Not all of the Southwest is desert lands. Depending on who you talk to, Colorado is also considered to be within this region and is full of some of the most spectacular mountains and valleys in the United States. A family-run farm and cidery, Big B’s Juices, Hard Ciders and Delicious Orchards is nestled in one of these small valleys, high in elevation of the Rocky Mountains. Their cold nights and warm days make for great organic apple growing and resulting ciders.
In this Valentine’s Day cocktail built for two, Stem Cider‘s L’Acier is the perfect partner. The Denver cidery’s bright, clean and dry cider also shoots out tannin for structure and dry fruit notes, working as a broad and crisp cider topping to this approachable cocktail.
From the “Drowned Lands” of Warwick, New York, comes this feisty applejack from Black Dirt Distillery, part of the Doc’s Draft Hard Cider family. Produced from 100 percent Jonagold apples, this brandy is aged a minimum of four years in new charred American oak barrels. Black Dirt was named after the flood plains region of New York, just a little over an hour away from the Big Apple.
Apple-based spirits have a long history in America (think back to colonial days). In fact, two of the oldest distilled spirits in the United States, apple brandy and applejack, have been served during important political gatherings, used as currency in exchange for labor, given as gifts to international leaders and even served as a delicious alternative to water in times before water was clean and convenient.
Known as the “Onion Capital of Canada,” Thedford is a small community in Ontario and home to Twin Pines Orchards & Cider House. Growing, pressing and fermenting on the property gives this producer the title of “estate winery” and their Hammerbent Red sparkling cider is a best of the orchard blend, using Red Court Cortland, Northern Spy, Ida Red and Golden Russet apples.
From New York’s Finger Lakes region comes the Beckhorn Hollow cider from the small, family-run orchards of Eve’s Cidery. The cider is made using the traditional Champagne method and owners Autumn Stoscheck and Ezra Sherman take a more holistic approach to their orchards, experimenting with organic processes.
By Kathy Casey
Photography by Blue Rose Photography
A traditional pre-Prohibition-style cider that’s from Farnum Hill Cider is semi-dry with a gentle sweetness, aged in oak and finished with a Champagne cork. The blend of Kingston Black, Medaille d’Or, Somerset and other heirloom apple varieties all come from their Poverty Lane Orchards in Lebanon, New Hampshire.
By Kathy Casey
Photography by Amy Johnson Photography
True to the craft of making cider, East Wenatchee, Washington’s Snowdrift Cider strives to produce a traditional English-style dry cider. Made from a variety of heirloom central Washington apples, the results are a rich, robust dry cider with plenty of crisp bubbles that evoke a Champagne finish.