It isn’t always just apples. It starts there, obviously, but sometimes cidermakers go forth and put exotic twists on their libations to tease, tantalize and tickle your taste buds. By combining less popular and strange ingredients with the apple juice, producers are able to create truly one-of-a-kind drinking experiences. As the craft cider industry continues to grow, so do the amount of unique concoctions. From the desert-dwelling cactus to the tropical dragonfruit, no ingredient is left out in these interesting and delicious beverages.
Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider The Passion || Portland, Oregon
Known within the cider community for its “anything goes” attitude, Rev Nat’s Hard Cider is no stranger to making completely unique variations of cider. This rings true with The Passion, a combination of different heirloom cider apples and the juice of the passion fruit together that makes for a tart and sour drinking experience. Rev. Nat’s brands this its “sourest cider yet.” In 2015 the cidery took another take on The Passion recipe, adding in coconut meat and vanilla extract to balance out some of the sour notes.
Atlas Cider Dragonfruit Summer Seasonal || Bend, Oregon
Already getting the cidery’s name from a mythical titan, it is no shocker that Atlas Cider has decided to conjure up the image of another mythical beast for its summer seasonal. This cider takes the tropical dragonfruit native to parts of Southeast Asia and combines it with Pacific Northwest apples forging a beautiful international partnership. The kiwi-like flavor adds sweet notes to the dry-apple blend. Be sure to pick up this cider as soon as you can, the quantity is limited and is sure to go fast.
101 Cider Black Dog || Westlake Village, California
Los Angeles’s 101 Cider is synonymous with the word “different.” The California cidery consistently produces first-class ciders, which break the mold for creativity. From cactus to quince, charcoal to mint, unexpected ingredients of all kinds are used in the cider recipes. The Black Dog is brewed with locally grown lemons and blended with an activated form of charcoal. Created from tropical coconuts, the charcoal attributes to the cider’s deep black color. Full of citrus and full of charcoal, this cider gives off a interestingly refreshing sip.
Texas Keeper Cider Noir || Austin, Texas
This cidery and taproom in the Live Music Capital starts in familiar territory with Northern Spy apples then double-ferments the juice with extra dark Belgian candi (a marriage of beet and date sugars), pecans and orange peel, and finishes by aging in oak barrels. These classic components of Belgian ales might be new to cider but are not quickly forgotten once its graced your lips—the flavorful combination resonates and lingers for prolonged pondering.
Common Cider Hibiscus Saison || Sparks, Nevada and Drytown, California
Throughout time hibiscus has served many different purposes. From its medicinal properties to being used to make paper, it seems as though there is really nothing hibiscus can’t do. The petals of the flower have been used traditionally to make tea and over at Common Cider, they take it to the next level and use the flowers to craft hard cider. The Hibiscus Saison exhibits a dark crimson color and hits the palate with a dry and tart flavor.