Tag Archives: cider

A Boozy Play List For Brandy Cocktails

Brandy’s dandy whether sipped after dinner, or when mixed into a cocktail, as we like to do. The classic Brandy Alexander, a creamy treat made popular in the early 20th century, still holds its own today, but for simpler, less-sweet brandy beverages consider the Brave & Strong, and Glory Days.

Both cocktails are from Copper & Kings, the Kentucky distiller that fashions its American brandies on American whiskey and American music. Yes, music: the distillery has five major sub-woofers in their maturation cellar through which they pulse music (a bass note in particular). This pulsation causes the brandy-filled barrels in the cellar to jostle, which increases the contact time between the brandy and the charred barrels. And if you remember your Aging 101 class, increased contact time = more complex flavor. Cool, right?

Don’t believe us? Visit the Copper & Kings website, scroll down to “Brandy Rocks” and listen to what the booze is boogie-ing to today. (As of this writing, it’s pulsing to blues guitarist Lightin’ Hopkins. Great stuff.)

And while you’re listening to what they’re spinning, mix up a few cocktails with — what else — Copper & King’s American Craft Brandy. (Which just happens to be $5 off at Bottles through March 31st.) We’ve got two for you today: one hot to usher out old-man winter and the other, a cold, refreshing version to welcome spring’s warmer days. Enjoy, and rock on.

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Brave & Strong
Add 1.5 oz. Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy and .5 oz. vanilla cream to a mug. (Homemade vanilla cream –  cream with a drop or two of pure vanilla extract – is best, though vanilla-flavored coffee creamer is a passable substitute. If you’re feeling decadent, use a scoop of all-natural vanilla ice-cream instead.) Top with freshly-brewed hot coffee. Stir, sip, and watch the ice melt away.

brandy1Glory Days
2 oz. Copper & Kings American Craft Brandy
1 12oz. Bottle of Hard Apple Cider (such as Stormalong Legendary Dry Cider or Shacksbury Classic).

Take a sip of brandy. Add a touch of cider to the brandy. Repeat at own pace and taste until glass is empty. Refill glass with more brandy. Repeat.

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Cider For Thanksgiving. It’s A Thing.

While Thanksgiving may be the most All-American of holidays, its history is deeply rooted in our more local New England heritage and traditions. A meal of turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce could only have come from New England (after all, they weren’t shooting wild turkeys in the vast cranberry bogs of El Paso).

Every year people ask us, “What’s the best wine to pair with Thanksgiving dinner?” The answer is, honestly, almost any wine that you like! Pinot noir, Cotes du Rhone, and malbec are all great, safe choices, and all offer extremely tasty wine at a variety of price points. But the one beverage that gets short shrift each year, and couldn’t be better aligned to our New England Thanksgiving traditions, is cider.

One thing New England has never been short on is apples. And when you’re facing a harsh new England winter without any modern conveniences, it makes a lot more sense to turn your surplus apples into safe-to-drink cider, so you can save your barley and wheat for baking. Which is what our forefathers did.

After prohibition, we lost our taste for cider, and many of our orchards were given over to the cultivation of eating apples. Thankfully, the recent resurgence in craft beer and spirits has reversed that trend, and many long forgotten cider apple varieties are making their way back onto our shelves.

Here are nine of our favorite ciders for a Thanksgiving meal with friends and family. Many come from cideries right here in our backyard, but we’ve also included some classics from the great cider making nations of Europe.

We hope you find something new to try in our list, and are inspired to branch out with your Thanksgiving feast. Remember, it’s not wine, and it’s not beer – it’s cider!

Nine Great Thanksgiving Ciders

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Stormalong Cider The Grand Banks – Sherborn, MA
A new-comer to the Rhode Island market, Stormalong makes an excellent dry cider, and a very tasty dry-hopped variety. Our choice for Thanksgiving is their cider finished in Boston’s Bully Boy Distillers’ rum barrels. The cider coaxes beautiful flavors of vanilla and baking spice from the oak casks, and provides a welcome counterpoint to the bracing acidity of the cider. Extremely well made.

Shacksbury Classic – Shoreham, VT
Made with both eating and cider apples from Vermont and England, this slightly sparkling cider has subtle earthy notes and an off-dry finish that’s the perfect accompaniment to turkey’s dark meat and fatty skin.

Eve’s Cidery Albee Hill – Van Etten, NY
Made with a hodgepodge of traditional cider apples like ‘Stembridge Cluster’ and ‘Wickson,’ this is a cider for wine lovers. Bone-dry, with nuanced flavors of stone fruit, peaches, and sage. With a slightly bitter finish, this cider goes with everything on the table, especially stuffing and gravy!

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Aaron Burr Cidery Appinette – Wurtsboro, NY
This one is a bit bonkers, but the juice in the bottle is phenomenal. A Champagne lover’s cider, Appinette is made from 30% Traminette grapes from the Finger Lakes, and 70% cider apples. A little cloudy and ruddy, it has vibrant, bubbly aromas of grapefruit, apricots, and rose petals. Truly delightful.

Oyster River Winegrowers Dry Cider – Warren, ME
Unfiltered, bottle conditioned, naturally fermented cider – it’s about as natural as it gets. Bracingly tart, with lively, persistent bubbles, this is a light bodied cider for a toast and a first course.

Sandford Orchards Chestnut Cider – Devon, England
Made with fun-to-say English apples like ‘Sweet Alford’ and ‘Dabinett’, this cider is fermented and aged in chestnut casks before bottling. The chestnut adds a creamy weight to the cider, which retains a little sweetness and residual sugar.

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Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie – Normandie, France
A strikingly beautiful cider with a ridiculously understated label. Very lively in the glass, with a frothy head and complex flavors of apples, pears, citrus, pine, leather, anise, and oak. An elegant cider for an elegant meal.

Rekorderlig Spiced Apple – Vimmerby, Sweden
Rich and fruity Swedish cider, infused with cinnamon and vanilla. It’s apple pie in a glass – perfect for dessert!

Guzman Riestra Sidra Brut Nature – Asturias, Spain
A secondary fermentation in the bottle creates this naturally sparkling beauty with a Champagne-like dryness and body. It has bright fruity pear and banana notes, but is not at all sweet or cloying! The bubbles and tartness of the apples will cut through heavier flavors of mashed potatoes and stuffing without getting in the way.

Happy Thanksgiving!

-Liam

Bottles’ Hot Spiked Cider

Cider Drinking. It’s a rite of passage for us New Englanders. It pairs well with football watching, apple picking, pumpkin carving and post leaf-raking relaxing. Bottles’ go-to version is a grown-up affair, made strong with a slightly-boozy cider and a few drops of allspice dram*. Fill a thermos of the warm concoction before heading to the game, or let it simmer in a crockpot when your house is full of friends.

We’ll be making a great big batch of it in-store on Saturday, October 15th for you to enjoy, alongside crazy good cider donuts from Greenville RI’s Appleland Orchard. We hope you can make it in, between 1-3pm, for a Bottles’ taste of fall!

*Allspice dram is a slightly bitter, strongly spiced rum-based liqueur. It’s infused with the allspice berry, which lends the spirit warm, winter-spice nutmeg-y/cinnamon-y flavors. St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram is a Bottles’ best seller.

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Bottles’ Hot Spiked Cider
Yields ~ 4 cups

1 btl (22 oz.) Doc’s Original Apple Cider
1/4 cup (2 oz.) St. Elizabeth’s Allspice Dram
1 cup (8 oz.) apple cider (non-alcoholic)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) water
1 diced apple
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Have fun with these ingredients, and adjust to taste. You could add maple syrup or brown sugar for sweetness, nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom for pumped-up spice, or more dram for a more bitter-herbal flavor.

Stovetop method:
Simmer the chopped apple in allspice dram until the dram begins to reduce and thicken. Add Doc’s (or another hard cider of your choice), non-alcoholic cider, cinnamon stick, and water. Turn heat to high, stirring often, until liquid is just about to boil. Set to a simmer and cook uncovered for at least 15 minutes. The longer it simmers, the richer the flavor!

Crockpot method:
All of the ingredients can go in at once with your crockpot set to low for 3 hours or high for 1.5 hours.

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A Pair of Pear Cocktails

This time of year we’re always on the lookout for easy-drinking, flavorful cocktails that don’t pack a killer wallop, i.e., those that we can sip on all weekend long. This pair of pear cider cocktails make great companions for strenuous Sunday relaxation activities such as marathon sessions of book-reading, Netflix binge-watching, and backgammon-playing.

The following recipes were created by our newest team member, Lilian Rogers, a truly skilled cocktail-crafter whose passion for the culture of cocktails is infectious. Enjoy these, and stay tuned for more from Lily!

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The Smoking Mule (photo above)
This drink is earthy, smokey and creamy with tart pear notes. The ginger beer ice cubes take their time to melt, making it a great slow-sipper. Makes 1 cocktail.

4oz Sonoma Cider’s “The Pitchfork” Pear Cider (hard cider)
1oz mezcal
.5oz freshly-squeezed lime juice
.75oz vanilla simple syrup (or, regular simple syrup with 2 drops of vanilla extract)
4 – 6  ice cubes made from ginger beer
1 fresh pear, for garnish

Fill a high-ball glass with the ginger beer ice cubes. Pour in mezcal, lime juice, and vanilla simple syrup, and stir once gently to combine. Top with the pear cider, and garnish with a slice of ripe pear and a straw.

 

The Garden Trowel
Ethereal with beautiful, complex botanicals, this cocktail is creamy and balanced by crisp pear notes. Makes 1 cocktail.

4oz Sonoma Cider’s “The Pitchfork” Pear Cider (hard cider)
1oz botanical gin (such as Uncle Val’s Botanical, Hendrick’s, Farmer’s Organic Botanical)
.75oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice
.75oz vanilla simple syrup (or, regular simple syrup with 2 drops of vanilla extract)
1 fresh pear, for garnish

Combine gin, lemon juice, and vanilla simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until slight film of condensation forms on the outside of the shaker. Strain into a rocks glass (8oz or larger), top with 4 oz pear cider. Garnish with a slice of ripe pear.

Cheers and Enjoy!