Spice Up Your Apple Cider Cocktail With Pickled Ginger Brine

Spice Up Your Apple Cider Cocktail With Pickled Ginger Brine
Photo: Claire Lower

Sometimes the drinks I make for this column are inspired by some sort of classic cocktail. Other times, they’re forged in chaos and contain whatever happens to be in my kitchen and on my bar cart. Today’s offering falls into the latter category, and came to be because I had a few little bottles of Martinelli’s sparkling cider left over from my cider float tasting.

Martinelli’s (or any sparkling apple cider) is usually what one buys when you need something celebratory to serve to those abstaining from alcohol, so it seems weird to dump a couple of shots of vodka in it, but that’s exactly what I did. A quick Google revealed that this combination is called a “Russian cider,” which is a kind of lazy thing to name it, but I don’t hate it.

A combination of equal parts vodka and Martinelli’s is pleasing enough, but it is quite sweet. To temper the candy apple quality and add a little dimension, I reached for an underrated beverage ingredient: pickled ginger brine. Just a teaspoon adds enough salt, acid, and ginger to accentuate the apple while curbing the cloying edge.

If you happen to have some rhubarb-infused vodka, use that to up the pie factor, but this works just fine with the plain stuff. To make it, you will need:

  • 60mL vodka (rhubarb vodka if you have it), chilled
  • 1 teaspoon pickled ginger brine
  • 60mL Martinelli’s sparkling apple cider, chilled

Pour the chilled vodka and brine into a champagne flute and top with chilled cider. Sip and repeat as needed.

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