A hard apple cider cocktail with smoked sage and a splash of gin is a sweet, herbal combination that's surprisingly refreshing.
This fall cocktail recipe doubles as an unofficial Election Night cocktail. My unofficial name for this unofficial Election Night cocktail is Pundit Punch (Thank you for the idea, Alison Weber!). Because no matter who you're voting for, I think we all can agree that Tuesday is going to be pretty intense and puns are the best.
Smoky sage, sweet hard apple cider, and herbal gin with a squeeze of lime work beautifully together in this drink. Serve it in a tall glass with a sprig of sage and a slice of apple or some leftover lime as your garnish.
Smoked cocktails are starting to pop up on bar menus, and to make them, bartenders use a special smoker doohickey to add a hint of smoky flavor to your drink. It's really cool. It's also out of reach for most home cooks, but you don't need a doohickey to make this hard apple cider cocktail.
Instead, I'm using a trick that I learned from Tales of the Cocktail. It's really cool, and anyone with a lighter or a gas stove can do it.
To smoke this hard apple cider cocktail, you take a sprig of sage, and toast it like a marshmallow. I did this by holding it with tongs over a burner on my stove. When it's smoking nicely, put it on a small plate, and place your glass over the smoking herb. If you're doing a bunch of these, just get a batch of glasses smoking, and you're ready to roll.
Smoked sage felt right for an Election Night cocktail, because after this election season, I definitely feel like I need to cleanse. Sage smudging is an ancient ritual to cleanse your life of negativity, and burning sage for this drink gives the house that same lingering, smoky, herbal smell that you get from sage smudging.
I am using Angry Orchard Stone Dry Hard Cider, which I chose because it's not overly sweet, it's vegan, and it's available in most grocery stores. A lot of hard ciders are vegan, but not all. Some of Angry Orchard's ciders even aren't, so definitely check Barnivore before you shop, so you'll know your options.
Hard Apple Cider Cocktail with Smoked Sage
- 2 sprigs fresh sage
- juice of 1 fresh lime
- 2 ounces gin
- 1 12 ounce bottle vegan hard apple cider - sweet or dry, depending on your tastes
- garnishes of your choice: apple slice - additional sage, lime wedge
- Have a flat plate ready that can hold two of your tall glasses upside-down. Use a kitchen torch, the burner of your stove, or a lighter to toast one sprig of sage. You don't need the whole thing to turn black - once you see smoke coming off of the leaves, move quickly to get it under that glass. When it begins to smoke, place it on your plate, and cover it with one of the glasses, making sure no smoke is escaping. Repeat with the other sprig and another glass. Let the glasses rest for about 5 minutes, so give the sage time to do its thing.
- Add ice to your glass, then divide the lime juice and gin between them.
- Top off slowly with the hard cider, and serve with your garnishes of choice.