Cider Cocktails and Founding Myths

“Up until Prohibition, an apple grown in America was far less likely to be eaten than to wind up in a barrel of cider. In rural areas cider took the place of not only wine and beer but of coffee and tea, juice, and even water.”

– Michael Pollan

So there you go, cider is as American as its baked, crusty cousin.  These days, #Cidermania is taking hold in the greater DC area, with hard cider makers popping up like weeds in both Maryland and Virginia.  Always happy to jump on an alcohol trend, I did a little digging to find some fresh cider-based cocktails to celebrate the advance of fall.

Recipes certainly weren’t hard to come by as tons of folks have been combining rich, flavorful ciders into some really creative drinks. Via Real Simple I made the “Cider and Pomegranate Margarita” a stately, crimson-hued cocktail with the perfect level of sweetness. The tequila is properly subdued but doesn’t disappear while the apple and pom dance together nicely.  I then tried “Citrusy Cider and Scotch” which pares the bite of scotch and the richness of the cider.  This was nice, not complicated, and has a nice subtle lemon sensation at the finish.  Both drinks were easy to make and serve as a good introduction to cider combos, I thought.

Cider and Pomegranate Margarita

  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz lime juice
  • 2 oz tequila
  • 2 oz pomegranate
  • 4 oz apple cider

Citrusy Cider and Scotch

  • 1/2 simple syrup
  • 3/4 lemon juice
  • 2 oz scotch
  • 4 oz apple cider

If you’re a reader of this blog you know that my staple drink is the Moscow Mule with ginger-lime syrup substituted for ginger beer.  So naturally I’d give Cider mules a try!  The vodka-based variant is a really interesting twist, reminiscent of a standard mule but with a deeper, thicker taste.  It’s an awesome derivation, not overwhelmingly apple but just right.  If I did it again I might use a little less cider just so I could fit in a bit more club soda.  I also made a Cider mule with applejack which offers a significantly different take on the standard flavor.  The applejack clicks well with its cousin with a nice ginger kick on the backend.  I thought it was a little muddled and enjoyed the vodka-based version more, though.

Cider Mules

  • 2 oz vodka or applejack
  • 2 1/2 oz cider
  • 2 homemade ginger lime syrup
  • Fill with club soda

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Now every true-blue American knows that apples came to our land on the back of one Mr. Johnny Appleseed.  For fun, I looked up Johnny’s Wiki: turns out, he was a dude from Massachusetts.  Huh.

Actually, Appleseed’s life story and how it transitioned into American mythology is fascinating, and is the type of story one will read about in “When They Severed Earth from Sky,” a sophisticated yet accessible study of how historical events–colored by centuries and man’s cognitive limitations–became our most prominent myths. I had a hard time putting this one down as it is rife with “ah ha!” revelations, explaining in great detail the hidden context behind stories such as Thor or Noah.  It’s also a contemplative celebration of the human intellect, explaining in respectful detail how early humans used fanciful tales to protect their oral histories.  A helpful index provides a listing of the various biases and trends that influenced the form and themes of ancient myths.  A wonderful and fascinating read!

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