Taproot Cider House in Traverse City, Michigan, goes all apple, all the way. Making ciders in-house as well as using them on the menu, in the kitchen and behind the bar — in addition to apples — Taproot commits to the bittersweet cause. The pub-style food list ranges from pizza and sandwiches to fresh, leafy salads and a gooey fondue with grilled local sausage and organic apples, all focused on non-GMO, organic and local livestock.
Behind the bar, Michigan rules the roost across 17 taps, including the two house-made ciders, one a rotating seasonal and the other the Madagascar Vanilla Bean Bourbon Barrel Aged. That semi-dry cider is aged in bourbon barrels from nearby Grand Traverse Distillery and finishes at a heaping 12 percent ABV, making it the perfect topper on the expansive cocktail menu.
From the whiskey drink selection, the Rare Cherry showcases Michigan delicacy Montmorency tart cherries with bourbon and topped with this vanilla-forward, toasty cider.
Makes 1 cocktail
1½ ounces Eagle Rare 10-year Bourbon
3-4 Montmorency tart cherries
½ ounce simple syrup
½ lemon, juiced
5 drops Woodford Reserve spiced cherry bitters
1-2 ounces Taproot Madagascar Vanilla Bean Bourbon Barrel Aged Cider
Garnish: cherry, lemon peel
Pour all ingredients except the cider into a mixing tin. Add ice, cap, shake and double strain into a coupe. Top, filling the glass, with the cider. Garnish with cherry and lemon peel.