As Newsday so cleverly coined…”The Cider House Rules.”
Have you noticed all the articles about cider lately? Ciders are trending. Fermented apple juice is the country’s fastest growing alcoholic beverage, up more than 75 percent last year after even bigger jumps in 2012 and 2013. As a matter of fact, in the past three years, its market share has surged more than five-fold.
As illustrated in the chart below (taken from fivethirtyeight.com) the rise of hard ciders is expected to gross revenue in the hundreds of millions.
Although you can drink cider all year round, the fall is definitely the time of year when cider vintners advertise, looking to encourage cider at the Thanksgiving spread, along with sparkling grape juice.
Good artisanal cider is having a renaissance of sorts. Most good wine shops carry at least a small variety, and online choices are impressive. You will also find a good selection in your local supermarket, in the beer isle, usually called “ale.”
Cider is quite affordable, usually $10 or less per bottle, and definitely food-friendly. Fermented ciders can be bubbly or still, sweet, dry or in between. However, remember, it does contain alcohol, usually between 5 to 7.5 percent. If you want non-alcoholic, choose an Apple Cider/Juice, which is usually found in the produce section of your local supermarket.
As is true with wine, hard cider is being produced all over the U.S. You might want to check the web for local orchards in your area that are producing cider. You may be pleasantly surprised.
What is my favorite cider? I’ve tried a few. My personal favorite, this year, is Angry Orchard’s The Muse.
The Muse is a bubbly, effervescent cider, aged in french oak just like traditional wines. Its flavor profile comes from a blend of Braeburn, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Gala, including french varieties such as Amere de Berthecourt, Beden, Medaille d’or, Michelin, and Binet Rouge.
The Muse will appeal to those who don’t necessarily like the taste of alcoholic beverages, but will be intrigued by the hint of fruit and sweetness. It has the bubbles of a sparkling wine. That should titillate as well.
Also consider Doc’s Draft Hard Apple Cider. It too is semi-dry with a fruity forward taste and a nice aroma of fresh cut apples. Guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser.
While you’re exploring, check out the strawberry,raspberry, cherry and pear ciders as well.
These ciders are available year round, subject to availability.