By Peter Holmstrom
Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of “Mad Men.” It’s arguably the sole reason I started drinking Manhattans.
Now, with Mad Men sadly coming to a close, we take a look at some of the inventive ways cocktail chefs are bringing together the worlds of cocktails to our favorite beverage—hard cider. The Internet is ripe with recipes, either developed by bar chefs, or the at-home consumer, and we’ve collected a few (as well as preferred cider selection) right here.
Sazerac and Cider
The Sazerac is steeped in history, going back to centuries, and has donned the mantel of “America’s First Cocktail.” Sazerac is known for their floral, and herby flavors, with a fair amount of zest. The addition of cider to the mix adds a nice crisp, dry tannic quality to the mixture, while adding a new layer of apple flavor that pairs surprisingly well with rye whiskey.
Makes 2 cocktails
2 sugar cubes
6 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
3 ounces rye whiskey
2 dashes Absinthe
4 ounces cider (try Wandering Aengus‘ Wickson)
Lemon peel, optional
- In a cocktail mixer, place sugar cubes with the bitters. After a few moments, add the ice and rye whiskey.
- Stir until well chilled and the sugar is almost completely dissolved.
- Put a dash of absinthe in each of the serving glasses, and swirl to coat the sides. Fill each glass with ice.
- Strain the chilled rye mixture evenly between the two serving glasses and top each one with two ounces cider. Garnish with lemon peel if desired and serve.
Cider, as we all know, covers a wide range of flavors and sweetness levels. The Irish cider mixes a number of sweet elements together to make a cocktail, and in this case, you’ll be looking for an equally fruity cider to add to the mix. Crispness is also a plus, and using a cider with bubbles will add a nice distinction to the drink. Some recipes call for simmering the cider with the other non-alcoholic ingredients, to blend the flavors together, but this is not required.
Makes 1 cocktail
1 ½ ounces Irish whiskey
¾ ounce dark rum
1 ½ ounces cider (try Big B’s Harvest Apple)
1 ½ ounces lemon juice
1 ½ ounces agave nectar
- Place all ingredients in a shaker, and shake vigorously.
- Pour through a strainer into a glass filled with ice (hard ice if you can), and garnish with ground cinnamon.
This wins the prize for sheer simplicity. The recipe is easy for one or for a large party. It’s the sort of recipe you just have to make and trust that it’s worth it… Because it is.
Makes 1 cocktail
½ pint hard apple cider (try Angry Orchard Traditional Dry)
½ pint lager (give the Widmer Omission Lager a try if desiring a gluten free option)
- Pour beer into pint glass, and allow head to diminish.
- Pour cider and allow to settle then enjoy.