Beyond the appletini: Cider cocktails
Ciders aren't only for straight sipping; they're also a refreshing canvas for mixed drinks. "It's a real nice base for cocktails because it adds some acidity," said Virtue Cider's Greg Hall, citing cider's tendency to pair well with a range of sweet and spicy flavors. Bartenders have certainly gotten the memo and are mixing up cider-based cocktails with a range of flavors and liquors. --Kate Bernot
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Eval Apple ($11)
108 W. Kinzie St. 312-329-9555
When bartender Brenda Eval thinks of apples, she thinks of autumn spices and caramel, which inspired her not-too-sweet cider cocktail. She begins with a base of unsweetened, non-alcoholic cider, then adds Benedictine (an herbal liqueur) and a small scoop of apple butter, and garnishes the glass with a cinnamon salt-sugar rim.