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Hard Cider Gift Basket | CiderScene

For cider lovers, there is no better present for any occasion that a hard cider gift basket. Often, these baskets have hard cider, meat snacks, cheeses, and other apple-based products. The most difficult part of actually getting some this type of gift is finding the right option. We have compiled the top ten best hard cider gift baskets for cider fans on the market today.

hard cider gift basket

New York State is on the map for growing more apple varieties and now producing world-class hard ciders. Packed into this picnic hamper is a curated selection of NYS ciders and complimentary snacks.

This gift highlights a generous selection of the best ciders from our state, from Cooperstown (Ommegang), Orange County (Doc’s), the Hudson Valley (Graft) and the Hamptons (Wolffer.) with other fruits, to variants on rosé, the ultimate in summer sips.

We’ve also included salty snacks from small producers including Bazzini pistachios, Martin’s pretzels and Brooklyn Brittle savory shortbread and packed it all in a vintage-inspired wood picnic basket. Cheers to your cold, bubbly armchair tour of New York.

Price: $99
Notes: This box offers a nice variety of cider options for fans of dry and sweet ciders.

The Cider Gold Gift Box contains a bottle of Lake Chelan Winery’s famous Hard Apple Cider. You can choose sparkling cider, which has a little fizz, or regular cider, which does not. Pair either cider with Dan the Sausageman Summer Sausage and our popular Walla Walla Sweet Mustard and you’ve got the makings of a picnic to remember!

Make your gift even more special by adding The Growler cutting board! Just select it as an option on the right, and we’ll include it in the Cider Gold Gift Box.

Price: $60
Notes: Not readily available all the time, but they have a phone number to call to order!


Equipped with a four-pack of Citizen’s hard cider and the ideal snacks to pair, you are sure to please all of your cider-loving friends and family. Bring this crate along for a picnic in the park, or open up as an après ski treat, it is perfect for an afternoon spent sipping and snacking!

Price: $94
Notes: They offer vegetarian and gluten-free options for those in need!


Country goodness meets orchard freshness in this bountiful basket filled with seasonal sweets, refreshing sips and savory treats! This wonderful wooden apple cider crate makes a great decorative addition to their fall and holiday decor. This gift is stunning!

Truly a gift they will remember for a long time to come, this adorable apple themed gift basket is loaded with apple themed gourmet goodies and paired with nuts and cheeses that compliment each other surprisingly well. Flavor like this carefully arranged into a country style wooden box makes a beautiful presentation for any occasion.

Price: varies, but around $100
Notes: Not sure there will always be a ton of inventory, but it is a good option for apple lovers of all sorts.


Time to taste! A little local hard apple cider along with cider themed treats. Includes a tasting journal so they can keep track of their favorite Oregon made ciders. Includes:

  • 3-2 Towns Ciderhouse Cider Cans in a combo of available varieties like Pineapple, Marionberry or other seasonal.
  • Cranberry Sweets Hard Apple Cider Fruit de’ Pate’ candies. (Coos Bay)
  • 33 Mugs of Cider Tasting Journal (Portland)
  • Sister’s Fruit NW Fruit Mix of dried cherries, blueberries, apples, strawberries and cranberries (Cornelius)
  • Oregon Berries Fruit de’ Pate’ Blackberry and Raspberry Candies (Coos Bay)

Price: $56
Notes: A great way to taste the region and get a taste of the PNW if you can’t make it out often. They offer a premium version, too!


Organic USDA certified juicy ripe pears, fresh and crisp red apples and sweet oranges arrive in this handmade basket. Organic sparkling apple cider, chocolate caramel truffles, roasted salted cashews, roasted salted almonds, creamy jack cheese spread and multigrain crackers are packed into this basket.

Price: $136
Notes: Contains Sonoma sparkling cider, so, again, good for the pregnant women and those not looking for a hard beverage.


24″ tall and impressive! Our Bouquet of Beer comes with 6 Angry Orchard Rose Ciders and plenty of snacks to enjoy. We’ll finish this gift with a gorgeous bow along with your message on a greeting card. Printed ribbon is available for an additional fee.

Price: $119
Notes: This is one of the cutest presentations of all the gift baskets we found online!


Refreshing and delicious Sheffield Sparkling Cherry Apple Cider, produced in Washington’s Columbia Basin from the third generation Sheffield family’s apple orchards pairs perfectly with Pacific Northwest Smoked Salmon, Brie Cheese Spread, Elki Crackers, Gourmet Almonds, Chocolate Truffles, White Chocolate Dipped Pretzels and Brown & Haley’s Almond Roca, arranged in an elegant red metal tin. Festive and delicious!

Price: $74.95
Notes: This is a non-alcoholic cider, so it is perfect for those that do not drink and pregnant women! We did include this cider is our sparkling cider article.


This box has an assortment of North Country Hard Cider, cheese, crackers, parmesan crisps, and apples. If you know a hard cider lover you know there’s only one way to get to their heart: through their stomach. So we’ve collected some of their favorite snacks and brought them together with three different North Country Hard cider flavors in this Hard Cider Care Package!

Price: $89.99
Notes: Irresistible New England themed treats tastefully paired with the flavors of the three hard ciders.


Good4You presents the Green Apple Cider Garden Gift Basket, a gift that is all about the green! We love the color green and we want you to as well, which is why we packed some of our favorite green items into this basket, such as juicy green apples with sweet cinnamon sticks, and delicious Somersby Apple Ciders.

Price: $49.99
Notes: Upgradeable to include other elements in the basket


Have other hard cider gift baskets we didn’t add to our list? Send us an email at [email protected] Cheers!

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Cider

Hard Cider Myths Debunked | CiderScene

Hard Cider Myths

As popular as hard cider has become, establishing itself as a mainstream alternative to beer on menus and in stores, a lot of people still have misconceptions about it. These can be about everything from the state of the market to the effects of the drink. In this piece, we’ll look at some of the most common hard cider myths –– and debunk them so that everyone can enjoy cider that much more!

Cider Myth #1: Hard Cider is New

We’re sorry to tell you this, but it’s been around for longer than you might think. In fact, beloved brand Woodchuck–which has been at the heart of hard cider’s explosion in popularity in the US–has been around for 30 years! It’s just that it’s newly trendy in the last 10 or 12, leading many to feel that they’ve discovered something new. It’s okay everyone –– you’re just hopping abroad a great bandwagon! If you want to delve into the full history of hard cider, we have a piece on that, too.

Cider Myth #2: Hard Cider is Sweet

It isnt, for the most part. First of all, it’s nothing like the classic apple cider you get from the supermarket or your favorite pumpkin patch farm during the fall. While it’s true that ciders are fruit-based, they’re about as sweet as wine — which means there are sweet options along with bitter, sour options, and none of them are going to naturally reach dessert-level sweetness. That pretty much only happens when you seek out the flavored kinds. It also depends on the person. Two people can drink the very same cider and perceive it in two different ways, and those who decide it’s sweet will probably enjoy it more.

Cider Myth #3: Hard Cider Gives You Reflux

There are some who under the impression that drinking a are heavily carbonated alcoholic beverage causes acid reflux. The truth of the matter though is that causes of this are typically not so simple. Some of the actual identified causes include things like being overweight, smoking tobacco products, and drinking too much caffeine and/or alcohol, according to a guide to acid reflux by SymptomFind. Now, there is a possibility that if you’re already susceptible due to one of these underlying causes — or you’re drinking a lot — cider can be a trigger due to its acidity. But in these cases, cider is irritating your reflux more than causing it.

Cider Myth #4: Hard Cider Is A “Girly” Drink

We’ve written on article on if hard cider is a girly drink before. While it’s true that alcohol companies have started to market more products towards women, according to “Girly Drinks” by Mallory O’Meara, hard cider hasn’t been particularly over-marketed to any gender. Hard cider labeling tends to be completely neutral and doesn’t aim to persuade a certain group of people. Instead, it’s enjoyed by everyone who has tried and enjoyed cider. As with most alcoholic drinks, everyone has their own preference and tastes. Plus, the idea of ​​a “girly” drink is silly to begin with!

Cider Myth #5: All Hard Ciders Taste the Same

Hard ciders are traditionally made with apples, but even the type of apple can vary from brand to brand. Most hard cider companies have more than one variety of cider, and some of them aren’t even made from apples; look to Paste Magazine’s extensive ranking of some of the best ciders out there and you’ll see flavors like pear, honey, peach, raspberry, and more. The truth of the matter is that many fruits can be used to make cider as long as they’re fermented properly. This just means that you’ll have to try different brands and types of cider in order to find your favorite! We created a list of odd and unusual hard cider flavors for you to find some wacky ciders!

As hard cider becomes more popular, more brands and varieties continue to hit the market. Keep these debunked hard cider myths in mind as you go hunting for your favorite cider, and enjoy! Find hard cider near you and start drinking cider!

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Cider

Ontario Orchards’ Traditional Hard Cider

Good morning, cider friends! Back to school is the main topic in my world these days, and that calls for a cider. I don’t even have any kids, so my heart goes out to all the parents dealing with back-to-school in a pandemic (again). It’s still a challenge as a university employee with a faculty spouse at another nearby college. We take breaks from meetings and emails, even this time of year, and cider can play a starring role in after-work treats. I’m happy to be reviewing a totally unexpected cider shared with me by dear friends. Thank you!

Today, I’m sharing my thoughts on Ontario Orchards’ Traditional Hard Cider. This is my first review of any thing by Ontario Orchards. This cidery is based in Oswego, New York.

Visit them online here: https://ontarioorchards.com/

There’s not a ton of info about the cider, but I found this much, “A traditional hard cider made from our own apples and bottled for us by local winery, Bella Fattoria!” 8.2% ABV.

I wish I knew what apples go into this!

I noticed the ABV when my friends showed me the bottle. Many hard ciders end up with an ABV of 6.9% or lower, so I was curious about what made this cider end up just a notch higher. It could be any number of things, but often they correlate to a particularly tasty beverage. It’s not that ABV inherently tastes any particular way, but ripe apples often have more sugar content. Sugar is what is transformed into alcohol by yeast. Please forgive all of this total oversimplification, friends, but it’s one reason to look at ABVs.

Appearance: transparent, pale straw, no visible bubbles

This cider looks elegant and restrained. The Traditional Hard cider is transparent with a mild hue that looks like palest straw stems. I don’t see any bubbles, but that doesn’t mean its not sparkly.

Aromas: minerals, overripe apples, baking spices

Ontario Orchard’s cider smells of clean minerals and overripe apples. I’m reminded of sun-warmed apples sitting on a limestone fence. When I sniff again, I notice baking spice notes. Nothing is overwhelming, but these aromas are enough to whet my curiosity.

Dryness/sweetness: semi-dry

This is a pleasingly semi-dry cider. It’s not austere, but neither is it bursting juicy. The flavors come from fermentation as well as the fresh juice.

Flavors and drinking experience: bubbly, mellow, balanced,

The Traditional Hard Cider by Ontario Orchards certainly brings all the fun of good strong bubbles even though I couldn’t see any bubbles in the poured glass. This cider comes across as mellow and beautifully balanced. We all enjoyed it so much. I was shocked that I’d never heard anyone singing its praises before now. Oswego isn’t that far away.

Something in this cider reminds me of the very few Quebecois ciders I’ve tried that use heat to concentrate the apple flavors. They are called fire ciders but they aren’t to be confused with the vinegar-based cold remedy that goes by the same name. It’s an intriguing set of flavors.

We had the cider with savory shortbread biscuits, and this simple pairing was a perfect way to unwind after lots of busy brain time. I’ll highly recommend it to any one who has the chance to try it, and when I’m near Oswego, I’ll have to check out Ontario Orchards!


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Presque Isle Farm’s Farmhouse Hard Cider 2020

I’ve not seen a bat in my house for more than a week now! And the summer’s heat has been (at least temporarily) replaced by cool mornings, golden evenings, and the freshest breezes I can remember. I’m so grateful. My weekend celebrations involved orchard time and so much fresh produce. And I love bringing out an exciting new cider to pair with my favorite recipes. That’s how I decided to open my bottle of Presque Isle Farm’s Farmhouse Hard Cider 2020.

This is how the folks at Presque Isle Farm describe the project and its goals.

Presque Isle Farm is a small centennial farm in northern Michigan. Our mission is to grow nourishing food, a healthy community, a vibrant local economy, and an ecologically flourishing environment. As the local and sustainable food movement grows nationally, we are working to bring that momentum to northern Michigan and build a foundation for health in our community and the world.

You can learn more about Presque Isle Farms online here: http://www.presqueislefarm.com/

This cider was shared with me at GLINTCAP by the cidermaker, after learning of its fantastic gold-medal performance in the competition. Many thanks! This is my first review of anything by Presque Isle Farm.

Here’s the cider’s official description.

6.9% ABV

Apples: 46% Kingston Black, 20% Northern Spy, 10% Bulmer’s Norman, 8% Brown Snout, 7% Idared, 6% Wild, 3% Rome

Tasting Notes: earthy, apple skin, over-ripe apple, dried fruit

The Farmhouse cider is our table cider blend. It is an everyday cider to drink with foods ranging from steak to seafood, to salads and greens. It contains about 20% bittersweet varieties of apples and 50% bittersharps which give it complexity, body, mellow tannins, and a small amount of perceived sweetness. The other 30% includes apples that add a balanced acidity bringing a crisp and refreshing finish. It tastes and smells of apple orchards.

And now for my experience with Presque Isle’s Farmhouse 2020!

Appearance: transparent, mellow straw hue, few visible bubbles

The color of this cider reminds me of late summer dried grasses; it’s a mellow shade of straw. I’ll call the Farmhouse 2020 transparent. I can see a few stray bubbles in the glass but not many.

Aromas: overripe apples, dried orange, leather

The Farmhouse 2020 smells absolutely mouthwatering to me. I’m awash in notes of leather, overripe apples, and dried orange. The cider just wafts up to my face and offers me many of my favorite cider aromas and creates a strong salivary reaction.

Sweetness/dryness: Dry

I love a dry cider. This cider brings flavor and dimension while remaining dry in a very satisfying way!

Flavors and drinking experience: overripe apples, fried lemon, caramel, tannic

The Farmhouse Cider 2020 evokes many of the same flavor notes in its flavors that I noticed in its aromas. This cider blooms with overripe apple, dried orange, and leather flavors. Additional dimensions like candied orange peel and fried lemon arrive just on the palate. The cider bursts with high tannins and high acidity.

Everyone at the table was oohing and ahhing over this dry, perfectly balanced cider. The Farmhouse 2020 arrives with heft, and structure, lifted up by tiny active bubbles. Though it’s dry, somehow subtle flavors remind me of caramel and nuts; I suspect this comes from the partial barrel aging in the blend.

I love this cider’s creamy full body, luscious fermented flavors, and balanced excitement. It was served with tomato pie, corn on the cob and a pepper cucumber salad. The pairings were seasonal and lovely.

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Cider

Urban Tree Hard Cidery’s Orange U an IPA?

Hello cider fans, are you appreciating the signs of Fall all around (in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway)? I know that I’m loving each brightly-colored leaf, Goldenrod, and Aster. The sculpted white clouds look crisper in the blue porcelain sky today. Clouds and rain are coming, but I’m basking in the golden moments while they’re here.

And I chose a cider that reminds of this early fall moment with many lingering summer accoutrements: Urban Tree Hard Cidery’s Orange U an IPA. My thinking was that the hops would recall Summer but that the coriander and apple would bring it into Fall. Let’s see how that works out.

Urban Tree Cidery is based out of Atlanta, Georgia where you can find the ciders as well as the tasting room and patios. It sounds like a fun dog-friendly spot that not only sells ciders made on the premises but partners with local craft beer and cocktails as well.

I’ve reviewed two Urban Tree ciders before. You’ll find links to both below.

Sweet Heat Haze: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/05/cider-review-urban-tree-ciderys-sweet.html

Harvest Apple: https://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/03/cider-review-urban-tree-hard-cider.html

You can visit Urban Tree Cidery online here: https://www.urbantreecidery.com/

Here’s how the cidery describes this cider. “Fermented with sweet orange peel, coriander and citrus hops; This cider will make you question if you’re drinking a cider or an IPA. 6.5% ABV.” I did see elsewhere on the webpage for the cider that it’s hops are Citra hops, and it has a listed IBU of 95. I have never seen an IBU on a cider before, so I don’t know how to interpret that number. Feel free to let me know in the comments!

Now for my tasting notes on Orange U an IPA?

Appearance: Orange, cloudy, deep color, disappearing mousse

Urban Tree Cidery’s cider pours with a bit of foam that doesn’t stick around. The color is a deep autumnal orange with some tones of bronze. It’s fully cloudy. I could not see through it.

Aromas: grapefruit, hops, lemon zest, peach, overripe apple

Orange U an IPA? Smels of hops, orange flesh, zesty lemon and minerals. I also get notes of soft ripe peaches and overripe apples. This smells like it will be remarkably flavorful!

Sweetness/Dryness: Sweet

This cider is fun and sweet! It tastes of creamy sugar both in the immediate sugar cane note and also in the fresh orange notes.

Flavors and drinking experience: creamsicle, mimosa, high acid, full body, fun

Orange U an IPA? by Urban Tree Cidery tastes like a hoppy mimosa. I am so into this! The cider feels deliciously thick and tastes sweet and creamy with prominent notes of orange and apple. It’s also grapefruity but in a creamsicle way. Orange U an IPA has no tannins but high acid.

The body is heavy, wet, juicy and ripe. This is an emphatic treat with perfect late summer flavors. The coriander isn’t powerful, but it comes through in one gentle spice note in the mix.

I love the cider’s medium bubble; it’s enough to lift the fullness of flavors but not enough to feel sharp. This cider brings the fun! I do find it much more pleasurable from the glass than a can, but that’s usually how I feel.

I had mine with spicy popcorn and the first episode of What We Do in the Shadows! I recommend that pairing whole heartedly!

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Cider

Woodinville Ciderworks’ Red Flesh Hard Apple Cider

This past weekend was a shining example of how gorgeous Fall can be. I hiked and gardened and didn’t forget to include cider and apples in my enjoyment either. Making apple macaroni and cheese from scratch with cider, and pairing it with cider has to be one of my favorite Autumnal treats.

To celebrate, I reached into my store of ciders from the NW Cide Club. I get the Discover shipment four times a year, and I love it. Getting to try ciders that would otherwise never become available to me is crucial to understanding the breadth of flavors happening in cider right now!

Check it out here: https://nwciderclub.com/

My curiosity was drawn to Woodinville Ciderworks’s Red Flesh Hard Apple Cider this week.

I couldn’t find out a lot about this company aside from the location: Woodinville, Washington. The ciderworks is just gearing up, so there’s not yet a full website, and this is an early release.

I found the most up-to-date information on Woodinville Ciderworks on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/woodinvilleciderworks

I don’t have a full description of Woodinville Ciderworks’ Red Flesh Hard Apple Cider, so I’ll be informed only by what I see, smell and taste.

Appearance: coral, brilliant, bubbly

The Red Flesh Cider pours with wonderful effervescence. Even after a few moments, a hint of mousse remains, as the picture shows. I’ll call the color pastel coral; it’s almost more a shade of peach rather than pink. The cider is totally brilliant as well.

Aromas: malic acid, woody, ripe apple, apple skin

This cider smells astonishingly like malic acid! I can definitely expect something tart here. The scent reminds me of apple skins and seeds; it’s both fresh and woody. All of the apple notes do smell mouthwateringly ripe.

Dryness/sweetness: semi-dry, but difficult to determine

Puckeringly tart acid and strong bubbles

I found it hard to tell how sweet it is! You’ll see why as you keep reading. My best guess would be a semi-dry.

Flavors and drinking experience: tart, tannic, fruity, crabapples

This cider tastes tannic like crabapples with that special juicy concentrated astringence that stay completely melded with it’s fruitiness. I find this to be a very different tannic profile than what I get from ciders made with European traditional cider varietals. This is tannic and sharp and fruity rather than austere and structured. I’m interpreting here, but that has been my experience.

One out of our three tasters found it too much in terms of acidity but two of us loved it. I loved the tart Blueberry notes. The cider has a quick clean finish. I found that the tannins build as you sip. The Red Flesh Hard Apple Cider goes beautifully with cheese like aged Manchego. I paired it with my apple mac and cheese and I even used a splash or two when creating my cheese sauce. It was wonderful as an ingredient and as a pairing. What a treat!

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Cider

Cidermaking Q&A: Banter’s Hard Cider | CiderScene

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To complete our series on Banter Cider, we sat down with Steve Brancato – the man behind the curtain. We talked flavors, cidermaking processes, and interesting behind-the-scenes cider stories.

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How do you think up your cider flavors?

I find inspiration almost everywhere. We do a pineapple/passion fruit that was inspired by a tea that I had at Panera one afternoon. Swamp Frog (limeade) comes from one of my kids’ favorite drinks. It can also come from another cider that I’ve tasted and thought “hmm, I would do it this way if I were to make such and such a cider.”

How do you conceptualize your designs and descriptions?

I just like to have fun with the descriptions. A lot of my employees give me shit about my excessive use of CAPS on the label but I want our consumers’ eyes drawn to certain keywords so I do my best in forcing them to stand out. As far as the label designs go, it’s really just a two-part process. Typically, I’ll come up with some off-the-wall idea then hand it off to our artist, Earl Kess to bring it to life.

The ideas can be anywhere from lighthearted and fun (Sun Thunder) to dark and somewhat angry (New Normal). I really give Earl most of the credit when it comes to our labels. He truly understands who we are as a company and as a brand. We kinda think of ourselves as the un-cider. Where a lot of cider brands are projecting images of elegance and/or earthiness on their labels, we prefer dark, gloomy and the occasional dash of disturbing.

What is your favorite cider that you make and why?

Overcast is and probably always will be my favorite cider. Even though it’s the first one I’ve ever made and has been around since our inception, the recipe is still evolving. After five years, I just changed the yeast strain we use for Overcast on our latest batch. This alteration created a noticeable change to the cider’s profile…but for the better, in my opinion. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive as well!

How do you think experimenting with a variety of ciders influences your business?

Experimentation and diversity have been key for us. It was a little tricky to figure out during the first year or two what exactly our customers liked, what sold, what didn’t, etc. but I feel we’ve got a good handle on it now. We’ve got our staples that you can find there year round. Then we have our seasonals which you can only find at certain times. Finally, we have our limited releases which are usually just a one and done type deal. I think customers enjoy that they can come in at any time and grab something they’re comfortable with, for example, a pint of Bone and also try something that they may have never had before.

Do you think flavor diversity is key to gaining new customers and retaining them?

This is a topic that can probably be applied to many industries. No matter what you’re offering, you’ve got to keep things fresh and exciting. Even McDonald’s releases new shit once in a while! Haha! People grow tired of the same old, same old. A lot of consumers, especially craft cider/beer consumers are adventurous. They want to try something they’ve never had before. They want to be the first of their friends to get their hands on something. We do our best to satisfy this need.

Do you have any cool cider stories when in the cider-making process?

When I first started making cider on the commercial level, I would drive to the orchard and have them fill up my three 55 gallon drums. These are NOT ideal vessels for transporting cider! Anyway, after we had pumped the contents of the drums into a fermenter, I loaded the empty drums back on my truck and tethered them together with a ratchet strap so they wouldn’t bounce around so much in transit. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to strap them down to the bed of my truck. On my way home, I was probably going a little faster than I should have. Some wind got underneath the barrels and had lifted them completely out of my truck and onto the highway.

The barrels landed upside-down, on their lid which was held on by a metal ring clamp. It was dark at the time so I actually didn’t know I had lost the barrels until I heard a thump and saw the sparks from the clamps shooting across the highway in my rearview mirror. Fortunately, no one was too close behind me and the barrels had slid all the way to the shoulder of the road. I was able to get off at the next exit to turn around and safely retrieve them back onto my truck. I ended up having to replace one of the valves…but it could have been A LOT worse! Adventures in cidermaking!

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Cider

Original Sin Hard Cider: Successfully Misbehaving for the Past 25 Years

By Ana Soltero | Reporting by CiderScene

“Have you sinned today?” If you’ve had a sip of Original Sin hard cider in the past 25 years, you very well may have.

This year, New York’s Original Sin cidery celebrates their 25-year anniversary since their establishment in 1996. While founder Gidon Coll calls the past quarter-century an amazing journey, there’s no doubt the voyage started off a little rocky.

“Back then, what perception there was of cider was often negative,” Coll said. “Finding a distributor willing to carry a cider from a small new producer was a major challenge.”

Before jumping into the recent history of Original Sin, let’s discuss a little bit of the old days of cider.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, hard cider held a higher social status than beer in America — up until the mid-1850s, that is. Somewhere along the way (we’re looking at you, Prohibition), the drink’s following dropped.

During the 20th century, interest and knowledge surrounding the cider scene was in the pits. Its watershed moment didn’t come until 2011, when the United States National Cider Association came along and after the first CiderCon meeting — which Coll attended.

“That meeting consisted of 40 or so individuals, from a variety of backgrounds who came together with a singular mission to grow our industry,” Coll said. “From that moment on, the US cider industry has had a sense of structure and community.”

Stop the tape and rewind. As aforementioned, Original Sin was established in 1996. Coll recalls that the first few years of Original Sin were tough. He hauled cases of cider onto New York City subways and to Manhattan and Brooklyn establishments.

However, Coll said he still held a sense of optimism regarding the future of Original Sin for two reasons:

“One, people who had never tried hard cider before generally liked it and many were surprised and intrigued to hear about the rich traditions of the drink,” Coll said. “And two, OS has always had an amazingly loyal following.”

Soon, Coll experienced a feeling of euphoria when the first set of East Village bars agreed to stock his cider, and shortly after, when he first witnessed customers ordering Original Sin by name.

Twenty-five years later, Original Sin has received salutes from the likes of Market Watch, The New York Times, New York Post and Paper Magazine.

So, what can other sideries that want to reach a 25-year milestone do? When it comes to developing a following for your cider, Coll said he’d recommend engaging with end-consumers as much as possible.

“Direct contact with cider drinkers will enable you to communicate the attributes of your product offerings and give you invaluable first-hand market feedback,” Coll said.

According to the cidery’s about pageduring Original Sin’s early days, Coll “collected feedback from everyone he knew, adjusting and tinkering with his cider until it was clean, crisp and practically perfect.”

This sort of communication between cidermaker and cider drinkers has allowed the cidery to continue to produce a variety of hard ciders, from fruity picks to straight-up apple and drier cider offerings.

The people Coll has met along the way (and the cider, of course) have helped Original Sin along its journey.

“It is hard to put in words the level of gratitude I feel to all the consumers, bartenders, and bar and restaurant owners and managers who have gone out of their way to support OS through the years,” Coll said. “We have also been incredibly fortunate to have an amazing supportive network of distributor partners.”

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Wyndridge Cider Co.’s Gingerbread Hard Cider

Start the new year the way you intend to go about it, this has always been my favorite piece of folk wisdom for changing the calendar year. This is how I chose apple juice for this week. I’m so excited to review cider from companies I’ve never tried before. Of course, I want to keep tasting and writing about my favorite things, but I really want to try new things and learn new favourites. During the holiday break, I took myself a night to do whatever I wanted by myself. I picked and cooked dinner, picked myself a smoothie, and enjoyed a vacation tee of amenities on my sofa.

Also, if you missed my rough roundup of favorite ciders from 2021, you can check them out below:

Spots 6-10: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/12/5-of-my-favorite-10-ciders-of-2021.html

Top 5: http://alongcameacider.blogspot.com/2021/12/my-favorite-5-ciders-of-2021.html

I chose Windridge Cedar ginger juice to accompany Single All the Way after a dinner of savory French toast (using homemade sourdough) with paprika and chevre. I like that you treat me properly.

Although this is Windridge’s first appearance on the blog, I’ve had the pleasure of tasting a few ciders when judging cider over the past few years. The company has been around since 2014 and comes to us from Dallastown, Pennsylvania. On the website, I found a list of orchards from which to buy Windridge; I love that. Cider depends on the orchards, and places that show love and appreciation for the sources of their fruits make me happy.

You can visit The Windsridge Cider Company online here for all the ciders: https://wyndridge.com/craft-beverages/ciders

Windridge Cider Co describes gingerbread as, “Fresh squeezed ginger root fermented with PA apples, Belgian molasses, and gingerbread seasoning, this is the warmest winter cider. Cheers!” ABV 6%. This is a seasonal release available in November and December, but I’ll be looking into it for a little longer, just in case.

Appearance: orange harvest, transparent, no visible bubbles.

I love the intensity of this color. It reminds me of spice in its form from the first moment. I don’t see any bubbles, and it looks transparent and not hazy or glossy.

Flavors: apple juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and lots of ginger

Gingerbread smells very spicy. I’m excited to eat applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lots of ginger.

Sweetness / Dryness: semi-sweet

Windridge Cedar gingerbread comes out as semi-sweet. It’s a nice, balanced drink, and I enjoyed it as an after-dinner drink.

Experiment with flavors and drink: molasses, medium acidity, ginger, ripe apple, hints of citrus

What a beautiful apple cider. I wish I had more than one to spread out during these cold, gloomy months ahead. Gingerbread has less acid than expected, but it is still an average level of acidity. Molasses are a clear and cheerful presence. The three dominant flavors are ginger, apple and molasses with some hints of citrus in the mix.

It was great with light desserts for the movie I chose. Sometimes I just need fun and delicious things, and this was perfect. Perhaps these nights should become a regular occurrence.

Categories
Cider

Dutton Cider Co.’s Carbonated Hard Apple Cider

Today, I’m writing as I watch my cat Thistle wash her paw in the bright winter sunlight. It’s not warm, but I’m so happy to see the sun, even if I appreciate it from indoors. Many of my cider friends are traveling to (or already at) Virginia for CiderCon right now. I hope they’ll have safe trips and wonderful times at the conference; the program certainly looks amazing!

If you want to read more about this sold-out event, check out the American Cider Association’s website: https://ciderassociation.org/cidercon2022/

Just because I’m staying home this year, doesn’t mean I’m not still thinking about and loving cider. I’m trying another new-to-me cidery this week: Dutton Cider Co.. I’m pairing a Dutton Cider Co.’s Carbonated Hard Apple Cider with Penzey’s Smoky 4S and the start of Home Fires Season 2. I may not be having the most exciting winter on record, but I’ve got cozy all figured out. My thanks to Dutton Cider Co for sending me samples for review.

Here’s what I was able to find out about Sonoma County’s Dutton Cider.

THE MAKERS Dutton Ranch farms 200 acres of CCOF certified organic apples in addition to 1200 acres of vineyards in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Joe and Tracy Dutton founded Dutton Estate Winery in 1995 and grew up farming apples alongside vineyards. Their combined multi-generational family history inspires the crafting of hard apple cider.

You can learn more about Dutton Estates from the website: https://www.duttonestate.com/

Here’s a bit more information from the cidery about the apples and cider making.

THE APPLES

The blending of the beloved local heirloom Gravenstein variety with Golden Delicious fashions the perfect cider… fruit-forward, like biting into fresh apples, with a touch of tartness and sweetness.

THE METHOD

Cold pressing, cold settling, cold fermenting, and cold storage ensure that crisp apple flavors are retained and acidity is smooth and bright.

This cider has an ABV of 7.4%

Appearance: brilliant, shining, cool toned gold, tiny bubbles

This is a very pretty cider; It seems a shame to hide it in a can! I poured mine into a rocks glass so I could appreciate its brilliant shine and almost cold-toned gold. I barely know how to describe the color; it’s mature yellow with a memory of green like wheat tips. I can see just a few tiny visible bubbles.

Aromas: golden raisins, overripe apples, minerals

Oh! This cider has some fabulous power in its aromas. The cider smells like overripe apples; the notes are concentrated like golden raisins. I also get a vibrant base of minerals.

Sweetness/Dryness: Sweet

This is a sweet to semi-sweet cider. The sweetness is balanced by both bitterness and acidity, but it’s definitely integral to the cider.

Flavors and drinking experiences: sweet, green apple, bitter, mineral finish

Dutton Cider Co.’s Carbonated Hard Apple Cider starts with a splash of bright magic acid that makes me think of green apples. The minerals are a bit sharp and the acid feels angular in my mouth. The cider isn’t funky, but it’s profile is different from most high acid and sweet ciders. Perhaps it’s that this cider is also tannic and bitter, but I’m not entirely sure yet.

What an interesting cider. I like how Dutton’s Cider has of Maple with a bit of bitterness that fills out the tasting experience. For a sweet cider I was surprised by the minerality of the finish. My co-tasters disagreed about the mouthfeel: hearty vs light. I can understand the divide. Tannic ciders and sweeter ciders can feel full but acidic cider with strong bubbles feel light. This cider is all of those things.

Overall, Dutton’s cider comes across as wonderfully interesting; It’s a clean polished cider that definitely has winemakers’ roots. It makes for a quite nice pairing with popcorn and excellent TV.