The First Frost is an autumn-inspired cocktail made with white rum, green Chartreuse, and a homemade apple cinnamon syrup. This sweet and sour sipper has layered flavors of fruit, herbs, and spice. If you’re looking for a fall drink that’s a little outside the box, this complex rum cocktail is for you!
In addition to being an interesting blend of flavors, this cocktail is a great option when you’re looking for new ways to use that bottle of green Chartreuse, or a recipe using dry vermouth that isn’t a Martini. The homemade apple cinnamon syrup is easy to make and can be used in all kinds of other fall drinks and treats.
Ingredients you’ll need:
- White rum
- Green Chartreuse
- Dry vermouth
- Lime juice
- Apple cinnamon syrup (full details below)
Choose a quality white rum. I used Cruzan Aged White Rum for this recipe. I’d just been gifted a bottle and it’s a nice, mild, smooth rum with notes of vanilla. A more bold rum can also work in this cocktail, counterbalancing the intensity of the Chartreuse. The white blended rum Probitas could be a nice choice here for its full flavor and notes of banana and other tropical fruits.
What is Chartreuse?
Chartreuse is a French liqueur that’s been made by Carthusian monks since the 1700s. It’s secret recipe, which includes a blend of more than 130 botanicals, has been around even longer. It has a very potent herbal flavor that’s matched by it’s whopping 55% abv (110 proof).
Chartreuse comes in two varieties: classic green, and the milder, slightly less alcoholic yellow. This complex liqueur adds sweetness and layers of flavor including spice, vanilla, and mint. It’s particularly nice paired here with the sweet and tart flavors of the green apple and cinnamon syrup.
About dry vermouth
Vermouth is a fortified, aromatised wine. It comes in sweet and dry varieties, and in both red and white. Here we’re using dry white vermouth, which has herbal and floral flavors with a very dry, tart finish. Dry vermouth lightens up some of the heavier flavors in this cocktail and softens the rough edges of the rum and the Chartreuse.
Use fresh lime juice
Freshly squeezed lime juice is crucial for adding bright, citrus flavor and aroma. The tartness of the lime offsets all of the sweet notes from the rum, liqueur, and apple syrup.
How to make the apple cinnamon syrup
To make this easy apple syrup, you’ll need:
- Green apples
- Cinnamon sticks
In a small saucepan, combine a half cup of sugar and a half cup of water (this make a small batch). Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring frequently, until all of the sugar dissolves. Now, add one chopped green apple and one broken cinnamon stick and bring the liquid to a boil.
Once bubbling, reduce the heat and allow the syrup to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the fruit just begins to break down. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool fully.
Use a fine mesh strainer to remove the solids and store the syrup in a sealed container in the refrigerator. This syrup will last about two weeks. Make a larger batch of syrup with: 4 apples, 2-3 cinnamon sticks and 2 cups each sugar and water. Add an ounce or two of vodka or grain alcohol to keep a larger batch of syrup fresher for longer.
This apple cinnamon syrup is also used in my Bitter Apple Negroni.
How to garnish with apples
I made a simple apple rose for this garnish. The easiest way to create an apple rose is to use a vegetable peeler to remove thin slices of apple. Lay the slices on a plate and microwave them for about 30 seconds. The warmth softens the slices and makes them more pliable.
Now lay the slices out in a straight line, with each slice just overlapping the next. Carefully roll the slices up and secure them with a cocktail pick. Find expert tutorials on making roses from just about any fruit or vegetable on the Instagram account @onedrinkaday.
You can also garnish this cocktail with an apple fan. Learn how to make perfect apple fans in my 5 Easy (and Beautiful) Cocktail Garnishes tutorial.
You may also enjoy these other fall cocktails:
- 8 Cocktails to Make You Fall in Love with Fall!
- Pear Ginger Pisco Sour
- Turmeric Chai Hot Buttered Rum
- Calvados Jack Rose
- Gold Rush
First Frost (Rum and Green Chartreuse Cocktail)
- 1½ oz white rum (I used Cruzan Aged White Rum)
- 1 oz lime juice
- ½ oz Green Chartreuse
- ½ oz dry vermouth
- ½ oz apple cinnamon syrup* (syrup recipe below)
- Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill it 3/4 with ice.
- Shake until chilled, then strain the liquid into a coupe glass.
- Garnish with an apple rose or apple fan.
*Apple Cinnamon SyrupIngredients:
- 1 green apple
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick