The Cider Shandy

February 20, 2014

You'll no longer have to buy a plane ticket to get in on the cocktails at Seattle's Essex: Owners Brandon Pettit and Molly Wizenberg (a.k.a. Orangette) will be sharing their favorite recipes with us, every other week. Drink up, people.

Today: A winter-friendly flashback to warmer times.

Shop the Story

There are few drinks more lovable than the shandy. Built on a foundation of beer, a shandy is easy to make, easy to drink, eminently approachable. Maybe most importantly, there’s no other drink that feels more like high summer: take our old friend, last August’s Campari Shandy, for example. But there’s really no reason not to drink a shandy in February, especially when you swap out the beer for a wintry hard cider. (Which probably makes it not a shandy at all, but let’s ignore that detail.)

We keep dry apple cider on tap at Essex in the fall and winter, usually from Tieton Cider Works in south-central Washington State. And while we like to drink it as is, we also wind up using it in a number of cocktails. This week’s Cider Shandy is one, and -- mark your calendar! March 6th! -- we’ll feature another in the next column, too, with applejack and a Laphroaig rinse.

More: Can't wait that long for an applejack cocktail? Try this one.

Niah came up with our Cider Shandy after he made a liqueur from some wild currants that our favorite apple farmer gave us and then, uh, needed to use it somehow. So he put a little in the bottom of a glass, added some fresh lemon juice to counter the liqueur’s sweetness, and then topped it up with hard cider. The result was a gorgeous, subtle shade of rosy amber -- very Martha -- and it tasted light but wintry, of apples and dark berries. For today’s purposes, we reworked it to use commercial crème de cassis -- we like Combier brand -- and, in a flash of inspiration, Niah also threw in some Amontillado sherry, which brings a nutty quality that goes beautifully with cider. It’s a cold-weather nod to warmer times: In other words, it’s exactly what February calls for. 

Cider Shandy

Serves 1

1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce Amontillado sherry
1/2 ounce cassis
Dry cider, such as Anthem or Strongbow

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Brandon and Molly met because of a mutual interest in food - or, more specifically, when Brandon read Molly's food blog Orangette and sent her an e-mail that included some very effective compliments. The better part of a decade later, they co-own and run the restaurant Delancey and its sibling Essex, in Seattle. Brandon is the chef of both, and when he's not manning the wood-burning oven, he likes to make things from scratch that more sane people would probably buy, like mustard, vinegars, pretzels, and obscurely flavored liqueurs. Molly is the manager / Organizer of All Things at Delancey and Essex, and she is also the author of the New York Times bestseller A Homemade Life and the forthcoming memoir Delancey. They have a young daughter named June, who is excitedly crawling toward the refrigerator as Molly types this sentence, and two dogs named Jack and Alice.