Have You Tried Different Cider Varieties?

Posted by Brette in Have You Tried?

ciderThere has been a boom in fermented (hard) cider in the food world the past few years. A smaller trend, which I see as about to explode, is the emergence of apple cider varieties.

When I was a child, we used to drive north to Niagara County to buy cider at real cider mills one Saturday every fall. They always had free samples and you could watch the cider press running. It always smelled so wonderful there and the smell combined with the colorful leaves on the drive to create a full experience. It was always a happy day. One year my father made cider himself in the basement with an old manual cider press he got somewhere. What I remember the most about that was the apple mush that was the byproduct – like uncooked applesauce. I thought it was yummy.

Now we buy cider at the grocery store and although the first glass of it signals fall to me and a mug of mulled cider in December is a sign of the holidays, it is mostly unremarkable.

Last fall we took a trip to the Adirondacks and a restaurant we were at was serving a specific variety of apple cider, just as when you go to the store you buy a specific type of apple. It got me thinking about how the cider available at the store is just a blend of many kinds of apples, yet each apple does have a distinctive taste and how interesting it would be to sample different types. Last fall I looked all over locally to try to find anyone who was doing this and struck out. But this year in my own grocery store I happened upon two different varieties.

Fowler Farms is a local farm. They make a cider blend as well as the Sweet Tango and Honeycrisp varieties shown here. They also make a Fuji cider variety I have yet to find in my store. The ciders are as different as the apples they are made from and I am enjoying sampling and comparing them. It takes cider to an entirely new level to notice these flavor nuances. As the daughter of an oenophile I guess it is to be expected! Have you found any cider varieties in your area? I would be interested to know if this trend is expanding beyond New York state.

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