Apple cider margaritas for Cider Days

  • Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner's apple cider margarita. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Roxann Wedegartner rims a glass with brown sugar and salt for her Apple Cider Margarita. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner chopping apples to garnish her apple cider margarita. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner pours Clarkdale Apple Cider in her Apple Cider Margarita. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

For the Recorder
Published: 11/1/2022 4:49:05 PM
Modified: 11/1/2022 4:48:44 PM

When Judith and Terry Maloney of West County Cider inaugurated Cider Days in the 1990s they contributed a meaningful holiday to the local calendar.

Our area is awash with activities in the spring, in the summer, and in the early autumn. After the foliage peaks, however, life in New England begins to get quieter.

Cider Days speak to our longing to keep on celebrating the harvest — and to keep our sense of community humming just a little longer. In addition, of course, this annual weekend celebrates the rich and varied flavors of local apples and cider.

In 2022, Cider Days will fall this weekend, on November 5 and 6. A number of local cidermakers and stores will participate.

I am excited that there will be a major Cider Days presence in my hometown of Hawley, at Headwater Cider. The celebrations at Headwater will include tastings and sales from a variety of cideries, cheesemakers and a baker — plus live music and a cookbook author named Tinky Weisblat.

Unfortunately, attending the Headwater celebration means that I will miss lots of other activities and goodies.

These include a pruning workshop at Pine Hill Orchards in Colrain, a class in making hard-cider mustard at New Salem Preserves and Cider, and cider dogs (I presume a form of hot dogs) at Cameron’s Winery in Northfield, not to mention the apple-cider ice-cream sandwiches at Wells Provisions in Charlemont.

For a full listing of Cider Days activities and vendors, visit the Cider Days website at https://www.ciderdays.org/.

I have been on the hunt for a recipe to celebrate this special weekend, and boy did I find one, courtesy of Roxann Wedegartner of Greenfield. In addition to serving as Greenfield’s mayor, Roxann is a prominent local food enthusiast. Readers may recall that she once had a food column in the Recorder.

Roxann informed me that she and her husband Dick make a mean apple cider margarita. Both were raised on the Texas-Mexico border, where margaritas are a staple of the local cuisine.

I asked how they decided to incorporate New England apple cider into this very Southwestern drink.

“I don’t really recall exactly,” she said. “It could have been something as simple as I went and bought apple cider, and it was up on the kitchen counter, and my husband decided to make a margarita. And he said, ‘What if…?’”

Roxann told me that although the pair are both generally purists about their margaritas, they are fans of this particular non-traditional margarita … but only when fresh cider is in season at area orchards.

“I would say it works because of the deliciousness of our cider locally. The cider taste comes through for sure. You’re probably expecting it to be more like a regular margarita, but what you’re missing is the pucker factor,” she noted.

“It’s a very smooth, easy drink to have. I would say that if somebody wasn’t a big fan of margaritas, or wanted a starter cocktail, this would be something to try.”

Like many baby boomers, Roxann stuck mostly to wine and beer as a young adult but has gravitated to the fashion of cocktails in recent years. She doesn’t drink a cocktail every evening, she said, but she does like one on occasion. She invariably peruses the cocktail menu in restaurants, she added.

Roxann informed me that although she often skips the salt rim in a standard margarita, she insists on the rim in this drink. The rim adds to the depth of flavor in the cocktail. She and her husband like to make their margaritas in a standard 10-to-12-ounce rocks glass, although the choice of glass is up to the cocktail maker.

She never measures the ingredients for the rim so readers should feel free to play with the approximate proportions below.

Roxann is happy with the final product. “What’s not to like about tequila and apple cider together?” she laughed.

The Mayor’s Margaritas for Cider Days

Ingredients:

about 1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, plus a “smidge” later

about 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

a pinch (certainly less than 1/4 teaspoon) salt

1 lime, divided

enough ice to fill 2 glasses

6 ounces sweet, local apple cider

4 ounces silver tequila or tequila blanco

2 ounces triple sec liqueur (Roxann used Cointreau)

2 slices of apple

Instructions:

First, prepare the rim flavorings. (If you put ice in the glasses before you rim them, you’ll be in trouble!) On a saucer, stir together the 1-1/2 tablespoons of brown sugar, the cinnamon, and the salt.

Divide the lime in half, and cut one half into wedges. Rub a wedge around the rims of the glasses so that the rim flavorings will stick to them, and then dip the rims of the glasses in the brown-sugar combination. Fill the glasses with ice.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the cider, the tequila, the triple sec, the juice of half of the lime, and the smidge of brown sugar. Shake, and pour this mixture over the ice.

Decorate the rims of the glasses with additional lime wedges and the apple slices. (Roxann said that a cinnamon stick makes an attractive stirrer in the glasses but doesn’t ultimately add to the flavor of the drink.)

Serves 2.

Tinky Weisblat is an award-winning author and singer. Her latest book is “Pot Luck: Random Acts of Cooking.” Visit her website, TinkyCooks.com.


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