by Sarah Alessandrini
In the early evening of July 24, I sat with my family at an outdoor beach bar and wondered what my first legal drink should be. The first time the waitress came around, I stumbled over the question. I needed more time, I said. You only get to have your first drink once, after all. I didn’t want a seltzer, vodka cran, or anything too basic. I finally landed on an orange crush — vodka, orange juice, lemon-lime soda, and triple sec. I’d made the perfect choice. Not only did the drink fit the summer vibe, but it was flavorful and fruity enough without being too sweet. I loved it so much that I learned how to make them myself at home.
Then, I moved to Syracuse for the fall semester. With a gallon of Beak & Skiff apple cider in my fridge, I started wondering if there were any good cocktails I could make with my favorite fall beverage. I’d tried spiked apple cider before, but thought it would be too sweet. Then it hit me — what if I could swap out the orange in an orange crush for a fall twist? So I began experimenting, and created the apple cider crush.
I started by looking at the standard ingredients in an orange crush. While most recipes only call for regular vodka, I usually like to make mine with orange flavored vodka. So for my apple cider crush, I chose to use green apple vodka (but regular vodka works just fine too).
When I first made the recipe, I used Sprite, and thought it turned out way too sweet, especially since I chose to use green apple vodka. So I quickly tried again with club soda and thought it turned out just right.
The most challenging ingredient substitute was the triple sec. In one version I made, I kept the triple sec, and while it wasn’t bad, it still had too much of a citrus taste. While scouring the liquor store shelves for something to swap out with triple sec, I came upon Dr. McGillicuddy’s Apple Pie Liqueur. Personally, I thought this worked best to replace the triple sec. But if you want, you could also ignore this step altogether, and just make the drink with green apple vodka, club soda, and apple cider. Do this especially if you want your drink on the less sweeter side. Another triple sec replacement that I found worked well was butterscotch liqueur, especially if you like the apple pie taste.
After several trials, I finally landed on the perfect recipe:
1 – 2 oz of green apple vodka
3 ounces of club soda
1 oz apple cider
1 ounce of Dr. McGillicuddy’s Apple Pie Liqueur (optional)
Apple slices for garnish
Fill your shaker with ice, then add in your vodka, club soda, apple cider and Dr. McGillicuddy’s Apple Pie Liqueur (if you choose) and mix together before pouring into a glass full of ice. Garnish with some fresh apple slices. You can also dip your glass in caramel first for a sweet rim.