This non-alcoholic sparkler is decidedly sophisticated: fennel's light, anise flavor tempered by sweetly autumnal apple juice.
For the Fennel Syrup (makes about 1 cup)
- 1 1⁄2 tbsp. fennel seeds
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
For the Spritzer
- 2 oz. (1/4 cup) unfiltered apple juice
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 10 oz. (1 1/4 cup) seltzer or sparkling water
- Apple slices and fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)
Make the fennel syrup: Coarsely grind fennel seeds in a spice grinder. Add seeds, sugar and water to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture begins to thicken, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 20 minutes. Pour the fennel syrup through a fine strainer and let cool until room temperature, about 30 minutes. Syrup will keep, airtight, in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Make the spritzer: Stir together 2 tbsp. fennel syrup, apple juice, and lemon juice in a tall ice-filled glass. Top with seltzer, and garnish with apple slices and fennel fronds, if using.