The Craft of the Cocktail: Stone Fence
At my office we honor beer o’ clock–the magical 4 pm hour when we tromp the fridge in the back of the office and pull out a cool one, a craft beer of our own, to sip until we head home for the weekend. I don’t work at Facebook or Zynga or some cool tech start-up, just at a little executive search firm with a boss who knows when to chill out and have a good time. I’m pretty lucky, no?
But this isn’t to rub it in, I swear. Even if you don’t have the privilege of a 4 o’ clock drink, let me at least tantalize you with the option of a 5 o’clock drink–after all, it’s Friday and we all need a good time!
Today’s recipe book is one for cocktails–one of the most respected books in the market right now–The Craft of the Cocktail by Dale DeGroff. It’s sleek, it’s rather pictureless, and it has a horrible index that doesn’t index ingredients (how the hell do you find a new cocktail to try without an index of ingredients?!), but as far as the recipes go, it’s golden. One of my favorite restaurants here, Lucky, uses it to base their cocktails off it and I’m really glad I took their recommendation and bought it–I’ve yet to make a bad cocktail from it.
Inspired by a quart of local cider I picked up at the Whole Foods in Richmond and in love with the cider cocktail I drank at Pasture, I knew I wanted to play around with cider as the ultimate cocktail ingredient. But where to start? I didn’t want mulled cider or some other cider punch; I wanted something classy and crisp, hopefully with whiskey involved. I wanted the taste of swirling leaves and mountain air. In a glass. You know, nothing tough about that.
Thankfully, The Craft of the Cocktail, pulled through for me. The Stone Fence is a classic of a cocktail. Dating back to the 1700s, this utterly American drink combined the very available apple cider with liquor of choice–sometimes rum, sometimes whiskey. Though the original probably combined hard cider (they byproduct of bazillions of wild apples that didn’t taste so swell until fermented) and an additional liquor, The Craft’s calls for fresh apple cider (the other boozier alternative might be a bit much for me anyways). Combining bourbon, cider, lemon juice, and a dash of simple syrup, the cocktail couldn’t be any simpler or, frankly, more delicious. It’s chill and crisp with a bit of warmth from the bourbon, a bright zing from the lemon, and it’s neither too sweet nor too tart–just toes the line between both. It’s autumn in a glass. The recipe called for a bourbon cherry garnish in addition to the apple, but I forgot it–I’m sure it’d be delicious with that as well. It doesn’t feel like any less of a drink without the cherry though–and, happily for me, it’s almost dead-on for Pasture’s drink. Awesome!
While I can’t bring in a jug of these cocktails to work (or can I…hmmmm….), it is the perfect drink to sip on a warm fall evening. America, you did us right by inventing this cocktail, and DeGroff, your version is red-white-and-blue blooded enough for me.
2 oz bourbon (I used Eagle Rare 10)
5 oz fresh apple cider)
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
3 dashes of simple syrup, optional
Apple slice, for garnish
Bourbon cherry, for garnish (I forgot that one)
Build in a tumbler with ice. Garnish with an apple slice and bourbon cherry.
On This Day in MoFos Past:
2009: Gluten-Free Buckwheat Crepes & Cinnamon Spice Apples
2010: I Love ATL, Part I
2011: Pumpkin Cornbread