The Stone Fence is one of the earliest entries in the American cocktail annals, going at least as far back as the start of the Revolutionary War. Rum was all the rage during the colonial period, but as whiskey and brandy production improved, they too became accepted substitutions in the Stone Fence.
Older recipes are unclear on the type of cider called for; most modern interpretations call for non-alcoholic pressed apple cider, ideally unfiltered. Some folks swear by hard apple cider instead. We’ve tried it both ways, and while we prefer the richer apple flavor of the pressed version, it’s twice as strong and not half bad with hard cider.
The traditional recipe doesn’t actually call for aromatic bitters (Angostura wasn’t invented until the 1820s), but we think it’s an indispensable addition. Modern rum is smoother than the old stuff, and the bitters add just enough bite to keep the drink from tasting too weak.
Fill a tall glass with ice and build ingredients in the order given.
Garnish with a lemon twist, grated nutmeg, a freshly-slapped sprig of mint, or all of the above.
- Stone Fence at Punch magazine