Apple Cider Cocktail Lab

Leaves are falling, the air is brisk, and gray skies turn to night too early. Summer’s bounty is gone but the autumn harvest has its own superstars. Pumpkins and other hard squash, the cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts and cabbage, and fruits such as like cranberries, pears and apples are locally in season. Apple cider is the perfect ingredient for a fall season drink lab.

Cider Tea Bourbon

Bourbon Cider Tea

Let’s start with something to warm us up on a cold, wintry evening. A few years ago, on a whim, I spiked my Saturday afternoon tea with a splash of Irish Mist and found it quite tasty. I’ve also experimented with adding bourbon or whisky, including cinnamon-flavored Fireball, to apple cider. So this drink recipe with tea and bourbon is a natural.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tea Bag
  • 4 oz. Hot Cider
  • 2 oz. Bourbon

Heat the cider so it’s hot enough to steep the tea. I used an English Breakfast tea and steeped for 2-3 minutes for moderately strong flavor. Add bourbon to taste.

Hot apple cider with bourbon or whiskey tastes better when you heat the cider, then add the alcohol. From trial and error I found that mixing first and then heating adversely affects the taste.

Bourbon Cider

Bourbon and Cider with Ginger Ale

We drink bourbon occasionally but an open bottle can languish for months unless we make a point of using it. For our second cocktail, we’ll mix cold apple cider with bourbon and ginger ale.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Bourbon
  • 2 oz. Apple Cider
  • 2 oz. Ginger Ale

Shake the bourbon and cider over ice, strain and pour into glass. Top with ginger ale.

The bourbon’s smoky essence is very evident, but the apple and ginger flavors reduce the bourbon burn. It’s a great cocktail for someone who doesn’t like the taste of straight bourbon. We used Bulliet which is not a particularly high end bourbon but worked very well when mixed in the cocktail. Of the commercially available ginger ales, we like Canada Dry best for its ginger flavor and lack of sweetness.

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