I just cannot bring myself to drink it. That is all. I have some kind of utterly irrational yet bone-deep hostility toward the notion of sparkling cider as a substitute for champagne/sparkling wine. (I actually find it odd overall that fizzy drinks are regarded as ‘festive,’ as if modern humans experienced the miracle of carbonation only on special occasions–I enjoy bubbly liquids as much as the next person, I guess, and I know this because they are WIDELY AVAILABLE.)
Maybe it’s the image I’ve held for so long of cider as the limp nonalcoholic substitute for champagne, the way there was always some kid in grade school whose mother would send carob cookies for class parties. Maybe it’s untested conviction (contempt prior to investigation, anyone?) that it will taste insipidly sweet and just remind me of what I can’t have anymore. Or maybe I’m just being stubborn and missing out on something fantastic. (Both have been known to happen…) All I know is I don’t want any, dammit.
Here is something I do like, though, adapted from Bon Appetit to take advantage of Meyer lemons being in season on the West Coast. Bon Appetit calls it a Meyer Lemon and Sage Presse. Goody for them, but I find the word ‘Presse’ profoundly irritating and refuse to employ it. We shall refer to it as a soda, or even just a ‘thing.’
Here is how you make the thing:
Put 1/4 cup of fresh sage leaves, 1/2 cup simple syrup, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and 2 quartered Meyer lemons (regular lemons are fine too) in a pitcher and then just go right ahead and muddle the fuck out of them. (The mixing instructions are the ‘adapted’ part.) You now have a wonderful lemony-sage syrup on your hands, you champ! From there you can either add a 12 oz. can of club soda to the pitcher and mix it all together, or (my preference) keep the syrup separate and mix on a per-drink basis, playing around with the ratio of syrup to soda. I find that a ratio of 1 to 4/5 is just perfect–it’s incredibly refreshing and makes you go ‘ooh, interesting flavor!’ without being at all overbearing. Plus it has bubbles, so you know, it’s wildly festive.
Happy slightly crabby but happily sober New Year, friends. 🙂