French hard cider is often my "go to" for a refreshingly funky apple beverage. But recently I found a more locally based product; Bad Seed Cider,a Highland Hills, New York state-based producer. Devin Ritter, one of the owner-brewers periodically sells his brew at the Union Square Green Market. If you get a chance to visit the market, try to find him. He'll give you an education in cider varieties. Meeting him, I purchased a few bottles of his "IPC," which uses IPA beer yeast, along with some "semi dry," which Devin said wasn't quite as funky as French cider but has similar crispness. What I like about these ciders is the clean taste, effervesence more akin to a champagne. They drink well and go good with almost any food.
I once a knew a Georgian named Eddy. He was a doorman at work. Recently my brother, who now has moved from heading kitchens to selling wine, introduced me to another, David Sarajishvili, the creator and founder of a Georgian brandy distillery and exporter. Sharing a bottle with me last weekend, my brother's head was full of dreams of Georgia, specifically for its rivers where he wants to fly fish, and for the nation's ancient wine culture. According to what he's heard, "it's the oldest in the world."
As we shared the bottle, my brother recounted how Stalin, a native of Georgia, had once served Winston Churchill an after-dinner brandy. Apparently Churchill made a face. Stalin realized they had served a batch from Armenia, and ordered a new bottle. Stoking a cigar, now enjoying this second round, Churchill asks "French?" Stalin happily pointed out that, no, it was Georgian.
Like my mom, me and my brother usually drink apertifs in the form of armagnac sherry. But that may change moving forward, as the Georgians really do have a nice brandy.
Cidre, or cider, is a refreshing apple beverage with a bit of alcohol. It's been a favorite of mine since I was introduced by my brother when I was a wee lad. Sundays we'd sometimes enjoy a lobster brunch, drenched with butter and quenched with, what else, cider!
On a recent outing to the supermarket, I found a bottle of Cherry Tree cider, produced by Original Sin. Black and sitting in the craft-beer section of the market, it comes in non-descript bottles but has a highly describable impact. Refreshing, delicious, satisfying. I have heard of Belgian kriek, the Belgian ale that's cherry flavored, and generally I detest flavored drinks, but my curiosity prevailed. Fast forward - a long 13 hour day, a cold bottle of cherry cider in the fridge, and some liver pate, ok....pop!
It's almost a shade of rose, with a bouquet that's not overly dry and not coyingly sweet, well balanced. It reminds me of Norman cidre more then most of the other ciders I've had on the market that usually are either too sweet or extremely dry and with out complexity.
Oh, and it went great with liver pate and German mustard!