Drinking light and low is all the rage right now. Lower in alcohol, sessionable but with all the same flavor as a high-octane beverage, low-proof cocktails — also known as shims — often rely on liqueurs, bitters and fortified wines to keep the alcohol content down. These ingredients are balanced with something pleasantly complex and sparkling to create volume, without contributing loads of added sugar or significantly adding to the alcohol content. This is where cider comes in.
It’s not surprising that ciders can successfully be used to mix up creative session cocktails that are ideal for every occasion, from a midmorning brunch to a nightcap. Incorporating cider in this style of cocktail offers an elegant, effervescent mouthfeel and flavors that range from sharp and tart to soft and sweet.
The hints of citrus and spice in Pimm’s No. 1, a classic herbal-orange liqueur, is given an intriguing savory flavor with the addition of Stem Ciders’ A Salted Cucumber, a cider finished with fresh cucumber juice and sea salt. Muddling in slices of cucumber contributes an earthy freshness that complements the taste of the cider, while a splash of simple syrup balances out the savory notes with just a hint of sweetness. Incorporate this drink into a pre-dinner cocktail hour or enjoy it on an afternoon spent on the patio.
Makes 1 cocktail
2 cucumber slices
½ ounce simple syrup
1 ounce Pimm’s No. 1
2 ounces Stem Ciders’ A Salted Cucumber, chilled
Garnish: thin ribbon of cucumber, cut lengthwise, on a skewer
Add the cucumber and simple syrup to a small shaker or glass and muddle together. Pour in the Pimm’s No. 1 and add a few ice cubes. Stir until well chilled.
Fill a short cocktail glass with ice. Strain the drink into the glass and top with cider. Thread the ribbon of cucumber on a cocktail toothpick and set over the glass for garnish.
This article originally ran in the print Vol. 13 of Cidercraft magazine. For the full story and more like it, click here.