We were waiting in anticipation to try this old style cider that we had heard was loved as far back as Thomas Jefferson, yes, “The Thomas Jefferson” (he was also known for creating a cider-like champagne). Several of us were already starting to tweet about the atmosphere at Earl’s Grocery in Charlotte, which was calm, inviting, and full of cider love. The representative for Foggy Ridge Cider decided to tease us with a small taste in a two ounce cup, just enough to get our taste buds excited for more. Then it happened- the brand ambassador for Foggy Ridge Cider said the magic words, “Cocktail time.”
At Cafe Terra you can find several recipes, but one thing you don’t find enough of … cocktails. That’s one of the reasons why I was excited to attend this event put on by the Charlotte Food Bloggers. The other reason is because I adore anything cider related and that definitely includes boozy cider. Brian and I enjoy learning about cocktails and mixing the right ingredients, or including the perfect bitters to a wonderful drink. So, I took one for the team and enjoyed an evening in style and with fellow food bloggers who made it that much better.
The first cocktail they served up was “Fruitcake the Drink.” This cocktail included Foggy Ridge Stayman Winesap Cider, Sycophant bitters (which includes orange and fig flavors), apple brandy, and an orange peel. When you try the drink without the bitters you grab the intense flavors of the brandy right away, and then the apple flavors peak out at the end. The drink is wonderful with or without the bitters, but after the brand ambassador taught us the importance of including bitters- she sold me right away. The drink completely changed with just a few drops of the Sycophant bitters, the apple brandy was not so prominent with each sip and the cider makes the appearance it should. Really delicious flavors all around.
Now, you know you can never end the evening with just one cocktail, right? So, let’s take a peak at what the “Fall Thyme Whiskey Cocktail” is all about. This drink used Foggy Ridge First Fruit Cider, whiskey, thyme simple syrup, and Lindsay bitters (which includes pecan, magnolia, and habanero). This newbie really had an eye-opening experience to how bitters work with each drink, and why you really should add them to all your cocktails. The flavors in the drink were tart, with caramel flavors from the whiskey- but then you add the bitters and the thyme simple syrup makes the appearance you hoped it would. Plus, the name of the cocktail is exactly that, Fall, and each sips screams it.
Thank you to the brand ambassador, Stacy, from Foggy Ridge Cider for taking the time to teach us about bitters and how they really work in each cocktail. She brought Crude small-batch bitters for the event, they are a local company out of Raleigh, NC- AND just like you probably imagine, they carry some pretty fantastic choices for bitters that you need to give a try today!
Also, thank you to Foggy Ridge Cider for sharing your delicious ciders with us, and for keeping things local by using local brandy and whiskey (both from North Carolina). I really had no idea about the differences between grabbing an American hard cider, or pouring myself a flute of old world hard cider the way Thomas Jefferson used to enjoy!
Now, I’ve been happy to share the differences to people, because many people avoid ciders because they are “Too sweet.” I know now that’s not completely true, not even a little.
Have you tried old world hard cider? Do you mix your cocktails up with special bitters?
Disclaimer: We were invited to attend the event at Earl’s Grocery with Foggy Ridge Cider, but all the thoughts and opinions are my own.