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  • The Chopping Blog

Celebrate with Cider Cocktails

Posted by Shelley on Sep 28, 2023


We are at the height of apple season, and The Chopping Block celebrates apple season in a big way, namely at the annual Lincoln Square Apple Fest. We serve our famous Apple Pie by the slice at this neighborhood, and we take our pie production very seriously.

pies coming soonWe start planning for apple pie production in June when we will look at how we might modify our systems for storage, production and ordering, all in the effort to make even more pies. Once we determine how many we think we can make, we look at the weather and if it seems like the weather will cooperate, we can then determine how many pies we will make. This year we are planning to make 600 pies, which yields 4800 slices. That is a lot of Lodge cast iron pans, Granny Smith apples, Plugra butter and quarts of heavy cream!

apple pies tshirtIn addition to apple pie, we feature Right Bee Cider’s hard cider and Journeyman Distillery's Old Country Goodness. We sell Right Bee Cider hard cider at the outdoor tent with our apple pie and have Old Country Goodness available inside the store to purchase and take home. Neither of these beverages not need to be made into a cocktail, but we do sell both to go and with Thanksgiving, Halloween and many autumnal celebrations happening, I thought some easy seasonal cocktail ideas for these beverages would be fun to share. I also thought we should have the drinks we always recommend to our customers documented for your reference.

cider cansRight Bee Cider makes, in my opinion, the best cider in Chicago. Their dry cider is simply fermented apples and the semi-dry has a small amount of honey added. Right Bee’s ciders are bright, clean, light and refreshing with just a hint of effervescence. It is so thirst quenching and delicious on its own, but it is really great to add a little acidity, light sweetness and sparkle to a cocktail. I love to make fall sangria with it, it absorbs the flavor of the fruit beautifully. I also like to make a version of a Pisco Sour with it. You can also use it instead of champagne or prosecco in your Aperol Spritz, French 75, Champagne cocktail or Mimosa.

aperol spritzThen there is Old Country Goodness or O.C.G. from Journeyman Distillery, which is one of the most surprising spirits I have ever tasted. At a glance, you might think this apple-infused white whiskey would be overly spiced and sweet but like Right Bee Cider, it is lightly sweet, mostly from just the natural sweetness of the apples. The spices are just right, nothing too overwhelming except that O.C.G. may have a higher alcohol percentage than you might anticipate, 20%. Since O.C.G. is delicious hot, cold, straight, on the rocks or in cocktails, it lends itself especially well to mixed drinks.

Journeyman OCG 

Hard Cider Sangria

Hard SangriaThis can be made with any seasonal fruit, strawberries in June, peaches in August and even dried, frozen or canned fruit in the middle of the winter.

Yield: 1 quart

Hands on time: 30 minutes

Start to finish: 4 to 24 hours


1-quart dry hard cider

1/2 cup simple syrup

1/2 cup brandy

1 apple, sliced or diced

1 pear, sliced or diced

1/2 cup red or black grapes, cut in half

1/2 white grapes, cut in half

1/2 cup plums, cut in half and pitted


1. Mix all ingredients together in a pitcher or large glass jar.

2. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours to let the fruit macerate but 24 hours is ideal to get the most flavor infused into the cider.

3. Serve cold either up or on the rocks.


Pisco Cider Sour

Pisco Cider SourYield: 4 ounces

Hands on time: 10 minutes

Start to finish: 2 hours


4 ounces hard apple cider

5 dashes bitters

1/2 ounce simple syrup

1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon Aquafaba, whipped


Aquafaba for Cocktails

Aquafaba is the liquid that is drained from cooked beans. This neutral liquid somehow transforms itself into a meringue-like substance. It provides an alternative to using eggs in cocktails. I think cocktails with raw eggs in them have gone out of favor for multiple good reasons but there is something so satisfying about the creamy and airy quality they provide. The discovery of aquafaba has mitigated the problems with raw eggs in cocktails but does require a little effort in advance to use it effectively. Just throwing aquafaba powder into your cocktail and shaking it will not work. Follow the instruction below to create a thin “meringue” and it will keep for a day. Add small quantities of the prepared aquafaba into your cocktails as you are shaking them.

1/4 cup dried aquafaba powder

1/4 cup room temperature water

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Water as needed


Step 1: Soak Aquafaba Powder

In a pint jar, mix aquafaba powder and water. Place the lid on the jar and shake until lumps break down. Let the mixture set for 1 hour, until it gets thick. You can also let this mixture set for up to 8 hours at room temp, so you could soak it before work and then quickly whip the aquafaba when you get home.

Aquafina SoakingStep 2: Whip

Add the powdered sugar to the soaked aquafaba powder along with 2 tablespoons of water. Use an immersion blender if you have one and whip the aquafaba right in the jar. If you do not have an immersion blender, put mixture in bowl and whip by hand or with a hand mixer until fluffy. Thin with water until about pancake batter consistency.

Whipping AquafabaKeep cold until needed.


Step 3: Make the Cocktail

In a cocktail shaker or mixing glass, add cider, bitters, simple syrup, lime and whipped aquafaba. Stir until combined and serve in a martini glass or coupe.

*You cannot shake cider cocktails with ice. They are so effervescent that the shaker will explode. Make sure all ingredients are cold for best results.


O.C.G. and Right Bee Cider Got Married

OCG in fluteWe always encourage our customers to try serving O.C.G. in a champagne flute and topping that with champagne or prosecco but topping it with Right Bee Cider is like a double apple whammy of goodness!


They Call Me Ginger

They Call Me GingerYield: 1 cocktail

Hands on time: 10 minutes


2 ounces O.C.G.

1 ounce rye whiskey

2 ounces ginger ale

4 dashes orange bitters


1. Measure all ingredients in a rocks glass add ice and stir.

We hope to see you at Apple Fest this weekend to celebrate the height of apple season. If you can't make it this weekend, you can still enjoy our famous Apple Pie by placing your apple pie order for Thanksgiving. Swing by and pick up a bottle of O.C.G. or some Right Bee Cider to celebrate the fall or join us in one of our upcoming cocktail or wine classes:

See our class calendar

Topics: whiskey, cocktails, apple cider, apple, cocktail, apples, cider, journeyman distillery, OCG, hard cider

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