I was listening to Mother Jones’ Inquiring Minds podcast last week and they had Amy Stewart on the show to talk about the science of turning plants into alcohol. A topic I was sure to be interested in. The podcast also happened to be released/recorded during the Fourth of July holiday weekend and so the topic of what the first “Americans” drank came up. Amy mentioned that both whiskey and cider, the hard variety, were very common and very popular with American colonialists. She then mentioned a drink that would be called a “cocktail” today, the Stone Fence. She described it as a mix of hard apple cider with rye whiskey or rum and that it was very popular. This was enough of a hook to get me digging!
- 2 oz. rye whiskey, whiskey, rum, or brandy
- Angostura bitters
- Hard apple cider
- mint spring or lemon wedge (optional)
Pour spirits into a highball or Collins glass, add a dash of bitters, top with ice and fill to the brim with cider. Stir, garnish with mint sprig or lemon wedge.
With the amount of cider and ice you’ll be putting into this drink the spirit is going to be subtle. My first impressions were that this drink was an odd and very dry champagne. Not a bad thing at all, but not really what I expect from a cocktail either. Subtle would be the best one word description for the drink. The crisp dryness of the cider followed up with the soft aftertaste of bourbon. I didn’t think twice about finishing this cocktail in two or three swigs. But here I am 30 minutes or so later and I’m feeling it. Either I’m more dehydrated than I realize or this drink masks the hard alcohol phenomenally well. This cocktail reminds me of a Dark and Stormy or a Moscow Mule without any of the kick or punch that the ginger beer gives those drinks. That’s not a bad thing, just different.