As an American, it should be difficult to drink this cider and not get nostalgic. Martinelli’s Gold Medal 1868 Old Fashioned Hard Cider smells remarkably like its more-famous, nonalcoholic counterpart. According to the juice maker, the apple juice was a secondary product to the original, once-flagship hard cider, which was released to commemorate S. Martinelli & Company’s 150th anniversary in 2018.
Back in the 1860s, hard cider was the name of the game for Martinelli’s and had a good run until Martinelli’s was forced to stop production, thanks to Prohibition. The original recipe came back in 1933 after the repeal, but as the nonalcoholic sparkling cider and juice boomed, hard cider production ceased to exist in 1978. Returning for its third comeback, Martinelli’s Gold Medal 1868 ferments U.S.-grown, fresh-pressed apples that put out baked apple, yellow fruit, apricot and golden raisin aromas. The palate is semisweet, as the nose would suggest, with very red, very juicy apple and moderate acid. Simple and approachable, this is a great introduction into hard cider, especially for fans of the nonalcoholic sparkling sip. Step it up into the big kid version.