Cider Corner: Can Cidertails Help Boost Your Business?

Cocktails & cider are a natural fit together and cideries across the country should look for ways to make cidertails as a delicious way to introduce cider to folks who prefer to drink mixed drinks.

Pennings Farm Cidery says that their cider cocktails are extremely popular and the New York cidery started to make them to add variety to the menu. The same goes for Michigan’s Blake’s Hard Cider, which has even begun a “Bar Cart” series in cans to help with a portfolio increase of RTDs.

“Cider cocktails have given the on-premise a great opportunity to move both cider on draft and spirits on the shelf,” the team from Blake’s said. “It’s not uncommon in the Midwest for a bar to only allocate one handle to cider, so instilling a little confidence in the buyer that they can dual use the cider as a cocktail mixer too, has fared very well for us.”

Since all of Blake’s ciders are made with 100% real fruit, all of them lend well to cocktail mixing, but the Bar Cart Series was developed exactly for this purpose, so each pairs with a spirit.

“For example, our Paloma is everything you need to enjoy a true Paloma, but you can control how much and what type of tequila you want to use,” they explained. “Our Paloma is 6.5% ABV, so a lot of our customers are enjoying it as-is and skipping the tequila to enjoy something a bit more sessionable.”

Pennings loves to use its Bone Dry or Cold Crash as a base for many of its cocktails.

“These ciders have simple and clean flavor profiles as they are made from dessert apples,” they said. “One of our most popular cocktails created by our bartender Reid Wilson is our Watermelon Refresher made with fresh muddled mint, watermelon puree, Pennings Apple Vodka, Simple Syrup and topped with Bone Dry.”

Peach Party, the first product from Blake’s to roll out in the Summer of Cider lineup, has quickly become its No. 2-selling product, just behind Triple Jam.

“There is something pleasant, light and crisp that makes Peach Party approachable and easy-drinking and that’s what people want as the weather warms up,” they said. “Also, peach isn’t a common flavor profile in cider in the Midwest, so our customers are both curious and excited to find it. “

The 2nd cider Blake’s released for the summer, Tropicolada, is part of the Bar Cart Series and sales are exceeding forecast and reaffirming the RTD craze. Tropicolada is a play on a Pina Colada and offers a tropical profile but at a lower ABV than a lot of RTDs on the shelf, so a consumer can have more than one.

All the ingredients and spices for Pennings are sourced right from the farm while all syrups, infusions and purees are all made in-house.

“Keeping everything in-house keeps costs of the ingredients low and consistent, which helps us maintain consistent profit margins,” Pennings said. “We usually include a hard alcohol in addition to the cider in the cocktail recipe so we keep our cider cocktails priced in line with what you would see at other establishments using high end, fresh ingredients.”

Here are a few Cidertails from Blake’s to kick-start your cidery’s think tank:

Whiskey Float (​w/ Blake’s ​Apple Pie)

  • 6 ounces Blake’s Apple Pie
  • 1 scoop real vanilla ice cream
  • 2-3 ounces Blake’s Sweet Cider
  • 1.5 ounces whiskey/bourbon
  • Cinnamon stick garnish and ground for garnish

Strawberry Patch (w/ Blake’s Strawberry Lemonade)

  • 1 oz. vodka
  • 4 oz. Blake’s Strawberry Lemonade
  • ½ ounce agave nectar
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Lemons and strawberries for garnish
  • 1 ounce strawberry puree​ (​1 cup fresh strawberrie​s; ​1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey​; 1 tablespoon lemon juice​; Bring all to a simmer and then strain and cool​)​

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