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Cider for the Holidays

The summer of 1984, I was an exchange student in the U.K. and fell madly, deeply in love with hard cider. Alas, it was really hard to find State-side … until recently. Hard cider been increasing its visibility in the American market for at least the past 10 years, which has made me very happy.

Yesterday, my inbox included a little treat from Sonoma Cider, a company from my home county that makes award-winning hard apple cider: Fun cocktail recipes using hard cider as the central ingredient.

I’ve always had my cider straight up, but these recipes looked like delightful ways to change things up this holiday season.

Cran Master Sage

Cran Master Sage
INGREDIENTS
1.5oz St. George Botanivore Gin
.75 oz cranberry simple syrup
4 sage leaves
.5 oz honey syrup
1/4 lemon
4oz The Hatchet (cider)

DIRECTIONS
Muddle sage with all ingredients but cider. Shake with ice for 15 seconds and strain into glass. Top with 4 oz cider and then fill glass with ice. Garnish with sage leaf and cranberries on a pick.

Cranberry simply syrup
2 1/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (8 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water

In a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, and water to a simmer over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cranberries are tender but haven’t burst, 10 minutes. Let cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard cranberries.


 

Snow Apple Cap

Snow Apple Cap
INGREDIENTS
1.5oz St. George Botanivore Gin
4 sage leaves plus more for garnish
.75 oz honey syrup
.75 oz sweet vermouth
small sprinkle of cinnamon
3 oz The Hatchet (cider)
1 egg white
Sprinkle of nutmeg

DIRECTIONS
Muddle sage with gin in a mixing glass. Add honey syrup, sweet vermouth and a small pinch of cinnamon and then shake with ice for 15 seconds. Strain into glass, add cider and then fill with ice leaving 1/2″. Top with stiff egg white, sprinkle with nutmeg and garnish with sage leaves.

Honey Syrup
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup boiling water

Boil water. Dissolve the honey in the water and put in a jar with lid to preserve.


 

The Tree Topper

Tree Topper
INGREDIENTS
.5oz Luxardo Bitter
.5oz cranberry simple syrup
5oz The Hatchet
1 sprig of rosemary
1 star anise, whole

DIRECTIONS
Ensure the cider is very cold before serving. Pour Luxardo and cranberry simple syrup into champagne flute and top with cider. Garnish with rosemary-anise tree garnish.
For the garnish: Cut rosemary sprigs so that they sit 1″ below the rim of the glass. Ensure you trim off the top of the rosemary sprig that is green and soft (cut down to the rigid part). Remove one or two points from the star anise to expose the center circle. Using a push pin or small nail create a hole to insert the rosemary sprig into. Be gentle and don’t go past the center of the star anise when making the hole or it will break.

Cranberry simply syrup
2 1/4 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (8 ounces)
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup water

In a medium saucepan, bring cranberries, sugar, and water to a simmer over medium. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until cranberries are tender but haven’t burst, 10 minutes. Let cool, then strain through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard cranberries.


 
For more information about Sonoma Cider, visit their website at SonomaCider.com

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.