We love apple cider in the fall. We love bitters just about all the time, especially the innovative flavors in Bar Keep's Chinese Bitters, which taste like Chinese Five Spice powder with an extra kick of anise. And we definitely love drinks that use apple cider and bitters to create a new twist on an old favorite.
Love a pisco sour in the summertime, but want something with a bit more autumn panache? Meet John Hogan's Shutdown Cider. Hogan, of Lincoln Restaurant as well as Teddy & the Bully in Washington, D.C., starts it off with pisco, made tart with fresh lemon and balanced with a splash of simple syrup. The Chinese Bitters and a little spiced cider add an aromatic fall twist. He skips the egg white for a lighter, brighter concoction.
While many autumn drinks make use of the allspice, nutmeg, and cinnamon that both the Chinese Bitters and spiced cider include, the lemon and pisco in this one balance out those spices into a fresh, almost zesty way, to pep up the fall flavors we all know and love, in an interpretation that doesn't taste like the same autumn cocktail everyone is serving. Think of a slice of lemon cream pie with spiced apples on top, or what might happen if you blurred the lines between apple cider and lemonade.
Shake vigorously to blend it well, and don't be afraid to give the bitters two healthy dashes. The spice in the juice is subtle enough even for timid palates. Be warned, home cocktail mixer: this one's a bit sour on the first sip, so if that's not for you, let it sit for a second or two to let the flavors mellow. Some things, like a fine Scotch and marshmallow Peeps, are better with a second or two of aging. But don't wait all night. Like that same Scotch (and we suspect, the peeps as well), watering it down too far doesn't do the cider cooler any favors.