How to Spike Martinelli’s Sparkling Apple Cider at Your Wholesome Family Gathering

Nothing says Happy New Year like a plastic flute filled with the sweet bubbles of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider… when you’re 8 years old, in the basement of Grandma’s House watching Home Alone on an itchy tweed couch, trying not to fall asleep at 11:55 even though you’re cool, you’re cool, you can stay up ALL NIGHT. Have you tasted real Champagne? It’s so good people drink it for breakfast and invented a whole meal around it called “brunch”! But then, decades later, you’re at a dry wedding in, say, Waco, Texas, and you taste that tart, sugary apple-icious Martinelli’s again and realize, wait a second, this is delicious. It just needs a splash of vodka.

Martinelli’s isn’t only for kids, it’s for adults who “can’t seem to have fun without having a drink” (I’m just predicting judge-y Facebook comments here). That’s me!! Especially around my beautiful, beloved family. But a splash of vodka is slightly desperate, a little lazy. Why not treat this special occasion—the end of a weird, weird year—with some inventive Martinelli’s cocktails? I asked cocktail genius Carlie Steiner, co-owner of Himitsu in Washington D.C. (go there! It was one of our Top 50 restaurants this year) for some professional help and boy, did she have it. Steiner laid out a whole day’s game plan for spiking your sparkling Martinelli’s hour-by-happy-hour. So I’ll let her take it from here. Cheers!

4:00 p.m.

Your extremely extended family has just arrived and, unbeknownst to them, you’re two glasses of wine in (for obvious reasons). Time for chill vibes. Let’s keep it light and add a little low-proof, high-flavor spirit known as amontillado sherry to our Martinelli’s. With sherry’s notes of dried fruits and toasted almonds, it’s a perfect match for the golden apple.

2 oz Tio Pepe Amontillado Sherry
4 oz Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider

Martinellis and Rye 1.jpg

Photo by Alex Lau

6:00 p.m.

Your mom is wasted on La Croix + vodka and talking about your first training bra. Your grandpa has removed his dentures and your grandma is asking you to teach her how to make a bitmoji. It’s time to kick it up a notch so you don’t cry. Grab a bottle of your fave rye; I’m a big fan of Rittenhouse for its yumminess and affordability!! Add an ounce (or two if you’re cool) to a glass of crushed ice and cider. The peppery spirit will put a pep in your step and you’ll be ready for a little foxtrot on the dance floor.

2 oz Rittenhouse Rye
4 oz Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider

8:00 p.m.

Now…it’s time to enjoy a nice cocktail. Pick up a bottle of Rujero Singani. It should be a staple in your home anyway. This un-aged Bolivian brandy is super versatile, and the floral notes will mesh perfectly into the soft perlage of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider. If you have a little fresh fruit from that ambrosia salad your aunt makes every year, now is the time to use it! Muddle a bit in the bottom of a glass, top with the Singani and some fresh ice, and finish with a squeeze of lime and a splash of Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider.

1 piece fresh fruit
¼ lime
2 oz Rujero Singani
4 oz Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider

10:00 p.m.

Time for a bath. Pour yourself a glass of red wine, grab a tub of Cool Whip, and use the cider to nourish your split ends. The fermented apples will cleanse your scalp and leave you smelling sweet and ready for a nighttime spooning sesh with the body pillow in your childhood bedroom. The Cool Whip isn’t for your hair. It’s for a bath snack.

10:00 a.m. (the following morning)

Awaken your senses with a modified mimosa. A few ounces of orange juice, Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, and a splash of Cava will do the trick. If you’re feeling frisky, add a bit of your favorite white spirit instead of Cava, again I recommend Singani, but gin or vodka will do as well!

½ ounce Rujero Singani
2 oz orange juice
2 oz Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider
2 oz Cava sparkling wine

Don’t forget to eat:

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