By using sparkling cider instead of soda water or sugary mixers, these summer cider cocktails combine the complexity of our winter favorites with a lighter body and lower alcohol. They pair perfectly with simple grillables, your latest CSA delivery, and Saturday afternoons poolside.
'cider cocktails' on Serious Eats
This one's a cidery twist on white sangria, with a sparkling semidry cider and fruit infused with ice cider to add tons of rich fruit flavor. Feel free to substitute whatever local fruit is in season.
This take on the timeless brunch cocktail substitutes extra-dry cider for the traditional champagne. The spice from a splash of ginger liqueur adds depth to the cocktail without weighing it down.
Lillet of the Valley is a variation of the Col du Sabion, a drink we first encountered at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. The lightness of cider combined with the tart and earthy citrus flavors make this drink an excellent companion while watching the sunset from your rooftop.
Traditionally, a buck cocktail (also known as a mule) involves ginger ale and lemon juice mixed with liquor and served in a highball glass. With all that soda, however, bucks tend to be a bit on the sweet side and I have difficulty drinking more than one. But the buck is a great candidate for updating with a splash of good hard cider.
The Uncle Buck was inspired by the fantastic Hudson Buck cocktail served at Brooklyn's The Vanderbuilt. While the quantities vary slightly, the main difference in the Uncle Buck is the inclusion of sparkling cider, which adds a lightness to the cocktail and a slight effervescence to help refresh the palate.
The Young Buck combines semi-dry sparking cider and ginger beer for a cocktail that is full of flavor but light in alcohol.
Cider may seem like an unlikely cocktail ingredient: it's not that sweet, it doesn't contain a lot of alcohol, and it can't be left on the shelf of a bar overnight. But these drawbacks are actually advantages in disguise. Cider's freshness and low alcohol add lightness to cocktails. You're left with a more drinkable cocktail, and cider's tart character can dry out the sweetness of heavy liquors and elevate the barrel-aged quality of amber spirits.
Rum's spice and oak character partner perfectly with cider's tart fruitiness in this colonial-era cocktail.
The Leaf Peeper celebrates Vermont, bringing together the appley sweetness of ice cider with the buttery caramel notes of Vermont Gold vodka, which is made from maple sap. Maple syrup and a pour of hard cider balances the flavor. This cocktail, which works equally well as an aperitif or an after dinner drink, is basic in execution but complex in flavor.
The Snakebite is a simple cocktail of equal parts lager and hard cider. The result is a refreshing combination of tart apple notes from the cider with malty grain character from the lager. The cocktail is so drinkable that bars sometimes refuse to serve it since it tends to lead to rapid intoxication.