How to make perfect hard cider cocktails, according to a golf club mixologist

hard apple cider cocktails

When life gives you apples, make apple cider cocktails

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How do you like them apples?

I love them, in all their (Red) delicious varieties.

In New York, where I live, it’s peak season for apples. That’s true in a lot of places.

What to do with these crisp autumn gifts? Apple cider is made by crushing apples and straining the juice. Simple. Unfiltered, unsweetened, cloudy. The raw essence of this beautiful fruit.

You can also put a spin on cider. Some folks like to chop apples with sugar and spices, and then let them stew for a couple of hours before mashing and straining the juice. The result is sweet and aromatic, and delicious hot or cold.

Then there’s hard cider, which takes the first process and adds yeast and sugar to it. This jumpstarts the fermentation process, which after about a week can yield a beverage that is anywhere from 4% to 9% ABV. The hard cider then goes through filtration and clarification, resulting in a beverage that speaks irresistibly to the season. (Nowadays, of course, good-quality commercial hard cider is also readily available).

In the four recipes below, I’ve used a non-carbonated, craft-style cider, with a 5.2% ABV.

Hudson Sour

2 ounces bourbon

2 ounces cider

1/2 ounce simple

1/2 ounce lemon juice

Method: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with a healthy scoop of ice. Shake cocktail for 10 seconds, then strain into a rock glass with ice. Garnish with an orange wheel and a Luxardo cherry.

Big Apple Mule

2 ounces vanilla vodka

2 ounces of cider

1/2 ounce lime juice

4 ounces ginger beer

Method: Stir the vodka, cider, and lime juice in a mixing glass for 20 seconds. Double strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Top off with ginger beer, garnish with a few grates of fresh nutmeg, a lime wedge, and a cinnamon stick. For bonus points, set fire to that cinnamon stick with a kitchen torch.

Ol’ Washington 

2 ounces rye

1/4 ounce simple syrup

1 ounce cider

3 dashes, black walnut bitters

Method: Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass for 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

Homemade Cider (non-alcoholic) 

6 Honey Crisp apples

6 Granny Smith apples

6  cups Water

¾ cup Brown Sugar

3 cinnamon Sticks

8 cloves

2 cardamon Pods

4 allspice berries

1/2 Star Anise seed

Fresh nutmeg, 4 grates

Method: Wash and remove stems from apples and then cut into large chunks. Put apples in a sauce pot with the remaining ingredients and simmer in a covered pot slowly for 2-1/2 hours. Gently mash apples in the liquid. Strain in steps. First through a conventional strainer. Then a fine strainer. Then through a cheesecloth-lined fine strainer. 

Let cool before placing in a sanitized bottle to store. Pour off and leave any sediment behind. 

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