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Home on the Range: Boiled Cider Cocktail and a Pan Sauce 

Published November 14, 2023 at 1:00 p.m.

click to enlarge Cuffing Season cocktail made with Woods Cider Mill boiled cider - MELISSA PASANEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Melissa Pasanen ©️ Seven Days
  • Cuffing Season cocktail made with Woods Cider Mill boiled cider
Ever since I first tasted the boiled cider and cider jelly made by Woods Cider Mill in Weathersfield, I've been smitten. I'm a sucker for all things tart-sweet, with an emphasis on the tart.

The picturesque, rustic setting where two — and sometimes three — generations of Woods press fresh apples into cider and then reduce that down into syrupy boiled cider and, further, into jelly, only makes me love the products even more.
I'm happy to simply slather the jelly on buttered toast and stir the concentrated boiled cider into seltzer, but I also like to use it when cooking. It goes beautifully with all things fall, from squash to game to Brussels sprouts, and will definitely play a role in the squash stuffed with wild rice, apples, dried cranberries and almonds on my Thanksgiving menu.

Sub a couple tablespoons of boiled cider for molasses in oatmeal-cranberry cookies. Toss sliced apples for pie or a crisp with a little boiled cider to add more apple oomph. Baste roast chicken or pork with some of the jelly and a touch of coarse-grained mustard. Or try these two recipes from Burlington bar co-owner Emily Morton of the 126 and from chef Jason Tostrup, who is currently food service director at Vermont Academy in Saxtons River.

Cuffing Season Cocktail

Yield: 1 cocktail
Adapted from Emily Morton of the 126 in Burlington
Morton said she appreciates the concentration of apple flavor in the boiled cider and chose a white spirit to "let the cider sing."

  • 2 ounces gin, preferably Wild Hart American Dry or Beefeater
  • 3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, strained
  • 3/4 ounce boiled cider
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • Apple slice to garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients except garnish in a shaker over ice.
  2. Shake well, strain into a coupe and serve garnished with an apple slice.

Boiled Cider Pan Sauce

Yield: Serves 4
Adapted from chef Jason Tostrup of Vermont Academy
When Tostrup was chef at the Inn at Weathersfield, he served this sauce over half chickens pan-roasted under a brick. The versatile tart-sweet sauce pairs well with many different proteins: chicken breast cutlets, boneless pork medallions, ham steaks, salmon filets and even tofu.

  • 4 thin-cut portions of protein of your choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Olive oil for sautéing
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 1/3 cup chicken, fish or vegetable stock to match protein
  • 1/4 cup boiled cider
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Pat the protein dry and season well with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Set a heavy-bottomed sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat and add a little olive oil. Brown the pieces of protein well on both sides until almost cooked through. (Timing will depend on your protein.)
  3. Remove the protein to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm.
  4. Set the pan back over medium heat and add a little more oil just to cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Add the minced shallot with a pinch of salt and cook, stirring once or twice, for about 2 to 3 minutes, until softened and golden.
  6. Deglaze the pan with the stock, scraping any browned bits up from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the boiled cider, balsamic vinegar, thyme and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Taste and add salt as desired.
  7. Return the protein and any accumulated juices to the pan and turn to coat with sauce and rewarm. Serve immediately.
Got cooking questions? Email [email protected].

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About The Author

Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen

Melissa Pasanen is a food writer for Seven Days. She is an award-winning cookbook author and journalist who has covered food and agriculture in Vermont for 20 years.


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