spiced sparkling cider

December 6th, 2013

I’ve been easing my way back into life with cocktails and it’s kind of totally awesome. So when we were invited to Thanksgiving at a friend’s house, I was tasked with cocktail duty. At first I felt a little stage fright—it was basically my first foray back into mixing and it was for a group of people, not just Aaron and I. But then I got excited and the ideas started flowing.

The holidays just beg for spices and I love to use them, especially in my drinks. I’ve done a bunch of cider recipes in the past, but somehow I’ve never used sparkling cider—how is that possible?! I guess it takes stepping away for a while to see the totally obvious. So you’re kind of seeing where I’m going with this, I’m sure. I whipped up a batch of spiced simple syrup—just things I had in my spice drawer (these are flexible, use what you have on hand) like cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom. Your house will begin to smell awesome and you may or may not find yourself dancing to holiday music. Then I busted out the bourbon, a little lemon juice and of course the sparking cider. I did a little test run for a few friends to make sure it’s up to par and the consensus was a solid 6 thumbs up. Whew!

Not only is this drink tasty, but it’s flexible too, which is key for gatherings. If you’re just having a few people over, I’d recommend making the drinks individually—you’ll get better proportions of ice to booze. If you’re having a big ol’ shebang or looking to bring a nice host/hostess gift, mix everything together except the cider for a super easy, unique cocktail for a crowd. Lastly, I think it’s always important, whether large or small gatherings, to have something non-boozy but still special. No one wants to feel left out or have the same old ginger ale again, simply leave out the bourbon and this still makes a delicious drink. Whichever version you make, I guarantee you’ll have happy drinkers.

So cheers! Enjoy all the go-go-going—there’s time to relax next month, right?!

Spiced and sparkling cider, 3 ways

single cocktail

serves one
1/2 ounce spiced simple syrup (recipe below)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
dash of bitters
1 1/2 ounce bourbon
3 ounces sparkling cider
cinnamon stick, for garnish
1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, bitters, and bourbon. Shake for about 10 seconds.2. Strain into a glass, top with sparkling cider, and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

  a

multi-serve cocktail

serves 16
1 cup spiced simple syrup (recipe below)
1 cup lemon juice
25 dashes bitters
3 cups bourbon
2 bottles sparkling cider (there will be some left over)
cinnamon stick, for garnish, optional
plus a large glass bottle 
1. Use a funnel to pour the simple syrup, lemon juice, bitters, and bourbon into a large glass bottle. Close the top and give it a good shake.2. When ready to serve, add a few cubes of ice to a glass, then pour equal amount of the bourbon mixture and cider into the glass. Garnish with cinnamon stick if using and enjoy.

 a

non-boozy cocktail

serves one
1/2 ounce spiced simple syrup (recipe below)
1/2 ounce lemon juice
dash of bitters
3 ounces sparkling cider
cinnamon stick, for garnish
1. In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the simple syrup, lemon juice, and bitters. Shake for about 10 seconds.2. Strain into a glass, top with sparkling cider, and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Enjoy!

 a

spiced simple syrup

makes about 1 cup

Use whatever spices you have on hand—although I do recommend at least doing the cinnamon stick.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
2 cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/2-inch chunk fresh ginger 

1. In a medium saucepan, dissolve the sugar in the water over medium-high heat and bring to a boil.2. Add the spices—I use a tea infuser to keep them all together—and simmer for 10-25 minutes. The syrup should slightly thicken.3. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Once the mixture has cooled, remove the spices and either use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Comments: 13 Total

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