Three Apple-Based Cocktail Recipes From Denver Cider Experts

We may be on the brink of a revolution when it comes to mixed drinks: the cider cocktail. While they’re far from a staple at local bars and taprooms, cider cocktails have consistently been top sellers at places like the Rackhouse Pub, where the bar always has at least one on the menu (thanks to neighbor C Squared Ciders). If you’re mixing at home, employing cider in a cocktail is a great substitute for soda water — making recipes not only inventive, but extra boozy and flavorful. As bars slowly start to add more apple-spiked drinks to the menu (like Euclid Hall's offering below), we've compiled the ingredients for three cocktail recipes crafted by local cider connoisseurs.

Colorado Cider Company
2650 West Second Avenue
“Whenever someone asks for something unique or off-the-wall, this is what I recommend,” Euclid Hall (1317 14th Street) bartender Tom Owens says of one of his top-selling drinks, Johnny Thunders. Available through the winter season, this beverage was created during one of the restaurant's cocktail labs, when the mixologists come together to taste-test and collaborate on new menu items. Colorado Cider Company owners Kathe and Brad Page approved of the concoction after a recent visit to the downtown restaurant and beer hall.

Johnny Thunders
1.5 ounces Old Overholt Rye
1 ounce. lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 ounce Horseshoes & Handgrenades red blend wine (or a similar blended red)
1 ounce Colorado Glider Cider
Garnish with a lemon

Stem Ciders
2811 Walnut Street
Pommeau is a dessert wine made from apples, and Stem’s second batch just hit the shelves shortly after Thanksgiving. Aged in port barrels for twenty months, the rich, dried-fruit flavor pairs well with champagne in a cocktail created by the Stem team — so you won’t find the drink for sale at any other bars. If you make it at home, pre-mix the Pommeau, juice, and a handful of fresh cranberries (they need time to infuse) in a classic Mason jar, so all you need to do is add the bubbly when guests tell you it's time for seconds.

Stem Pommeau Cocktail
3 ounces brut champagne
1 ounce cranberry-apple juice
2 ounces Stem Pommeau
Fresh cranberries

Garnish with the infused cranberries and a sprig of rosemary.

C Squared Ciders/Rackhouse Pub
2875 Blake Street

Bar manager Jessica Durr created this recipe as a possible winter cocktail for the Rackhouse Pub, which shares space with C Squared Ciders inside the Bindery on Blake, but it's not yet on the printed menu. Don't be afraid to ask for it, though, since Durr keeps all the ingredients on hand. Her inspiration started with Becherovka, an herbal liqueur with hints of cinnamon — think of a more classy and complex Fireball — that complements the ginger cider made by C Squared. All cinnamon and ginger fans should flock to this beverage; whether you like rum or not, you’ll like this.

C Squared Becherovka Cocktail
1 ounce of rum
1 ounce Becherovka
¾ ounce Dolin Rouge Sweet Vermouth
1 bar spoon of simple syrup
1 ounce C Squared ginger cider

Garnish with a lemon.

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