Time to Get Excited About Hard Cider
Fall means apples and since they don't fall far from the tree, there's nowhere better to enjoy them than the Hudson Valley. If your driver's license has expired (guilty) while living in the city and you can't Zip up there, you can also hit up a number of restaurants and tastings around NYC since Cider Week is officially on.
Here's why you should get excited about hard cider:
Cider is local. The Hudson Valley is the so-called "Apple Belt" (where you're beaten over the head with apples instead of bibles) and New York is the second largest grower in the country.
Cider has a lot in common with wine.
Hard cider is made from fermented apple juice, as wine is made with fermented grape juice; the final drink can be a blend of apples (Bordeaux) or a single-varietal (Burgundy); cider can be bottled young or aged for several years; and local terroir affects taste.
More reasons: The alcohol content is generally low (4 to 7%) and the stuff is very refreshing. So, let's taste some cider!
Located in black dirt country in the Hudson Valley -- the soil is the color of coal -- Warwick Winery is an imbiber's paradise. The affable owner Jason Grizzanti produces a line of wines from Finger Lake fruit, distills two types of gin and a bourbon, and crafts a series of fruit brandies; but the real stars of this boozy show are the plethora of ciders he creates from the apple trees out back. He produces a classic version called Doc's Draft Hard Apple Cider, as well as seasonal styles such as pumpkin using roasted cinderellas. Another must-try is the Doc's Draft Framboise -- think Champagne infused with raspberries.
If a visit to Warwick is not in the cards, Doc's Draft is widely distributed on the East Coast and is on the menu at Hearth and Terroir E. Vil . Both venues are celebrating Cider Week with a full line-up of domestic and international bottles.
Hearth, 403 East 12th Street, 646-602-1300; Terroir 413 East 12th Street, 646-602-1300; Warwick, 114 Little York Road, Warwick, NY, 845-258-4858
Lauren Mowery is a wine and travel writer based in NYC. She blogs at Chasing the Vine.