Spiced Marilyn

Jenneffer Pulapaka

Cress, DeLand, FL

Vodka is infused with cardamom, peppercorns, ginger, apples, and other aromatics in this effervescent cocktail that's topped off with a final flourish of cava and a splash of Hennessy.


Apple-Spiced Vodka:

  • 4 whole cardamom pods
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 4 whole peppercorns
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole lemon, seeds removed, peeled, and juiced (reserve the peels)
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 2 Fuji or Honeycrisp apples, cleaned, peeled, cored, and halved
  • 2 to 3 ounces vodka

For the drink:

  • 5 ounces cava
  • Splash of Hennessy
  • 2 tablespoons apple-spiced vodka
  • Poached apples for garnish


Make the apple-spiced vodka: add all the ingredients except the apples to a non-reactive saucepan. Over medium heat, sir to dissolve the sugar and salt. Turn down the heat to low and add the apple halves and cover the pan. Simmer on low for about 1 hour until the apples are just soft. 

Remove the apple halves with a slotted spoon and refrigerate them for garnish later. Increase the heat and simmer the spiced liquid (uncovered) until only about 1 cup is left. Remove from the heat add 2 to 3 ounces of vodka to loosen the syrup. Refrigerate until cold, about 1 hour. Adjust the seasoning as needed. (Note: the apple-spiced vodka can be refrigerated for 6 weeks.)

To serve: in a coupe glass, stir together the cava, splash of Hennessy, and apple-spiced vodka. Garnish with some diced poached apples and enjoy. 


1 cocktail