Courtesy JP Fetherston, Columbia Room, Washington, D.C.
If you missed the memo, the hard cider revival has taken hold. By November, most apple-producing regions have harvested, pressed and fermented the fruit, and are bringing seasonal versions to market, so it’s the perfect time to incorporate cider into cocktails.
Washington, D.C.’s Columbia Room is a longstanding, intimate cocktail spot that gave itself a refresh earlier this year, adding a gorgeous Italian-style mosaic that spans the length of the bar and a cozy, leather-lined “spirits library.” It’s made local cider part of the show.
The Stone Fence Riff #1 is a variation on a Colonial-era drink, typically hard cider spiked with a dose of the harder stuff—brandy or applejack, rum or whiskey, pretty much whatever a thirsty colonist had on hand. This version is almost a rum sour, mixing citrus and autumnal spiced syrup, adding richness to a relatively dry, crisp Virginia-made cider.
- 1½ ounces aged rum
- ¼ ounce Virginia allspice simple syrup (see recipe below, or try a commercial version, like Tippleman’s Double Spiced Falernum)
- ¼ ounce lemon juice
- Hard cider, preferably Foggy Ridge Serious Cider
- Dried apple wheel, for garnish
In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine rum, syrup and lemon juice. Shake well, and strain into a Collins glass over a large rectangle of ice (or several cubes). Top with cider, and garnish with the apple wheel.
- 1 cup turbinado cane sugar
- ¼ ounce allspice berries, crushed
- ½ cinnamon stick, crushed
- 1 whole clove
In a small saucepan, bring ½ cup water to boil. Remove from heat. Whisk in sugar until dissolved. While still warm, add spices and infuse at room temperature for 1 day. Strain. The syrup can be refrigerated in a container with a tight-fitting lid for up to 2 weeks.
This syrup is also great added to coffee or tea, or pour a bit over pancakes, waffles or fresh fruit for a decadent treat.