Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

Entertaining
4 Refreshing Cider Cocktails to Kick Off Summer

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With a little help from the growing gluten free movement (whether drinkers are actually allergic to it or not), cider has become increasingly popular and diverse. Gone are the days when overly sweet varieties were the only bottles available at your local beer purveyor. Now, there are tons of great companies like Austin Eastciders and Shacksbury producing dry, interesting varieties, and speciality cider bars (like Brooklyn Cider House) are becoming the norm in large cities across the country. Cider is having a moment, and it’s even making its way into the cocktail world.

Cider is light and refreshing by nature, so it adds a bright effervescence to cocktails when used properly. Bartenders all over the country are finding new, cool ways to use the low-ABV beverage behind the stick, whether that means topping a drink with fruity cider or using it as the base of a cocktail. So we asked some to fill us in on the cider cocktails they’re most excited about drinking this summer. These four easy recipes are as inventive as they are tasty, and they’ll give you something new to drink as the warmer months approach.

Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
While this tall, refreshing sipper from Brian Evans—head bartender at Sunday in Brooklyn—sounds super light and airy, it’s more complex than you might think, thanks to a robust homemade sarsaparilla syrup. “Sarsaparilla root, a medicinal spice used to flavor root beer and sodas consumed by cowboys of the American Old West, gives a nostalgically familiar flavor of vanilla bean and licorice,” Evans says. He mixes the spiced simple syrup with Neversink Gin (made using New York state apples) and Lo-Fi Dry Vermouth, which contains spices like cardamom and anise. “Together, when combined with Shacksbury’s Sunday in Brooklyn Dry Rosé Cider, [the ingredients] make for a delightfully sessionable springtime Shandy,” he adds.

The Essentials

Gin
Dry vermouth
Rosé Cider
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
As the newest addition to Austin Eastciders’ craft cider lineup, Ruby Red Grapefruit is light and refreshing with a slightly tart flavor that’s perfect for oppressively hot summer days. In addition to their original cider base, which is made with European cider apples, they use ruby red grapefruit juice from the Texas Rio Grande Valley to make the crisp libation. Turns out, its tangy citrus flavor plays really well in long, refreshing cocktails. “The bright and crisp grapefruit flavor and mild sweetness of Austin Eastciders Ruby Red Grapefruit makes it perfect for making tall, summery cocktails like this Paloma,” says Jason Stevens, bartender at Boiler Nine in Austin, Texas. Grassy tequila, bittersweet Aperol and tart lime juice join the cider in this lightly effervescent drink, which strikes a perfect flavor balance. When garnished with a bright lime wedge, it’s one of the most ‘Grammable cocktails of the season.

The Essentials

Ruby Red Grapefruit Cider
tequila
Aperol
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
As Atlanta’s first cidery, Urban Tree has been getting a lot of attention since it opened in 2016. They received gold from both the North American Brewers Association and the U.S. Cider Open, as well as a nod from Garden & Gun’s 2017 Made in the South Awards. Their original bottling is inspired by classic European ciders but uses apples from Cathey Family Orchard in North Georgia to give it a dry, crisp, subtly sweet flavor. For a refreshing summertime sipper, Urban Tree’s head alchemist Jessica Smith pours the Original Cider into a glass and then tops it with an icy blend of fresh peach slices, rum, lime juice and a homemade rich vanilla mint syrup. It’s the perfect libation to serve at a backyard barbecue or simply pour yourself at the end of a long hot day.

The Essentials

vanilla mint syrup
rum
Urban Tree Original Cider
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
When Cat DiPaci opened her store Beer Fridge on New York’s Lower East Side, she decided it was going to be more than your run-of-the-mill beer retailer. Not only does the craft beer boutique have a rotating selection of both new varieties and old favorites, but Beer Fridge also has a growler station where you can fill up on the latest from NYC breweries. There’s lot of cider too, and DiPaci likes to experiment with the ever-growing selection in cocktails—like this fruity take on a summery Vodka Lemonade. “I wanted to create a fresh and fruity cider cocktail to welcome spring—aka, the start of warm weather drinking!” she says. “I chose a blueberry base for natural sweetness and topped it off using Nine Pin's Signature Cider, a sparkling dry cider that freshens up and really rounds out the drink.” While we love Nine Pin cider, if you can’t find it in your local beer shop or grocery store, any dry, sparkling cider will do in a pinch.

The Essentials

blueberries
vodka
Nine Pin Cider

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