Aprés Ski Cocktails : Meet the Press
Punch up your next slope-side affair
By Erica Duecy

After a day skiing at Brettonwoods or snowboarding at Cranmore, in-the-know tipplers head down to White Mountain Cider Co. There, bartender Jeff Grdinich makes pre-Prohibition classics and creates new concoctions in a restored 1880s farmhouse near the town of Bartlett, in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

True to its name, the White Mountain Cider Co. houses a cider mill in addition to its award-winning restaurant and bar, and just-pressed apple cider plays a starring role in several cocktails.  One of the most popular is a preparation that recalls the culture of punch houses of the late 17th century: the Mill Yard Punch, which appeals to après-ski merry makers looking for something a bit more up market than dollar beers at a mountain hut.

“We get a lot of groups that come in after skiing to do a punch bowl,” Grdinich says. “It’s fun to see people gathered around it by the fire.”

The punch features applejack, a hard spirit flavored with apples, along with aged rum and Grand Marnier. The liquor is mellowed by the addition of lemon juice, chamomile tea, and fresh apple cider. “It’s definitely a winter drink, with baking spice notes from the aged rum, and plenty of apple flavor,” Grdinich says.

“The tart lemon and earthy chamomile really balance it out nicely.”
And it’s easy to make, provided you don’t press your own cider.