It’s Halloween! But the adults deserve treats, too. If you just spent the last few nights in a row working into the wee hours of the morning making your kids their perfect costumes, of if you just spent all night escorting your kids on a sugar rampage through the neighborhood, then treat yourself to a favorite fall cocktail: the Stone Fence. – Andrew
The Stone Fence
Combine the rye whiskey, sweet apple cider, and bitters in a highball glass filled with crushed ice. Top with the hard cider and give it a stir. Garnish with fresh mint or another handy herb and enjoy!
We first featured the Stone Fence all the way back in 2012 and have revisited periodically since then, both because it’s an awesome drink with an awesome history* and because it’s a very versatile recipe that can be endlessly tweaked.
*Seriously, it’s an awesome history, playing a big role in Ethan Allen’s capture of Fort Ticonderoga in 1775. This is the drink that gave a bunch of backwoods militiamen the courage to drunkenly stumble into a military outpost of a global super power and successfully demand its surrender through sheer drunken outrageousness.
The original recipe called for rye whiskey – America’s first love, before the Age of Bourbon – and hard apple cider. I’ve tried this version, and it’s ok, but a little bland; the cider and rye play up each other’s dryness and bitterness in a way that I don’t really love. I’ve also tried an updated version that pairs rye with sweet apple cider, the non-alcoholic stuff that most Yankee kids know just as plain “cider.” This version is pretty good, tart sweet and spicy, but it can feel a little…childish.
So I made the best of both worlds and added both sweet, non-alcoholic cider and a dry, sparkling hard cider. The result is sweet and tart and spicy, but the hard cider dries it out a bit and lightens the drink with effervescence. The hard cider also kicks up the proof just a bit, which helps balance out the sweet cider.
We went with Boker’s bitters – a long-lost bitters recipe heavy on the cardamom that used to be ubiquitous in drinks, then vanished from the record, and was recently resurrected. This adds some warm baking spice notes, always welcome in a fall drink featuring apple. If you don’t have Boker’s bitters on hand, you could always try making your own cardamom bitters – or there’s always the old standby, Angostura bitters, that will add some complex spices to your Stone Fence.
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper
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