The Alien Comic F. Martin Ramin/The Wall Street Journal, Styling by Anne Cardenas
Forget that toxic-green apple-tini you once made the mistake of ordering. A new wave of American-made hard ciders has arrived, and it’s redefining the role of the apple at the bar.
In recent years, the range of cider styles available here has expanded, said Michael McAvena, East Coast account manager at Michigan-based Virtue Cider and former bartender at the Violet Hour in Chicago. “Cider can be fruity, dry, oxidized like a vermouth,” he said. That means lots of potential applications in cocktails.
For a drink that delivers multiple layers of apple flavor, try the recipe at right for the Alien Comic, as served at the New York restaurant Pearl & Ash. It calls for making a simple syrup from freshly juiced crab-apples—abundantly available at farmers’ markets at this time of year—and the bold, tart flavor is well worth the effort. But if you lack the time (or a juicer), you can start with nonalcoholic apple cider instead. Shake the syrup with some Sherry, dry vermouth, lemon juice and ice, and finish with a pour of J.K.’s Scrumpy or another crisp, sweet hard cider. Then take a sip and enjoy the fruit of your labor.
The Alien Comic
Make crab-apple syrup: Use a juicer to extract juice from 3 pounds crab-apples. In a small pot, combine 2 cups crab-apple juice (apple cider may be substituted) and 1 cup sugar and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Let cool. Syrup will keep 2 weeks in an airtight container, refrigerated.
Add ½ ounce crab-apple syrup, ½ ounce Dolin Blanc Vermouth, ½ ounce Lustau Palo Cortado Sherry and ½ ounce fresh lemon juice to a shaker with ice and shake 20 times. Add 1½ ounces J.K.’s Scrumpy Hard Cider and stir. Strain into a cocktail glass.
—Adapted from Pearl & Ash, New York