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.
Historically, cider found its way into cocktails as a necessity. Long before drinking water was safe for consumption, people drank beer and cider to quench their thirst. As spirits came into the picture it was only natural that the two mixed. Early 18th century cocktails such as the Stone Fence are a result of this situation.
Here are two classic cider cocktails and one with a modern twist. The Snakebite, a British pub classic, combines equal parts lager and cider into a dangerously easy-drinking cocktail. The Stone Fence was an American standard during the colonial era. It combines cider with gold rum. And finally, The Leaf Peeper is a contemporary cocktail that celebrates Vermont-made spirits.
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