Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fox Barrel Pear Cider

We haven’t reviewed hard cider in a few years so we grabbed a Fox Barrel from Viking Liquor up in Reedsburg. I was intrigued by the label since it declared that it was flavored similarly to a Belgian ale. Fermented by Belgian Wit yeast which is fed honey, Fox Barrel is also mixed with orange peel and coriander for complexity.

The pour is a pale yellow and noses a bit of yeast and a bit of honey, but mostly pear. I was expecting a sweet pear flavor, which I got upfront, but was surprised on the heavy tide of coriander on the finish. Honey is present throughout, although the finish almost makes Fox Barrel savory. The orange peel bitterness is lost; in fact, there isn’t much pf a trace of orange in it at all, which isn't a detriment since the lack of bitterness and acid allows for summer day-drinking last all day long without gut rot.

Now, it looks like Fox Barrel themselves are no longer. They have sold out to Crispin, so to try their version of this pear hard cider, you have to look for Lion Belge pear cider under the Crispin label.

As for a cocktail using this pear cider, try a shandy made with your favorite lager 1 to 1 with pear cider (known as a Snakebite). Or replace the pineapple juice with pear cider in a modified Pepper Pot. Recipe below.

Pepper Pot
Drinking Notes

5 ounces chilled pear hard cider
1 ounce amaretto
3-5 dashes Tabasco (or muddled Jalapeno)
splash freshly-squeezed lemon juice
pinch cayenne pepper
pinch curry powder

Pour all ingredients, except curry, into an iced highball glass. Stir gently. Top with curry if desired.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Dock Sway

We happened to be listening to Otis Redding and were thirsty for something summery, so we worked up a fun little number our friends in Madison (and near Madison) can pour. You will have to go to the oil and vinegar shop Vom Fass in the Shorewood Shopping Center just off University Avenue. Vom Fass sells speciality oils, vinegars, spices, and liquor, but we mostly go there for their vessels and corks of all sorts. You’ll have to find their liqueurs section (which won’t be hard, the store is not that big!). One of their better sellers is the Ginger Liqueur which is notable for its warming spice and its added gentle azure color. The cool thing about Vom Fass is that you can buy the liqueur in different sized vessels, so if you are not entirely sure if a particular liqueur is for you, then go with a small bottle. We think you’ll like the ginger though.

Otis was crooning about sittin’ on the dock of the bay, hence the need for something blue. We eschewed the idea of a totally blue curacao cocktail and made the main players a decadent trio of coconut, orange, and ginger with Vom Fass Ginger driving the color. We added a touch of sour with lemon and tamed the overall sweetness with Peychaud’s bitters (which if you do not have, grab a bottle at Old Sugar Distillery which is just down the road).

Dock Sway
Holly's Original

1 1/2 ounces coconut rum (We used Sugar Island)
1 ounce triple sec
1/2 ounce Vom Fass ginger liqueur
1/4 ounce Maraschino
1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 dash curaçao
1 dash Peychaud's bitters

Throw all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain. Enjoy Otis Redding.