From pumpkin spice to apple pie, nothing quite gets you in the mood for autumn like hard cider. At NYC's most recent Cider Week, more than 30 cider makers from all over New York State brought some of their best products to showcase on the Lower East Side.
A friend and I got the chance to try out all of these ciders at one of the Cider Week events, the Cider Revival and La Grande Fondue, on the Bowery Hotel Terrace. We arrived at the hotel and crawled up a flight of stairs into a dimly-lit bar that led to rooms upon rooms filled with cider and cheese stations.
The event, like many good things, began at the bar, where they were serving a "Black Dirt Side Car": applejack from Black Dirt Distillery, lemon juice, cane syrup, Cointreau (triple sec), and Angostura bitters, garnished with twist of orange. It was tangy and sweet, but the contrasting subtle bitterness made this drink taste light and airy.
Across the bar sat Doc Draft's Hard Ciders, and, as I have a natural attraction to anything with pumpkin in it, I picked my flavor accordingly. Made with fresh ginger and nutmeg, this definitely beat any pumpkin spice latte I've ever had. If only it were acceptable to order this at Starbucks.
After sampling a few more ciders, we sampled cheese from Murray's Cheese Bar. At one station, they served mac and cheese made with Comte, Irish Cheddar, and Spring Brook Reading, straight from the farm in Vermont. I topped my plate with cubes of bacon and chorizo, and I could barely wait for it to cool. I devoured the buttery noodles and scraped away every last cheesy bit.
Several ciders later, we arrived at Slyboro Cider House's table, where we tried two sparkling ciders. The first, called La Saint Terre, was sweet with pear, melon, apple and spice, followed by a slightly bitter aftertaste. The Black Currant had a sweet and summery taste, with the tanginess of berries to follow.
Finally, I found my favorite drink of the night at Hardscrabble Cider. Though I usually prefer sweeter ciders over dry ones, "The Standard" kept a perfect balance between the two. It wasn't bitter, but it wasn't so sweet that I would feel a headache coming on after a glass or two. On top of that, they were selling adorable t-shirts that can make anyone feel good about drinking ridiculous amounts of cider. Same here, GW.
After visiting about 20 out of the 30 tables at the Cider Revival, I decided I'd had enough (it was a Monday night!). I'll definitely be back next year, and in the meantime, I'll be searching the city to try all of these ciders again. Cheers!