From cozy days at home to lucky finds during Northeast adventures, these are the cider moments that stand out to me from the past 12 months.
I slide a Beaver Brook Farm butterflied chicken in the oven to roast and start looking for a bottle to crack — thankfully, past-me took good care of future-me, so there’s a Hancock Shaker Village (2020) from Berkshire Cider Project squirreled away at the back of the fridge for just this occasion. Featuring apples collected from a historic orchard in Massachusetts, this complex quaff will be an ideal companion to my meal … if I can stop myself from finishing it as an aperitif.
Between shopping in Freeport, Maine, and a hike on Bradbury Mountain, I greet the gabby hens and the friendly cidermaker who welcome visitors to Portersfield Cider. Made with a blend of foraged and cider apples and lightly bottle-conditioned, 18/3 is a gem on its own, but truly sparkles in conjunction with honey, hazelnuts and Winter Hill Farm’s Bradbury Mountain Blue cheese.
On a Halloween adventure to Sleepy Hollow, New York, I wander the bustling TaSH Farmers’ Market and stumble upon Treasury Cider from nearby Hopewell Junction. Burr Knot, an unfiltered mix of crab and bittersweet apples from Fishkill Farm, reveals itself as a tannic star with a hint of sweetness, crisp yet earthy like the October air.
I postpone springtime dinner preparations in favor of a well-laid cheese plate featuring selections from Arethusa Farm on the deck and open a bottle of Eden Cider’s Sorcière — wild-fermented in Newport, Vermont, with wildflower honey and aged a year and a half in the bottle. It sings – and I listen.
Over zwiebelkuchen and sauerbraten at Schulte und Herr restaurant in Portland, Maine, I get a hot tip from a friend to seek out a bottle of Cornish Cider Company’s Last Picks. The next day, I snatch up the last bottle at Maine and Loire! It’s a testament to resourcefulness: Honeycrisp and Northern Spy storage apples only half concentrated on their way to ice cider, so into a used barrel for aging went the wayward juice. I don’t wait for a special occasion to open it — it’s a celebration unto itself.