Dear Castle Hill Cider, you had us at the JAY-Z reference. Big Pippin Cider — the new line of quality-committed, modern cider made by the heritage cider-focused Virginia maker — burst on to the scene with three flavored sips in 12-ounce cans, made from fresh-pressed apple juice, fermented with non-GMO yeast and blended with a variety of botanicals and fruit. Does that handle sound familiar? Big Pippin was rebranded as a full line from the pre-existing Castle Hill Albemarle Pippin and Sweet Stayman blend of the same name.
The Prickly Pear & Orange Blossom is sweetly fragrant with orange blossom that comes in strong and floral but not overpowering or off-putting for those expecting apple-forward sips from Castle Hill’s production space. A little herbal in the final whiffs with sage, the palate is all prickly pear, with apple and herbs in the backend and finishing with a nostalgic wave of Peachio’s. The cider is juicy and semisweet but still refreshing with lifting acid. Shake this up in a simple cocktail with a dry-style gin and lemon.