Summertime and the livin’ is oh-so easy. It’s a time for picnics, beach walks and lazy afternoons on the deck. As we move into the hot, summer weather, low-proof cocktails are the smart choice to while away the hours while staying both relaxed and refreshed.
Sessionable cocktails, as some bartenders are now calling them, can be big on flavor without a lot of high-test spirits. Their interest and complexity comes from a wide range of vermouths and/or liqueurs, like pleasantly bitter artichoke-based Cynar, for example, or fruity crème de cassis or the decidedly floral St. Germain. These are ingredients that harken back to cosmopolitan, pre-Prohibition libations where the emphasis was often on sophistication, not just booziness.
The Rose Delice is one such cocktail. Developed for the Angry Orchard Innovation Cider House in Walden, New York, it starts with that other summer favorite, rosé cider. The cider itself is on the sweet side with flavors of various ripe berries, so no need for any added sweeteners. With the cider as a starting point, layers of flavor are built using two lightly bitter, red wine-based aperitifs: Lillet Rouge and Byrrh Grand Quinquina, which gets its bitter punch from quinquina bark and other botanicals and oak-barrel aging, as well as Dolin Rouge Vermouth de Chambéry, flavored with a complex and secret combination of Alpine plants harvested in the mountains outside of Chambéry, France.
Any of these are fabulous on their own over ice, but combined together with the cider they make something special — rich, fruity, and slightly spicy, yet light and easy, perfect for a summer Sunday with friends.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 ounces Lillet Rouge
½ ounce Byrrh Grand Quinquina
½ ounce Dolin Rouge Vermouth de Chambéry
½ ounce fresh orange juice
½ ounce ginger juice
2 ounces Angry Orchard Rosé Cider
Mix all the ingredients together and pour into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with a slice of orange, if you want to get fancy.