Tender Knob Cocktail Drink

Tender Knob

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
A shot of Andrea Ottaiano looking to the camera and offering a cocktail glass.
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano
Gather your ingredients and make yourself a Tender Knob, a cocktail recipe that promises an awesome drinking experience.

Tender Knob Recipe

The Tender Knob recipe is a no-fuss, easy-to-mix drink that brings freshness to your glass with its apple and bourbon pairing.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

2 minutes

Servings:

1

Calories:

197 kl

Ingredients

  • 1 slice Organic Granny Smith or Fuji apple, 1/8-inch wide
  • oz Knob Creek Bourbon
  • 2 oz Hard Apple Cider
  • ¾ oz agave nectar
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • Ice cubes
  • Apple slice, for garnish

Equipment

  • Shaker
  • Double Old Fashioned Glass
  • Muddler
  • Cocktail Strainer

Instructions

  • Prep glass: Make sure your service glass is chilled.
  • Add first ingredients: Add to the shaker 1 pinch cinnamon, 1 slice Organic Granny Smith or Fuji apple, and ¾ oz agave nectar.
  • Muddle: Muddle your mixture to release and mix all the flavors.
  • Combine the rest of the Ingredients: Add 1½ oz Knob Creek Bourbon and 2 oz Hard Apple Cider to the shaker then fill it with ice.
  • Shake: Shake the mixture until well-chilled.
  • Strain: Strain the contents into a double Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Do not double-strain; allow some apple bits to enter the drink.
  • Garnish: Add an apple slice for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If Knob Creek isn't available, any quality bourbon will do. I sometimes use a rye whiskey for a spicier kick.
  • Apple Cider: No hard apple cider? Use regular apple cider and add a splash of club soda for fizz.
  • Agave Nectar: Honey or maple syrup can be a sweet alternative, adding their unique flavors.
  • Apple: Any crisp apple variety works. I prefer organic to avoid pesticides and unwaxed so the muddle is pure.

Making a Pitcher of Tender Knob:

  • Scale: To serve 8, use 12 oz of bourbon, 16 oz of hard apple cider, 6 oz of agave nectar, and 8 apple slices.
  • Mix: Muddle the apple slices in a large pitcher, then add the bourbon, cider, agave nectar, and cinnamon. Stir well.
  • Serve: Fill Old Fashioned glasses with ice, pour the cocktail, garnish with apple slices, and serve.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative for a completely alcohol-free version.
  • Hard Apple Cider Substitute: Opt for non-alcoholic apple cider or apple juice.
  • Proceed: Replace the alcoholic ingredients with these substitutes and follow the original steps.

Making it Vegan:

Ensure all ingredients, including the agave nectar and apple cider, are certified vegan. Some ciders may use animal products in processing, so check for vegan-friendly labels.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
197
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.2
g
0
%
Saturated Fat
 
0.01
g
0
%
Sodium
 
4
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
24
g
8
%
Fiber
 
1
g
4
%
Sugar
 
21
g
23
%
Potassium
 
73
mg
2
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Polyunsaturated Fat
 
0.03
g
Vitamin A
 
8
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
5
mg
6
%
Calcium
 
7
mg
1
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%

 

Tender Knob Cocktail Drink

Tender Knob Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
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The Tender Knob recipe is a no-fuss, easy-to-mix drink that brings freshness to your glass with its apple and bourbon pairing.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 2 minutes
Servings: 1
Calories: 197

Ingredients
 

  • 1 slice Organic Granny Smith or Fuji apple - 1/8-inch wide
  • oz Knob Creek Bourbon
  • 2 oz Hard Apple Cider
  • ¾ oz agave nectar
  • 1 pinch cinnamon
  • Ice cubes
  • Apple slice - for garnish

Equipment

  • Shaker
  • Double Old Fashioned Glass
  • Muddler
  • Cocktail Strainer

Instructions

  • Prep glass: Make sure your service glass is chilled.
  • Add first ingredients: Add to the shaker 1 pinch cinnamon, 1 slice Organic Granny Smith or Fuji apple, and ¾ oz agave nectar.
  • Muddle: Muddle your mixture to release and mix all the flavors.
  • Combine the rest of the Ingredients: Add 1½ oz Knob Creek Bourbon and 2 oz Hard Apple Cider to the shaker then fill it with ice.
  • Shake: Shake the mixture until well-chilled.
  • Strain: Strain the contents into a double Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Do not double-strain; allow some apple bits to enter the drink.
  • Garnish: Add an apple slice for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Bourbon: If Knob Creek isn't available, any quality bourbon will do. I sometimes use a rye whiskey for a spicier kick.
  • Apple Cider: No hard apple cider? Use regular apple cider and add a splash of club soda for fizz.
  • Agave Nectar: Honey or maple syrup can be a sweet alternative, adding their unique flavors.
  • Apple: Any crisp apple variety works. I prefer organic to avoid pesticides and unwaxed so the muddle is pure.

Making a Pitcher of Tender Knob:

  • Scale: To serve 8, use 12 oz of bourbon, 16 oz of hard apple cider, 6 oz of agave nectar, and 8 apple slices.
  • Mix: Muddle the apple slices in a large pitcher, then add the bourbon, cider, agave nectar, and cinnamon. Stir well.
  • Serve: Fill Old Fashioned glasses with ice, pour the cocktail, garnish with apple slices, and serve.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Bourbon Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic whiskey alternative for a completely alcohol-free version.
  • Hard Apple Cider Substitute: Opt for non-alcoholic apple cider or apple juice.
  • Proceed: Replace the alcoholic ingredients with these substitutes and follow the original steps.

Making it Vegan:

Ensure all ingredients, including the agave nectar and apple cider, are certified vegan. Some ciders may use animal products in processing, so check for vegan-friendly labels.

What is a Tender Knob?

A Tender Knob is a cocktail that combines bourbon with apple, accented by a hint of cinnamon. It’s a modern twist on classic flavors, taking its name from the Tendernob area in San Francisco and offering a straightforward yet refined taste experience.

A Tender Knob cocktail, shot from above, in an Old Fashioned glass on a white coaster placed on a dark grey table surrounded by two cinnamon sticks, a jigger, half green apple, a white cloth, and a Bourbon bottle.

What is in a Tender Knob – The ingredients

A Tender Knob is concocted from the following ingredients:

  • Organic Granny Smith or Fuji apple slice: Adds a fresh, crisp taste.
  • Knob Creek bourbon: Provides a robust, full-bodied whiskey foundation.
  • Hard apple cider: Introduces a fizzy, tart apple flavor.
  • Agave nectar: Sweetens the cocktail naturally.
  • Cinnamon: Gives a warm, spicy note.
  • Ice: Chills and dilutes the drink to the perfect strength.
  • Apple slice (for garnish): Enhances the presentation and aroma.

Knob Creek Bourbon, hard apple cider, agave nectar, two cinnamon sticks and a green apple laid out on a white bar table.

How do you make a Tender Knob?

Create a Tender Knob with our beginner-friendly, step-by-step guide:
1
Chill your Old Fashioned glass by stirring some ice cubes in it.

Chill your Old Fashioned glass by stirring some ice cubes in it.

2
Add a pinch of cinnamon into the cocktail shaker.
Muddle a pinch of cinnamon together with agave nectar and a slice of organic Granny Smith or  to release its juices and flavor.

Add a pinch of cinnamon into the cocktail shaker. Muddle a pinch of cinnamon together with agave nectar and a slice of organic Granny Smith or to release its juices and flavor.

3
Place the slices of organic Granny Smith or Fuji apple in the shaker.

Place the slices of organic Granny Smith or Fuji apple in the shaker.

4
Pour the agave nectar into the shaker.

Pour the agave nectar into the shaker.

5
Using a muddler, mix all the ingredients together.

Using a muddler, mix all the ingredients together.

6
Add hard apple cider to the mix.

Add hard apple cider to the mix.

7
Pour Knob Creek bourbon into the shaker.

Pour Knob Creek bourbon into the shaker.

8
Fill the shaker with ice cubes.

Fill the shaker with ice cubes.

9
Shake the mixture vigorously until the shaker feels cold to the touch.

Shake the mixture vigorously until the shaker feels cold to the touch.

10
Refill the ice cubes from your chilled double old fashioned glass.

Refill the ice cubes from your chilled double old fashioned glass.

11
Strain the cocktail into a double Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice, making sure some muddled apple gets into the glass.

Strain the cocktail into a double Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice, making sure some muddled apple gets into the glass.

12
Garnish the drink with an additional apple slice to complete the cocktail.

Garnish the drink with an additional apple slice to complete the cocktail.

13
Enjoy your Tender Knob cocktail!

Enjoy your Tender Knob cocktail!

History and Origins of the Tender Knob

The Tender Knob cocktail finds its roots in the vibrant cocktail culture of San Francisco. It’s a creation by H. Joseph Ehrmann, a bartending icon and the owner of Elixir, one of the city’s oldest continually operating taverns. The cocktail’s name playfully references the Tendernob area, blending the Tenderloin and Nob Hill neighborhoods. The drink also nods to Knob Creek bourbon, a key ingredient that anchors the cocktail’s flavor profile. This concoction emerged as a celebration of San Francisco’s unique heritage and Ehrmann’s penchant for creating drinks that resonate with the city’s spirit and history. It combines the timeless appeal of bourbon with the regional love for fresh, organic produce, represented by the muddled apple, a fruit synonymous with autumn and harvest festivals. The Tender Knob is a testament to the city’s innovative approach to classic cocktails, offering a modern twist that has become a beloved addition to the cocktail scene.

A Tender Knob cocktail, shot from above, in an Old Fashioned glass on a white marmol table surrounded by Knob Creek Bourbon, hard apple cider, agave nectar, two cinnamon sticks and half green apple

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FAQ

How many calories are in a Tender Knob?
A typical version has approximately 200-250 calories, depending on the specific ingredients used.
What is the alcohol by volume (ABV) of a Tender Knob?
The ABV of a Tender Knob can vary, but it's generally around 20-25% ABV, given the bourbon and cider content.
What proof is a Tender Knob?
Considering the bourbon used, a Tender Knob is typically around 40-50 proof.
What type of alcohol is in a Tender Knob?
A Tender Knob primarily contains bourbon.
What does a Tender Knob taste like?
The cocktail tastes like a harmonious blend of the warmth of bourbon and the tart-sweetness of apple, with a hint of cinnamon spice.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Tender Knob?
The classic ratio is 1 slice organic Granny Smith or Fuji apple, 1½ oz Knob Creek bourbon, 2 oz hard apple cider, ¾ oz agave nectar, 1 pinch cinnamon.
How do you serve a Tender Knob?
You serve the drink over ice, it's a muddled and shaken drink.

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