Ah, cocktails. Just when you think you’ve had enough….they pull you back in. And in this case, “had enough” meant that we recently hosted Mixology Monday and had seen our fill of cocktails and photos. We were a bit tired. Time for some tea, maybe a sip of wine, new kegs on tap (an IPA and a crisp golden ale), and perhaps some hard cider to celebrate the season. Cider? Hmm….
And this is what happens once you start mixing drinks and catch the bug. We got a few different bottles of hard cider to play with and suddenly the gears started
grinding turning and we were mixing away. This time the inspiration came from a bit of internet research into different styles of cider. While looking at dry vs. sweet cider we saw a recipe for the Stone Fence, one of America’s oldest cocktails and perhaps our original highball.
The Stone Fence is the simple combination of a big glass of hard cider and a shot of rum, applejack or whiskey. This drink is literally hundreds of years old and the variety of hard liquor simply reflects what was available at any time or different regions. Applejack in New Jersey or rum in Massachusetts, gave way (somewhat) to whiskey, but all still work. At some point, most people added ice to the mix and we get this “proto-highball”. A good sip, particularly if feeling a bit lazy. But as you may have guessed, the big issue is that this is a strong drink. We will forgo the “fell face-first into a Stone Fence” jokes…but you get the idea.
We decided to play with the basic recipe and craft something with a bit less booze (but just a bit) and a slightly more elegant presentation. We also had some old-school sugar to play with (a piloncillo of Mexican sugar that would be similar to colonial-era sugar) and decided to include it in the cocktail. As for inspiration, we looked to two of our favorite sparklers, the citrusy French 75 and the bitters-heavy Seelbach.
After some very pleasant experimentation, we came up with the Stone 75. The Stone 75 combines muddled lemon peel and sugar with lemon juice, Cointreau, Jamaican rum, applejack, tiki bitters (Angostura also work) and dry hard cider. Served in a coupé or flute and topped with a lemon twist, this is a very pretty cocktail.
And also a cocktail with deep, complex flavors. This may sound like a sweet drink, but both the applejack and hard cider have dry flavors at their core. The rum, Cointreau and sugar sweeten, while the lemon adds sour/acidic notes and the bitters layer in some spice. Overall, a very balanced sip, and one that reminds us of a good holiday punch. In fact, we may expand this recipe into a punch for the holidays…and they are coming fast.
- Peel of 1/4 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon raw sugar (or sugar syrup)
- 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 oz. Cointreau
- 3/4 oz. applejack (Laird’s Bonded)
- 3/4 oz. Jamaican rum (Appleton 12 yr. old)
- 2 dashes Bittermens Tiki bitters (or Angostura)
- 3 oz. dry English (or English style) hard cider
- Lemon twist, for garnish
- Place the lemon peel and sugar into a cocktail shaker and muddle. The add the lemon juice, Cointreau, applejack, rum, bitters and ice. Shake until well chilled. Strain into a chilled flute of coupé.
- Top the cocktail with the hard cider. Garnish with the lemon twist. Serve.