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 Canada, no one pours more cider than Her Father’s Cider Bar + Kitchen. The Toronto-based cider-centric bar and eatery opened last May with 60 seats for the cider-loving public. Upon entry, the restaurant reveals a massive cider cooler for retail purchases, but the magic happens behind the counter where Her Father’s serves up cider three ways: in the glass, from the shaker and on the plate.
While traditional bangers and mash is commonly regarded as British pub fare, the dish enjoys an undeniable association (alongside the omnipresent corned beef and cabbage) with everyone’s favorite Irish holiday – St. Patrick’s Day. Setting aside any debates about the dish’s definitive homeland, it’s a damn good excuse to embrace meat and potatoes… especially if we can work some equally damn good cider into the mix.
Shoulder season weather calls for comfort food, and few dishes hit the mark like French onion soup. A favorite menu item at Sonoma Cider‘s recently opened taproom and restaurant in Healdsburg, California, Executive Chef Jordan Adorni uses the house’s apple brandy as the flavor base to the sumptuous soup.
“Apple brandy creates a depth of flavor that can’t be obtained by simply using beef stock and herbs,” Adorni explains.
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.
I spend a lot of time researching, thinking, talking, tasting and drinking cider. As editor-in-chief of this magazine and two other publications we produce, I can’t say I am teeming with spare time but when I get a moment, I like to cook. My husband is the more adept knife wielder in the kitchen and risotto is certainly one of his honed specialties — so when I took over the helm for the evening, he was cautiously (and carefully) glancing over my shoulder.
A classic dish from the United Kingdom, pork stew welcomes the added ingredient of cider. For David Robertson, vice president of marketing at Rootstock Hard Cider in Williamson, New York, he mirrors this cozy January recipe after English celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s standard.
For Robertson, pork and cider stew hits close to home. “Pork and cider stew is a classic comfort food in the Northeast,” he explains.
With the NFL play-offs in full swing, tailgating and football fare is far from over. Co-owner and cidermaker Wes Mickel of Texas’ Argus Cidery shares his straight-from-Austin rib rub recipe, touting big, smoky flavor and a subtle pinch of fennel that makes it terrific for a halftime meal, regardless if the weather accommodates grilling the ribs outside or frostily suggests baking them in the oven.
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.