Sometimes, it’s the road less traveled — or in this case, the drink that’s not been drunk — that provides the most fruitful rewards. For Wassail’s (162 Orchard Street; 646-918-6835) head bartender Jade Sotack, finding the right mix of ingredients to make cider cocktails all started with discovering the multiple personalities in a single glass of cider.
Sotack, who was already well-versed in cocktails (she helped open Pouring Ribbons), began to take an interest in cider while working at Terroir. Upon hearing that a cider-focused bar was opening in the Lower East Side, Sotack decided to investigate the opportunity, although the beverage was a bit of a mystery to her.
“I hadn’t had any cocktails with cider before starting work at Wassail,” Sotack tells the Voice. Though she was able to experiment a little with cider and gain familiarity with its variants at Terroir, Sotack recalled she didn’t see many of her coworkers using it that much, which can be attributed to the fact that many ciders weren’t very accessible even just several years ago.
However, with interest in niche cocktails on the rise, as well as improvement in the distribution and production of cider, more and more people are looking for innovative recipes. One such option: the Pommeau Cobbler, which Sotack playfully calls “the perfect mother-in-law cocktail.”
There’s a wide variety of cider styles; some are more reminiscent of blue cheese than sweet apple pie. To create a fruit-focused, low alcohol cocktail, Sotack enjoys using pommeau, a traditional French blend of apple juice and apple brandy such as Calvados.
“When I’m trying to build a cocktail, I can usually find a puzzle piece in the cider world that would usually fit into almost anything,” Sotack says. The Pommeau Cobbler is a composition that also incorporates a favorite wine of Sotack’s: riesling. “When you add it to a cocktail, you’re not skewing it. It’s perfectly balanced,” Sotack explains. Dry riesling is used to balance pommeau’s sweetness, while dandelion-burdock bitters are used to temper the acidity of the apples and provide a hint of wildflower with each sip.
While your in-laws are welcomed at Wassail, you may might prefer to grab drinks with them at home. If so, try Sotack’s recipe below:
The Pommeau Cobbler by Jade Sotack
1 orange slice
1/4 ounce simple syrup
3 dashes dandelion-burdock bitters
2 ounces riesling (Sotack recommends sticking with a German riesling such as Schneider)
1 ounce pommeau liqueur
1/2 ounce pineapple juice
Muddle the orange slice in the bottom of a glass to give the drink a bitter orange flavor. Add all the other ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake, strain, and pour into glass.