Dynamic and distinctly different, cider and beer tend to walk similar lines when it comes to experimentation. As fruit beers and sours have risen into popularity in the last couple years, so too have fruit-infused ciders—often as a result of both beverages looking for ways to get their memorable drinks in the glass of the consumer. Before or after fermentation occurs, juices are added for a variety of reasons—color, flavor, sugar content—ultimately creating additional complexities to the apple juice core.
For Number 12 Cider House in Buffalo, Minnesota, the cider itself been a labor of love for nearly 20 years, and the inaugural release of the Sparkling Dry was bottled on the 12th recipe attempt. For the handful of years the cidery has been a commercial maker, this was their standalone cider until they, too, spiked it with fruit. The Black Currant Dry is the cidery’s second release, a neon pink liquid that pours slightly cloudy and imparts a glowing goblet. Small berry aromas flesh out into jammier scents with earthy notes of apple leaf and skin and fresh-pressed mixed berries. The mouthfeel is broad, with a juicy mid-palate that strips the tongue down to its tart, tangy and bone dry finish. Heading into sunnier seasons, this cider would do wonders in a cocktail that calls for cassis liqueur (although you’d want to add some sweetness like simple syrup or honey if you did substitute), or keep it simple with vodka and a squeeze of lime over rocks.