs to you both. Abbe
Hi Jean, no plans to take down any of the blog; certainly not for quite some time, if at all. Thanks for that very kind comment.
Hi Abbe, we have a few tears in our eyes, too. But it's time. Thanks for being you through all these years. And thanks for that wonderful comment.
I am sorry to hear that you won't be posting to your blog any longer. I have always enjoyed all the wonderful recipes that you have posted over the years, including this cocktail, it sounds wonderful. I will miss you. I hope the new chapter in your life brings you happiness. You and Mrs. Riff take care!!
Hi Dawn, we will take care! :-) Thanks for that lovely comment.
Dear John and Mrs KR your blogs are always so special and you are such a warm, kind and engaging person. On a Thursday morning I look forward to reading your latest post with amazing stories and photographs; great recipes and creative cocktails with an amazing history. You will be missed but I understand your desire to move onto new pastures and wish you both well. Please check in occasionally and take care of yourselves. Sending you both a huge hug xo
Hi Merryn, gosh, such a nice comment! Thanks you SO much for that. :-)
Happy trails but will miss the banter of Kitchen Riffs. Please enjoy your time and hope to catch up with you on FB if I can. Have thoroughly enjoyed our time together and your always thoughtful comments at EE. Do take care. Enjoy the sunset with cocktail in hand!
Hi Debra, we'll miss writing those endings! Although they sound remarkably like our normal everyday conversations. :-) Thanks for the kind words.
No-o-o-o!!! I will miss your blog posts so much. I hope that you'll be leaving the blog online, so that I can continue to search through your fabulous drink recipes ... although I fully realize that it costs money to do that, and if you're not actively working with the blog, you may not want to lay out that cash. And who could blame you? Anyway, that you so much for all the enjoyment I've gotten out of following your blog.
Hi Jeff, we plan to leave it online for the next few years at least (good thing about Blogger is there's very little cost to it). Thanks for the kind words. :-)
Congrats on the milestone 12 years of blogging. That's huge! I hope one day you'll come back to it, as I've much enjoyed your cocktail and cooking recipes, not to mention the artsy photography. Enjoy your time away from it all. Hope it's fun and relaxing. ;)
Hi Carolyn, we've got a lot of fun stuff planned. :-) Thanks so much for your kind comment. :-)
Ah, we'll miss you John, but hopefully you will be doing thing even more fun than blogging. Even more fun than blogging cocktails! Best wishes to you and Mrs Kitchen Riffs!
Hi Inger, we do have some neat stuff lined up to do. :-) Thanks for that kind comment!
Best of luck to you, John! We'll miss you!
We treasure you, too, John. Thanks for inspiring us for over a decade...wishing you well on this next chapter!!! XOXO
Hi Kelly, thanks so much! :-)
Hi Liz, we're looking forward to it! And thanks for the kind words. :-)
Hi John. Your blog is one of the first food blogs I discovered, way back when. I've always admired your work, recipes and photographs. I've loved your ending conversations with Mrs. KR, too. They always made me smile. I'll be referencing your site often -- especially for those beautiful and fun cocktails. Cheers to your next chapter! :-) ~Valentina
Hi John!! I saw your FB post yesterday evening and I had to compose myself overnight to come over here and leave this comment!! Thank you for so many years of content that I have always found entertaining, educational and inspiring!Thank you for so many gorgeous photos of food and drinks. Also, I'm not sure you know that you and David from C & L were the very first non-family members who EVER left a comment on my blog back in 2015!! Your visits and comments have big a huge part of my motivation to keep on blogging and I always look forward to your comments. I have also always found visiting your blog to be a comforting and uplifting experience. I sure will miss your lovely posts!! But, I most certainly do wish you and Mrs. KR the very best in your upcoming travels and experiences. I'm so glad you'll be getting out there and having some fun. However, I'll still hold out hope (like I'm sure everyone else does) for an occasional update on this page!! LOL And I'll still be visiting this page to check out all the older posts I have yet to read on Kitchen Riffs!! Take care, safe travels and the blogosphere will certainly miss you!! xo -M
Hi Valentina, we really enjoyed writing those endings! Thanks so much for that very kind comment. :-)
Hi Marcelle, aw, that's such a sweet comment! Thanks so much -- it means a lot. :-)
What an appropriate post for your last! Congratulations to you and Mrs. K.R. It's fabulous that you have things to do and places to go and that you have the health to do so. I wish you best for many more years of fun, travel, and the time to spend lots and lots of quality time together to do whatever you feel like even if it's nothing but watching a Wednesday afternoon matinee. Enjoy! Thanks for so sharing so many wonderful recipes. Cheers, MJ
Hi MJ, this really is the perfect drink for our last post. :-) And thanks so much for that delightful comment!
All the best. It’s been a blast. GREG
Hi Greg, Thanks so much! :-)
Thanks John, for lovely photos and great recipes written with humor. You will be missed from the blogging space.
Hi Lydia, thanks so much! :-)
Sorry to see you go. I just ran across your site on Foodgawker and was intrigued by the beautiful drink. Well, best wishes in your future endeavors.
Hi Alexia, thank you so much! :-)
I wish you and Mrs Kitchen Riffs well. It’s been a joy reading your posts and being inspired by the delicious recipes you post.enjoy your next chapter XOXO
Dearest John, thank you for the over 10 years of blogging friendship. We have been through a lot together. Kitchen Riffs is a legacy that will live on forever. After all, you are our favorite spot on the web for the perfect cocktail like this delicious fall inspired Swan song Cocktail. I will certainly miss you and Mrs. Riff's humor. I hope wherever your journey takes you that you stay healthy, happy and have a cocktail shaker in hand. Love ya dear friend.
Oh my gosh, I will certainly miss your recipes and your kitchen wit! I hope to hear about your new phase of your foodie journey!
Please do stop by again and stay in touch!
All the best,
Hi Eva, thanks so much! :-)
Hi Bobbi, you are one of my earliest blogging friends, and I've really appreciated your friendship. Thank you. :-)
Hi Roz, I'll be around from time to time visiting blogs. :-) Thanks for the comment.
What a wonderful way to celebrate 12 years of blogging but at the same time sad that it is your last post. Even though I have known you only for last few years but it was always great to visit your blog. You will certainly be missed. Take care.
Hi Balvinder, thanks for that very kind comment. :-)
Hi R, it's really good. :-) Thanks for the comment.
I am so sad to hear this is your last post, but I am happy about your future plans and I wish you all the best. We have always enjoyed visiting your site and we love your stories and humor. You were one of the first to visit our site when we started, and I appreciate all your support over the years. I will really miss your posts, but all good things come to an end. I hope you will keep in touch and let us know how you are doing. All the best to the both of you, and happy travels.
Hi Pat and Dahn, we're looking forward to the future! Thanks so much for that very kind comment. :-)
You'll be missed.
Hi Amalia, aw, thanks so much! :-)
Wow, John! I hope you enjoy the next chapter and the blogging break! You'll be missed for sure. I've always enjoyed your posts and recipes.
Hi Amy, thanks so much! :-)
There is no better recipe to go out on! I will miss your blog so much, John. You are creative and funny, and have made my time blogging more enjoyable. It is a lot of work, so I hope you enjoy whatever you have planned. I also can't help but hoping you'll post an update on here from time to time ...
Hi Laura, blogging IS work, isn't it? Fun, though. But happy to be on to other things. :-) Thanks so much for your kind words!
What! thats a shocker, I know its best for you so all we can do is miss those wonderful cocktail posts and recipes off course. All the best!
Hi Raymund, thanks so much! :-)
Noooooooooooo! But, of course, I understand. It's the end of an era. With a beautiful cocktail as a send-off.
Hi Lisa, an end of an era indeed! :-) Thanks for the comment.
That's very sad to hear that news even if I knew you blog for a pretty short amount of time. Anyway thanks again for the very kind comments you let on my blog. I wish you the best for the future :)
Hi FT, thanks so much! :-)
I can't believe it! Say it isn't so?!?! It's more than a little depressing to see you go. I've seen so many wonderful blog go by the wayside over the years. Kitchen Riffs is (was?) one of the few from back in the old days when I, too, was first starting out. Now.. well... Of course, I understand. Life moves on and other priorities take precedence. Anyway thanks for the memories and do keep in touch!
Hi Frank, we're somewhat sad too! This was a hard decision to make. But as you say, life does move on. At least we hope so! :-) Thanks for the kind words.
Oh John , I am going to miss your blog posts and your great conversation with Mrs.K . Wishing you the very best for the future. Stay healthy and well. Gerlinde
Hi Gerlinde, thanks so much! :-)
Che buono! Lo assaggerei volentieri!
Hi Paolina, it's really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
All the best and do plan to come back again may be after a break. Love your posts and recipes. Thanks
John, I just gave your website to a very sweet bartender in Honolulu. Gerlinde
I have been away from blogs and just saw your post. Your cocktail sounds delicious. I have some Calvados, but then I think this drink would be pretty strong. I understand that blogging takes time. I have had mine for 13 years and thought to stop it as well but I did not, I just post whenever I can. I wish you great travels and the best in everything you do.
Hi Sonia, thanks so much! :-)
Hi Gerlinde, aw, that's so nice! Thanks!
Hi Vagabonde, we thought about doing just occasional posts, but finally decided against it. Tempting idea, though. Thanks for the comment.
I have enjoyed your blog so much, John and Ginger. Merci mille fois for sharing your wonderful cocktail and food recipes and brilliant photography. I've forwarded your posts to friends many times. I am sure that you will enjoy whatever you have planned next. Bonne chance, mes cousins!
Hi Danielle, thanks so much for those kind words. We just got back from an Istanbul to Dubai cruise -- saw loads of cool and historic stuff (our trip included visits to Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, so how could we not have!) Good food, too -- we were particularly impressed by the food in Istanbul. More travel ahead. :-)
O wow, I did not see this one coming. I can understand why you'd want to stop after such a long time, but I am definitely going to miss reading your fun articles and the delicious recipes. Having said that; I wish you and Mrs. KR all the best for the future and thanks for your amazing content!
Hi Simone, thanks so much for your kind comment! This was a difficult decision for us, because writing the blog was FUN. But there are so many other things we want to do, and it's hard to find time to do everything. We're still testing out lots of drinks and devising nifty recipes, though -- just not blogging them. :-)
Hi Izaa, it's really good stuff. :-) Thanks for the comment.
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