Why It Works
- Dry hard cider is a flavorful (and affordable) swap for sparkling wine.
- Apple brandy and ginger liqueur balance the fruity flavors, making this drink not too strong and not too sweet.
In early autumn, we revel in the bounty of early autumn farmers' markets and drink as much cider as we can—especially the boozy kind. Less sweet than fresh non-alcoholic cider, hard cider is ideal for mixing into cocktails. It's crisp and often effervescent like sparkling wine, making it a no-brainer for variations on loads of classic drinks. It adds a lovely bright acidity to cocktails, too, just like a squeeze of lemon does.
To be honest, I love hard cider in cocktails for practical reasons too: a bottle of cider is cheaper and easier to finish than a bottle of sparkling wine.
I've created three drinks that incorporate some widely available hard ciders, the kind you'll find at the supermarket. If you'd like to substitute a cider from your favorite local cidery, keep in mind that you might need to adjust the drink slightly for balance and sweetness.
In addition to this pomegranate-cider cocktail, try this tropical, rum-spiked version, or this riff on a classic Sazerac.
Fruit-forward without being cloying, this sparkling drink stars pomegranates (the pom) and apples (the pomme). A dry hard cider is the perfect autumnal stand-in for bubbly, and Laird's Apple Brandy lends another layer of rich fall flavor. This drink has all the party cocktail bases covered: It's not too strong, it's really pretty, and it's not too sweet to drink alongside food.
- 2 ounces pomegranate juice
- 2 ounces ginger liqueur, such as Domaine de Canton
- 1 ounce apple brandy, such as Laird's Apple Brandy 100 proof
- 2 ounces Crispin original cider
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add pomegranate juice, ginger liqueur, and apple brandy. Shake until well-chilled, about 20 seconds. Strain evenly into two coupe glasses. Top each glass with 1 ounce cider and serve.
Cocktail shaker, cocktail strainer