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The C.C. Pass

2011 February 25

By Andrew States

New York has been graced with a few unseasonably warm days recently, days that remind us that the cold and snow, the binding, white crust that’s encased everything, is not interminable.  There is an end to all of this hibernating.  Patches of sidewalk are visible and the sky is some times blue.  Nevertheless, despite the titillating suggestions to the contrary, winter still grips the northeast and  most of the delicate things remain in hiding.  So, when I saw Brianna’s post about apple wine, I thought she might be trying to do me a favor.

Apples are one of the few things still abundant in the Northeast.  The farmer’s market is flush, nearly every stall brimming with different shiny skinned varieties.  And all those apples mean a lot of cider.  I’ve resisted using apple cider in a cocktail all winter, it seemed like cheating somehow, like most of the work was already done.  Cider tastes delicious with almost any kind of liquor so I could just toss a shot of sake in a glass and pour in some cider and be done with it.  Call it a Mount Fuji.  Actually, that sounds pretty good, but it isn’t the way I went.  My options were limited by my region’s growth season and the heart of my drink had to remain truly local.  Fine.  Cider it would be, but I would keep it cold.  No hiding my errors in heat.  While I was at it, I figured I might as well jump in with both feet and I went back to a Hudson Valley based liquor I’ve used before called Core Vodka, also made from apples.

Often, inspiration strikes when our limitations force us to be creative.  With a bottle of Core and a jug of Migliorelli cider from the farmer’s market, I set to work and found, almost immediately, that I’d overestimated the ease of making a cider based cocktail.  It wasn’t that the vodka and the cider didn’t work, but my first go at mixing them yielded something akin to watered down apple juice.  I ran through my whole stash of Fee Brothers Bitters, from the Aromatic to the Mint (Yes, mint. The unholy flavor was matched only by the frightening color). I liked the spice of the Aromatic bitters but I found the overall combination somewhat toothless.  The cocktail would remain half-finished unless I sucked it up and bought a lemon.

This is a problem I frequently run into while making local cocktails.  Many classic ingredients simply don’t exist in our part of the world at this, or any other, time of year.  Unless I buy my own lemon tree, I’m going to be using citrus fruit that had to travel.  I salved my conscience by buying my lemons from Commodities Natural Market in the East Village, but I didn’t feel in any way absolved until I got home and mixed the drink.  Cider, vodka, bitters and the juice of half a lemon.  It was fresh and delicious. I drank it with admitted pleasure and only a slight hint of guilt.  I think I’m going to have to buy that lemon tree.  In honor of the end of winter and the two primary ingredients, I call this one a C.C. Pass

The C.C. Pass

Prep time: 1 minute

Yield: 1 serving

Tools: Glass, jigger or some way to measure ounces, knife, citrus squeezer (or you can just squeeze it with your hand.)


  • Migliorelli Apple Cider
  • 2 oz. Core Vodka
  • Fee Bros. Aromatic Bitters
  • Ice
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Cooking Directions

  1. Into a 6-8 oz glass, pour 2 oz of Core Vodka.
  2. Add three small dashes of Fee Bros. Aromatic Bitters.
  3. Cut a lemon in half.
  4. Using citrus squeezer or your hands squeeze juice from lemon into glass.
  5. Add ice.
  6. Top with Migliorelli Apple cider and a twist from the lemon.
  7. Stir until contents are thoroughly mixed and enjoy.