There are many reasons to add cider to your holiday menu – for meals, for cocktail hour, or mulled and warm on a chilly evening. And, there are many types of cider to serve to your family and guests.
1. Artisanal ciders will be a hit with fans of microbrews and fine wines. Our wine guru, Howie Rubin of Bauer Wine & Spirits, recently recommended Bantam Wunderkind, a new local cider from Cambridge, MA. He knows our taste and this crisp, clean, dry creation was perfect with a supper of salad with buttery croutons and goat cheese.
2. At farmers' markets and farm stands you'll find sweet, fresh cider for those who prefer non-alcoholic drinks. You can even find single source ciders like this one made from honeycrisp apples. And, most cider is gluten-free. Just be sure to check that the one you're choosing really is safe for those who restrict gluten. You never know what some producers might add to the mix.
3. Cider's history makes it a perfect fit in this season of traditions. We wrote more about cider's past in our post, You Only Think You Know Cider.
4. Cider gives you a new world to explore! Try an imported, sparkling cider from someplace like Normandy where there is a long tradition of turning apples into a companion for food. One of the most respected producers is Etienne Dupont. Penny loves the barnyard funk of their organic version. It has that same mysterious quality of some of our favorite Italian wines. We wrote more about it here.
5. If you want to keep up with the conversation among food lovers, you should add some cider knowledge to your repertoire. Everyone is starting to rediscover this once lost beverage. Here'a a primer from NPR, Americans Rediscover The Kick Of Hard Cider. And, remember, don't judge ciders by the mass produced versions. Try a small scale, local producer recommended by someone you trust.
Beer glasses, like the one below, are perfect for serving cider. Or, you can pour it into the same glass that other guests will use for wine or serve it in a brandy snifter as we did in the top photo.
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Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino
Photography: © 2010-2012 Penny & Ed Cherubino
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