Cider’s Answer to Campari
Cider is having a moment — and quite frankly I hope it’s a long one. We’ve called hard cider the new craft beer, but the range of complexity and flavor that today’s cider-makers can coax out of modest little cider apples also has much to offer to wine-lovers. And now, thanks to this intriguing line of aperitif ciders from Eden Ice Cider, cocktail aficionados have something to look for in cider as well.
Eden Ice Cider is based in Vermont and makes ice cider for the dessert course, as well as sparkling ciders. But this line of aperitif ciders is the most intriguing thing they do, and really one to look out for. Their aperitif ciders come in two flavors — Bitter, flavored with currants and herbs, and highly reminiscent of Campari; and Herbal, which has a softer flavor profile of honey and anise, and reminded me of Lillet and other fortified wines.
I tried these two at Pearl and Ash, a restaurant in New York, last week, when the bartender went on a roll about small-batch vermouths and other hand-crafted novelties coming out of the Northeast. He poured Ariel and myself both a sip of these and I was rather blown away. The Bitter in particular had all the bitter herbal notes of Campari or Aperol, but without their cloying sweetness or heaviness. I would mix this with soda or tonic water for a light aperitif, or sip it all on its own.
But just don’t take my word for it; Food & Wine called these the “best thing to come out of Vermont since maple syrup,” and Serious Eats also celebrated them as a rare domestic alternative to French and Italian fortified wines.
Have you tried either of these ciders? They’re certainly a fresh new way to welcome one of my favorite times of year: apple cider season.