In the mood for fall? Try sipping one of these hard apple ciders. Watch the video above to hear Astor Center instructor Tess Rose Lampert talk about the best way to enjoy these autumnal treats.
Some of our staff’s favorite ciders this season:
Half-Bottle of Eve’s Cider Essence Iced Cider
If you look up the word “splendiferous” in the dictionary, there’s a chance you’ll see a picture of Eve’s Cider Essence Iced Cider next to it; it’s that good. This cider is made by letting apples hang on the tree to ripen past the usual harvest, well into the winter, until they freeze. After that, the apples are picked and then pressed, releasing a rich, sweet, concentrated nectar that is then partially fermented into an iced cider. It’s so good, it tastes forbidden! -Omari W.
Camut 12 Yr. Calvados
The first stage in producing this Calvados is making a cider. The Camuts do this by utilizing around 25 different varieties of apples. This cider is then aged for 11 months before being distilled into a spirit. During the 12 years of aging, the Calvados is constantly being racked and moved between barrels, which exposes it to oxygen. The Camuts believe this to be an essential part of the essence of their brandy. I decanted around a third of this bottle for an hour before drinking. What a difference this made. The non-decanted spirit was closed and tight, but the decanted pour was open and giving. On the nose: butter, caramel, spiced apple, a touch of baked pear, and a gentle, slightly-oxidative nutty note. The palate expressed sweet green apple, sweet cinnamon, spicy oak, and apple tart. Cheers. -Stephen W.
2013 Isastegi Sagardo Basque Cider
Don’t turn your nose down at this pick merely because it comes from apples instead of grapes. Actually, the ciders of Spain are closer to Belgium’s famed lambics than they are to our fruity American ciders, with yeasty, brioche-laden undertones that remind me of vintage Champagne that has been hiding in someone’s forgotten crawlspace. In short? This is cider for the wine-lover who has no cellar to plunder, this oenophile included. Hailing from an old family estate that was once dedicated to livestock but made a left turn into apple farming 30 years ago, Isategi brings more than pressed fruit to the table. This cider, aged in kupela (or large old oak cider barrels) is pale gold with a light spritz reminiscent of a fine frizzante wine from northern Italy. It’s bright, dry, and full of funk. The Burgundy- and Bordeaux-lover who gravitates toward Brettanomyces-heavy cuvées will find these ciders familiar and stunning and filled with all that barnyard-ness we Old World-ers love to praise. Serve it as I would (and as the locals would, too): cold and often. -Hannah S.