While on my break, I didn’t completely abstain from drinking. Rather than drinking much hard liquor, my drink of choice was hard cider. Although there are some pretty good brands of domestic (I like Woodchuck and Angry Orchard) and imported (such as Magner’s and Woodpecker) hard cider, I am lucky to live around the corner, almost literally, from an amazing local cider maker, Far From the Tree Craft Cider. I know I’ve sang their praises in a previous post and, for those who don’t live close enough to Salem, MA, going on about their amazing product will probably seem like bragging. Suffice it to say that I like cider. And, though cider can, and perhaps (to some) should, be consumed as a stand-alone beverage, I don’t mind occasionally mixing it into a cocktail. (Prime example would be the Spring (Salem) Fling – wowza!) So, an autumn cocktail using cider, and my favorite local brand of cider at that, was right up my alley. The original recipe can be found HERE.
Spiced Rum Cider Cocktail
Credit: Honey and Birch
- 1 ¼ oz. spiced rum
- 4 oz. apple cider (or spiced apple cider)
- 4 oz. spiced hard cider (or plain hard cider)
- 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Fill a collins glass (I used a stemless wine glass) about one-third to half way with ice.
- Pour spiced rum and apple cider over ice.
- Add 1-2 dashes of Angostura bitters.
- Top with hard cider.
I’ve been experimenting with this recipe over a few days to achieve, what I felt, was the right balance. Adjustments were made to the original recipe – one due to my personal taste, the other due to my own personal laziness.
First modification was in the type of non-alcoholic cider. The original recipe uses a spiced apple cider that is made by using regular cider to which you add and stew spices (such as star anise, clove, etc). I didn’t have all the spices and I wasn’t in a position (or mood) to brew my own spiced cider. I’m sure it would be delightful. I used regular, non-spiced cider….but I also subbed in a spiced hard cider instead of regular hard cider. I figured it was a fair trade. Personally, I wouldn’t double up on spiced ciders…I just think it would be too much. Either brew the spiced cider and use regular cider, or do as I did. In my case, Far From the Tree has brewed a seasonal spiced cider, called Ember. It was PERFECT for this cocktail. Due to the increasing popularity of cider and craft ciders, you can probably be find spiced cider wherever you are – but, similarly, it may just be available seasonally and in limited quantities. Adding spice in the non-alcoholic cider is a nice alternate, though.
The other notable adjustment I made was with bitters. I bought lemon bitters just for this experiment. My first attempt, in which I used the lemon bitters, was, I don’t know…okay, but not spectacular. The next day, I decided that I would try orange bitters as it might compliment the spices better. Again, the results were okay, slightly better than the lemon, but I just wasn’t “wowed”. Maybe the third time is the charm? For this attempt, I decided to try the Angostura bitters…the spices are similar…and it worked perfectly!
One final note… But, first, a disclaimer: I do not get paid for this blog, I’m sure the local businesses I give props to appreciate it, but I pay for all of the products I use. I certainly don’t get any compensation from the big booze companies. Maybe someday I will wise up and figure out a way to get some sort of payment for my efforts here…but, for now, the pleasure of sharing my recipes with friends (and some random strangers) is the only payment I get. Okay, with that said….spiced rum….The Kraken. I saved my last bit of The Kraken for my final experiment and I don’t doubt that it made it a difference. Plus, it has a vibe that is appropriate for this time of year and the bottle is so cool! The cost is comparable, maybe slightly more than, probably the most popular spiced rum but I highly recommend it. Cheers!