BE AN IN-CIDER WITH THESE COCKTAILS
It’s that time of year when we don our flannel, go apple picking and talk about colorful foliage. What better way to toast the coming of fall than incorporating the harvest into your drinking? Cider is the perfect seasonal ingredient for a cocktail, bringing sweetness, tang and spice notes to a glass. Cider, in most basic terms, is unfiltered apple juice. It is light, tart, often slightly fizzy and wholly refreshing.
Primarily made from apples, hard cider has a similar brewing process to beer, but without the malt. There is a huge variation from how the brewing process is done, but it is the result of the fermenting of apple juice, whereby yeast converts sugar into alcohol. Apples with high sugar content encourage fermentation. Brewers typically use a blend of sweet and tart apple varieties for their ideal cider blend.
As delicious as both virgin and hard cider are on their own, take things up a notch and try cider in a cocktail.
Cider is made in a range of styles and flavors, giving way to many mixing opportunities. Local Three lead bartender Paige Lane stays local with her cider, choosing Marietta’s Treehorn hard cider for her Staycation cocktail. She shakes together gin, simple syrup, freshly squeezed lime juice and caramelized pineapple, then strains it, pours cider to top and adds a float of angostura bitters. “The idea behind the cocktail was to celebrate the dry tartness of the cider and to try and cling to warm weather feelings as seasons start to change,” she says. “I wanted to mesh summer and fall flavors together.”
Like an autumnal version of a French 75, The Select in Sandy Springs incorporates barrel-aged gin, simple syrup, lemon juice, a dash of Chartreuse and the slightly bubbly cider. “When coming up with a cider cocktail, we wanted something a little lower in alcohol and super easy to put together—the kind of thing you could just wing on your kitchen counter,” says bartender Michael Kunz. “The Bristow Reserve gin and Treehorn Cider play off each other so well, you want to stay out of their way, so we named it Ceasefire.” A single sprig of rosemary garnishes the beauty. It’s a light and bright beginning to new chef Jason Hall’s imaginative cuisine.
History buff and Fifth Group Restaurant Beverage Director Ian Mendelsohn created The Johnny Appleseed cocktail for Alma Cocina Buckhead. “I really like cider and ciderbased cocktails due to both the historical context of cider and the aromatics that come from different ciders,” he says. “The historical context is that, along with sherry, cider was amongst the most drunk beverages when the U.S. was founded. Ciders are primarily made from apples, and there is a huge variation from where and how the apples are grown and how the brewing process is done.” He mixes Amontillado sherry, apple jack brandy, lemon juice, cinnamon syrup and tea in a highball glass and tops with Atlanta Hard Cider. He garnishes The Johnny Appleseed with apple slices and a cinnamon stick—a delicious way to transition to fall via sipping.
Treehorn Cider uses freshly pressed juice at season’s peak, with apples picked close to Atlanta (no more than 150 miles).
Find it at Whole Foods Buckhead, Corks + Caps, Tower and Total Wine & More
The Select Restaurant and Bar
6405 Blue Stone Road
Sandy Springs 30328
Local Three Kitchen and Bar
3290 Northside Pkwy. N.E.
Alma Cocina Buckhead
3280 Peachtree Road N.E.
Drinks columnist at Simply Buckhead. Food, spirits, and culture writer.