Sunday, December 23, 2012

When bad things happen to good cider

Drink it anyway.  Be brave.  Just because the sides of your apple cider container are bulging doesn't mean that it isn't good to drink.  In fact, it is better.  Some of the alcohol has been converted to sugar through fermentation, so it isn't as sweet, and it probably contains some beneficial microorganisms.  You can pay significantly more for hard cider in the store, but this fresh, fermented, unfiltered hard cider is too good to throw away.  

It also goes very nicely in this cocktail, which is based on something said to be well known that I read about somewhere about a month ago.  The herbal notes in the tequila and cider reinforce each other nicely.  If you don't have Gelinotte, use a half tablespoon maple syrup and increase the tequila to an ounce and a half.   If you only have unfermented cider, use that, but increase the amounts of spirits slightly. If you prefer, you can add some seltzer and/or serve it on the rocks.  I generally prefer a stiffer drink, so this is diluted enough for me, but suit yourself. You can increase proportionately up to the capacity of your shaker.

This recipe is really a set of loose guidelines for making cocktails with hard cider.  Basically, you want it to be about for parts juicy stuff, two to three parts hard stuff, one part or less sweet stuff, and some bitters to bring it all together.  (The proportions in my recipe are slightly different since  I use Gelinotte, which is sweet and alcoholic, rather than a syrup.)

The cocktail that remains to be named:


  • 2 ounces cider, gone hard
  • 1 ounce tequila reposado
  • 1 ounce Gelinotte (a fermented maple syrup liquor from Quebec)
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • large pinch mace


  1. Mix the sugar and mace on put on a plate.
  2. Moisten the rim of a cocktail (or wine) glass with a cut lemon.  Dip in the sugar and mace mixture and set aside.
  3. Put ice in a cocktail shaker.  Add cider, tequila, Gelinotte and bitters and shake 30 seconds.
  4. Strain into glass and serve. 
Some variations:  Instead of the tequila, use bourbon, rye, applejack or Calvados.  Instead of the Gelinotte, a sweet liqueur such as cassis or creme de Yvette for fruitiness, or Benedictine for strong herbal notes, would be nice.  You can also use a simple or flavored syrup , about a teaspoon or two, and increase the amount of the base spirit a bit.  To make  a simple syrup, boil equal parts or water and sugar for about 5 minutes until combined and then cool before mixing into the drink.  For flavored syrup as some spice, such as two cinnamon sticks (I would use the soft true cinnamon rather than the hard cassia here, but that is my own preference) , a slice or two of fresh ginger,  two or three cloves, or about a quarter of a cracked nutmeg.  Strain these out.  You can save simple syrup in the fridge for a while, but label it so you know what you have.  You can also vary the bitters.  Angostura is the go to one here.  I would avoid Peychaud's which is too fennel-y, but feel free to experiment if you want to invest in bitters.  Finally, you can rim the glass with sugar and cinnamon (again, use the soft and citrusy "true" Ceylon cinnamon here rather than the cassia that we call cinnamon, which will take over the drink) or skip that step altogether.  No firm rules here, let your taste be your guide, and have fun.

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