The Harvest Moon is a specific phase of the moon that falls on the Saturday closest to the fall equinox – which is September 23rd. It became known as “Harvest Moon” because its bright glow allowed farmers to continue their harvest late into the night before the advent of electricity.
Although it’s known as other names in various parts of the world – Wine Moon, Elk Call Moon, Singing Moon – it gets the ‘Harvest’ moniker because it appears in the Northern Hemisphere during harvest season. NASA has a great video explaining the science behind this special event.
As helpful as this event is for farmers, it’s also good news for cocktail lovers! In 2007, longtime bartender Daniel Eun decided to dedicate a cocktail to this annual event. Thus, the Harvest Moon cocktail was born.
Here’s the recipe found in the PDT Cocktail Book.
1.5 oz Wild Turkey rye whiskey
1 oz Lillet Blanc
½ oz Laird’s Bonded apple brandy
¼ oz Green Chartreuse
3 dashes of Abbott’s Bitters
Pour ingredients into an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well. Strain into a chilled coupe and serve. If desired, garnish with an orange twist.
As with any specific brands of spirits and liqueurs, feel free to use whichever one you like. If Abbott’s Bitters are hard to come by, substitute with Angostura.
It’s a delicious, surprisingly smooth cocktail. The apple brandy and chartreuse come through nicely and the whiskey grounds it with a strong, but not overpowering flavour. A definite go-to during late September and Fall months but it’s also light enough to have year ‘round.
This cocktail pays real tribute to the Harvest Moon with its golden orange hue. Wait for it to get dark, turn the lights low, and let the moon’s glow shine down. The cocktail’s own glow will mimic the moon and you may momentarily feel that special connection that farmers share with our evening light.