New York’s Candle 79 Mixologist Kyle Bullen’s Exclusive Eating with Abs Autumnal Cocktail

New York-based Kyle Bullen transitioned from his career as a male model into his current role as a lead mixologist in the fine-dining sector. His passion for and commitment to animal advocacy first lead him to Millenium Restaurant in San Francisco–the most-upscale vegan eatery on the West Coast–and then to New York’s über-posh Candle 79 in Manhattan, where he fashions artisanal cocktail recipes and manages the bar. He’s super-handsome, has a heart of gold, and helped edit the just-published Candle 79 Cookbook. Below, he concocts a special autumnal cocktail using Eating with Abs’ favorite purveyor of organic, eco-friendly spirits–Puro Verde Tequila. Take it away, Kyle–it’s a true honor to have you contribute!

I get excited when autumn rolls around. I love working with flavors of summer, but my enthusiasm is far more aroused when I see the rising towers of pumpkins, apples, pomegranates, and other fall favorites along the street-side farmers’ markets of New York City. The colors and flavors this time of year take me back to gatherings with my family in Ohio, childhood trips to the apple orchard for fresh cider, and walks through colorful forests with my father, the trees showering us with falling leaves.

The name of this year’s Autumnal Cocktail at Candle 79, Mexican Apple doesn’t quite transport you to Ohio, but having spent several years living in San Francisco amongst a true melting pot of people in my early 20s, I’ve come to appreciate the integration of flavors inspired by a medley of cultural and culinary traditions.

My gift of feeling and thinking in flavors is the life source of my drinks. When I create a cocktail, I start with one base flavor in mind. For the ‘Mexican Apple’ it was Puro Verde’s Reposado Tequila. It has a clean, fresh taste that I knew would pair well with one of the most classic seasonal libations, hard apple cider. My favorite apple brew, Doc’s Draft, is locally made with New York State apples, a natural choice, with a crisp, dry flavor.

Kyle in-action this Thanksgiving at Candle 79

After selecting these two dominate tastes, the rest is about layering and weaving other interesting flavorful notes to create an exciting dance on the tongue. Finally, bitters ties this cocktail together seamlessly on the palate. And so the Mexican Apple was born and found its home on this year’s Candle 79 Thanksgiving Libations menu.

Only subtly sweet, the Mexican Apple is a refreshing cocktail with balanced fall flavors, delicate enough for a meal, but equally delightful sipped on its own!

Mexican Apple Cocktail Recipe

  • Glassware: 12 oz. rocks glass
  • 1 ½ oz. Puro Verde Organic Reposado Tequila
  • ¾ oz. Pomegranate concentrate
  • ¾ oz. Vanilla bean infused agave simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Bar Keep Apple Pie bitters
  • 2 ½ oz. Dry hard apple cider
  • Ice
  • Apple wheel Garnish

Instructions: Add all ingredients over ice and stir. Garnish with an apple wheel.

To make the vanilla bean agave simple syrup, mix equal parts water and agave with vanilla bean. You may substitute a dash of vanilla extract with the bean. If you cannot find pomegranate concentrate, use juice. To balance the sweetness of juice, you may wish to use slightly less agave nectar. If you cannot find Bar Keep Bitters, use one dash of the classic, Angostura Aromatic Bitters. In my recipe, I use Doc’s Draft Hard Apple Cider.

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