By using sparkling cider instead of soda water or sugary mixers, these summer cider cocktails combine the complexity of our winter favorites with a lighter body and lower alcohol. They pair perfectly with simple grillables, your latest CSA delivery, and Saturday afternoons poolside.
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Traditionally, a buck cocktail (also known as a mule) involves ginger ale and lemon juice mixed with liquor and served in a highball glass. With all that soda, however, bucks tend to be a bit on the sweet side and I have difficulty drinking more than one. But the buck is a great candidate for updating with a splash of good hard cider.
Cider may seem like an unlikely cocktail ingredient: it's not that sweet, it doesn't contain a lot of alcohol, and it can't be left on the shelf of a bar overnight. But these drawbacks are actually advantages in disguise. Cider's freshness and low alcohol add lightness to cocktails. You're left with a more drinkable cocktail, and cider's tart character can dry out the sweetness of heavy liquors and elevate the barrel-aged quality of amber spirits.