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Yojimbo

Cocktails with hard cider

19 posts in this topic

Hard cider, particularly the dry variety, seems to be a favorite "new" ingredient this season. Seeing the recent activity on the "cocktails with champagne" thread, I thought I'd start an offshoot on cider.

The problem with my experiments so far are that, even with a relatively dry cider, adding sweet liqueurs that should harmonize with apple end up making the drink taste too sweet -- amaretto, even with an equal dose of lemon juice, ended up tasting like fizzy cough syrup.

I'm guest bartending at a small private supper club featuring classic New Orleans dishes: oysters Rockafeller, duck gumbo, shrimp creole and grits, etc. Naturally, we're starting with Sazeracs, but I plan on switching to a dry cider cocktail to pair with the food, and to dial down the alcohol consumption if necessary by adding more cider as the dinner progresses . . . .

I'm thinking of a variation on PDT's Jimmy Roosevelt, with cognac and a green chartreuse float, or a rye-based Seelbach with cider. Has anyone else been mixing with cider lately?


"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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Hard cider as opposed to ... apple juice? I'm assuming that's what soft cider is, I mean, as I thought cider was alcoholic by default. I've only tried using it as a sub, kind of, for ginger ale in Dark-n-Stormy-type things. Purely because a friend that often brings cider also likes to try jacking random things w/ rum, ginger liqueur, et al. I suspect that's the best approach, actually. It's not particularly creative but I find a small quantity of pimento dram gets along nicely w/ cider, so long as it's really dry and actually has an apple flavour. I suspect some of the 'pie spice' amari might work, too.


Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

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Cider is unfiltered fresh-pressed apple juice from the refrigerator case. You used to be able to buy unpasteurized but food safety laws makes that impossible now (at least in MA). Unpasteurized cider would form a light fizzy hardness after a short while in the refrigerator. Pasteurized will too if left for long enough, but it's not the same. You have to go easy on the stuff, because the non-ethanol fermentation products can lead to a spectacular headache.

By contrast, what we have as "apple juice" is unrefrigerated, usually filtered, and often reconstituted juice. It has none of the autumn freshness of good cider.

And then there is commercial hard cider.


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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Thanks for clearing that up. Wondered, in all serious, about what the difference was. Here we have apple juice, which is exactly what it sounds like and ranges from stuff that's pretty much just juice to concentrate that's cut with a lot of sugar and other ingredients. Cider is something else. It's alcoholic. And it ranges from the dry English- and French-style stuff to really sweet, artifically flavoured ... things often jacked with real fake lime, raspberry, kiwi and a hundred other fruit flavours. Rekorderlig, et al. The latter style of cider is more readily avaliable than the former. When I speak of adding pimento dram or whatever else to cider, I'm thinking of the drier stuff.


Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

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I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

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In England (where our language was invented, after all), cider is always alcoholic. What is known as cider in America is called "cloudy apple juice" in Britain. That said, why is it so damn hard to get properly dry cider in the States? Any decent supermarket in London has really intense dry ciders in numerous varieties - here, "extra dry" Crispin is still pretty damn sweet. The best I can find is Sam Smith's but the gougers want $10 a bottle for it or something similarly outrageous. What's the deal???

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That said, why is it so damn hard to get properly dry cider in the States? Any decent supermarket in London has really intense dry ciders in numerous varieties - here, "extra dry" Crispin is still pretty damn sweet. The best I can find is Sam Smith's but the gougers want $10 a bottle for it or something similarly outrageous. What's the deal???

That's exactly the problem I'm running into making a cider-based cocktail! Normandy ciders like Etienne Dupont are excellent, but pricey, Farnum Hill Extra Dry seems to be sold out in my neighborhood (did other, smarter drinkers grab it all before me?), and everything else is just too sweet.

For the dinner, I'm going with .75 oz. Barbancourt 5 star (the chef requested a rum base, and I like keeping the French connection), .5 oz. fresh lime juice, a bar spoonful of Velvet Falernum, and a dash of Angostura, toppped with cider.

It'll almost be tiki-like, but lighter, and I'm banking on enough acidity from the lime to balance things out. It's tempting to add a float of amaro or Chartreuse for more bitterness, but I don't want the cocktail to overshadow the food! Rhum agricole might be an interesting choice, but it's out of my price range.


Edited by Yojimbo (log)

"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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I'd be thinking about Laird's Applejack as a base, or maybe calvados.

Or forego the cider and try an apple based variation on the Pompadour with lemon juice, rhum agricole and Pommeau de Normandie. No idea how it would taste but sounds like it might be interesting to try.

Probably a bit on the sweet side though. Maybe as a dessert cocktail option. Probably a pricey drink I would guess.

But doesn't get too much more French themed than that!


Edited by tanstaafl2 (log)

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Variations of a Stone Fence - bourbon, Angostura and cider? You could easily add a ginger simple syrup or muddle some ginger to make a spicier version...


Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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Lisa, I thought the same thing at first, and certainly Laird's goes well with almost anything, but apple + apple was too one-dimensional for me.

Tanstaafl2, yeah, that sounds mighty tasty, and I really need to add a bottle of agricole to the liquor cabinet (never mind that I've run out of room), but it was out of my budget and would've been too alcoholic to keep serving during a 5 course dinner. As it was, some folks were seriously slurring words by dessert . . . .

KL, I seriously loves me some bourbon and cider, I think it's a great combo, butoddly haven't tried it with ginger yet; time to break out the ginger demerara simple in the fridge!

I did end up going with the Chartreuse float on the cider cocktail, it was good, and certainly interesting enough for the young-ish crowd we were serving, but if I served it again I'd want to play with the ratios and see if an additional ingredient (a little Cointreau, a little allspice dram??) would round things out. I didn't expect cider to be such an overpowering flavor in a drink, but there it is.

Thanks for all the ideas, keep 'em coming if you got 'em!


"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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Sounds pretty good to me. Let me know how it works out. Seems like a no brainer...


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Not bad but not quite right, still, I think this has potential

1.5 oz rum (Havana Club anejo)

1 Tbs pimento dram

1 tsp. simple syrup

4 oz sparkling hard cider (Henry's of Harricourt Duck and Bull)

small squeeze of lemon juice to see if that would head it in the right direction.

Maybe work better with a different dram than my homemade but I think it needs something to tie it together.

... actually it's growing on me. Suggestions are welcome.


Edited by haresfur (log)

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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In England (where our language was invented, after all), cider is always alcoholic. What is known as cider in America is called "cloudy apple juice" in Britain. That said, why is it so damn hard to get properly dry cider in the States? Any decent supermarket in London has really intense dry ciders in numerous varieties - here, "extra dry" Crispin is still pretty damn sweet. The best I can find is Sam Smith's but the gougers want $10 a bottle for it or something similarly outrageous. What's the deal???

And, unfortunately most people do not realize that "hard cider" was the drink of choice in the Americas before ales and corn whiskey came to the forefront.

It is very easy to make and can be quite alcoholic, fizzy or still. Most often very dry with a subtle apple flavor and rarely sweet unless special measures are taken. Hard cider has seen a resurgence in the past few years but usually is tends to be expensive, imported, sickly-sweet and carbonated and apple-y. This I believe is because of the mistaken expectation that the drink ought to be sweet as it comes from apples or pears. The artisanal ciders can be excellent but are sold at a premium.

I like the idea of mixing a cocktail but think a spicier spirit such as rye whisky or aged rum would complement the subtle apple character.

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Lose the simple. You'd get enough sweetness, surely, from the pimento dram. Or maybe a funkier rum. IC? Smith & Cross?

I added the simple after tasting. For some reason my dram seems to taste bitter to me. The pd was made with, I think 1/2 IC green (it was a while ago) but yeah, some more funk might stand up to the Duck and Bull better. For others out there. Duck and Bull is a pretty assertive cider IMO with a fair whack of traditional English cider apple varieties, mellowed with some pink lady.

haresfur - Angostura, or another spicy bitters, maybe?

I have a confession to make, I don't actually have any Angostrura bitters but have Jerry Thomas decanter, Fee's barrel aged, and Fee's cocktail. I thought the pie-spice was a little too obvious with the apple but I think you are right that it could be the way to go. Further research awaits.


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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... pie-spice was a little too obvious with the apple ...
Alrighty then how about something chocolaty, like a touch of Amaro Meletti or a dash of Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters?

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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I'm thinking of a variation on PDT's Jimmy Roosevelt, with cognac and a green chartreuse float, or a rye-based Seelbach with cider. Has anyone else been mixing with cider lately?

A few things here.

First is that it's not PDT's Jimmy Roosevelt. In fact, I'm not sure the cocktail has been featured on a menu there, although it's certainly a cocktail well within Jim Meehan's wheelhouse. But it's Charles Baker's Jimmy Roosevelt, from his book "The Gentleman's Companion." This is a cocktail that has long interested readers of Baker but largely confounded them as to a satisfactory execution, especially in a size that would work in a bar setting (the original was served in a 16 ounce glass!). It wasn't until Audrey Saunders developed an adaptation for the opening of Pegu Club that I'm aware of it achieving popular success on the menu of any noteworthy cocktail bar. One significant key to the success of her version was coating the inside of the glass with a little bit of rich demerara syrup -- a detail which is not found in Baker's original. The Jimmy Roosevelt recipe in the PDT book omits Audrey's demerara syrup rinse, and as a result does not particularly succeed as a cocktail (I'm guessing this is an editorial mistake, since Jim made the cocktail to Audrey's spec at Pegu Club and mentions the demerara rinse in this interview). So, just to be clear and give credit where it's due, if you're making a Jimmy Roosevelt, what you want to be making is Audrey's adaptation of Charles Baker's original.

It is interesting that you mentioned the Jimmy Roosevelt with respect to cider, however. Last Winter, Martin Doudoroff brought a bottle of Eve's Bittersweet Cider (a great product!) to a Super Bowl gathering at my place. To celebrate the Giants' victory, we used the same technique as Audrey's Jimmy Roosevelt adaptation, but using Laird's bonded applejack, the cider, yellow Chartreuse and Dutch's Colonial Bitters. It was very successful, and we dubbed it the Teddy Roosevelt since it was made with NY/NJ ingredients.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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slkinsey,

Thanks for the full history on the Jimmy Roosevelt, it's always good to give credit where it's due, and following the evolution of a recipe can become a fascinating end in itself, like archeological or tracing the development of a hadith of Muhammed or a Talmudic commentary . . . . there's a master's thesis for somebody in there . . . .

I can see the value of a demerara rinse, but anything more and I'm with CT. Angostura helped in my recipe, but I'm still thinking along the lines of switching the chartreuse for something even more bitter -- So Fernet Branca gets to jump in the next time I try this one.


"The thirst for water is a primitive one. Thirst for wine means culture, and thirst for a cocktail is its highest expression."

Pepe Carvalho, The Buenos Aires Quintet by Manuel Vazquez Montalban

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