Ringing in the New Year

Sloe-Berry Holiday Fizz

We’re finally going to see the end of 2021, a thoroughly unsettling year for many of us, and I for one am looking forward to a fresh start. Out with the Old and in with the New seems like a perfect reason to celebrate to me. What better way to do that than with a great cider cocktail! Here are a handful of simple recipes that you can use to get the party started.

Kir Normande

This is the simplest of all possible festive concoctions, and a classic to boot.

  • Very dry sparkling cider
  • Sugar cubes
  • Cassis liqueur
  • Lemon peel for garnish

Start by putting a single sugar cube on a plate then pour 1/4 teaspoon of Cassis into the cube so that it soaks in. Place the cube in the bottom of a Champagne flute, then fill the flute with the cider. Garnish with the strip of lemon peel.

Fence Line

This is a riff on one of the oldest named cocktails, the Stone Fence. Traditionally is was a simple mix of whatever spirit was common to an area and a local cider. Lately I’ve been using a locally produced rum plus a dry cider from Tilted Shed Cider, one of my favorite local producers, and have been adding a bit of spiced simple syrup for balance and a little warmth from the spices. Choose whatever is local to you be it rum, whiskey, or something else, and adjust the sweetness to taste.

  • 1 1/2 ounces Sugar Daddy Amber Rum
  • 3 ounces Tilted Shed Arkansas Black
  • 1/2 ounce Spiced Simple Syrup (see below)
  • Orange peel for garnish

Put the rum and the spiced simple syrup in a pint glass along with a generous handful of ice, then stir for 30 seconds or so to both chill the rum and combine it nicely with the syrup. Strain the rum/syrup into a double Old Fashion glass, then add the cider and more ice. Give the cocktail a stir, then garnish with the orange peel.

Spiced Simple Syrup

Place 1/2 cup of sugar in a pot with 1/4 cup of water, 2 cinnamon sticks, 6 whole cardamom pods, and 2 whole star anise. Bring to a simmer, then turn off the heat, cover, and let the mixture steep for 1 hour. Strain out the spices.

Sloe-Berry Holiday Fizz

One great thing about the holiday season is the appearance of tart and tangy cranberry ciders, perfect to get into the festive spirit. A tart, dry cherry cider would do nicely if you can’t find cranberry. As with the Fence Line, you may want to tweak the amount of agave nectar up or down depending on your particular palate.

  • 1 1/2 ounces Sloe Gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry Orange Curaçao®
  • 5 dashes Ginger Bitters
  • 1/2 ounce Agave Nectar
  • 3 – 4 ounces Cranberry Cider (I used No New Friends from Artifact Cider)
  • lime wedge for garnish

Place the sloe gin, orange Curaçao®, the bitters, and the agave nectar in a cocktail shaker along with a large handful of ice. Shake for a good 30 seconds, then strain into a double Old Fashion glass. Add the cider and some more ice, then give the cocktail a stir. Garnish with the lime wedge.