Ideas for Ciders as an Alternative to Champagne for New Year’s Eve

The end of 2017 is near, and what better a beverage choice to ring in the New Year than sparkling cider?  Although my choices are probably skewed towards the Northwest, I thought I’d share.  I think these would all be crowd-pleasing selections, and I’ve grouped them by sweetness.

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For drier selections:

  • Alpenfire Cinders – This methode champenoise sparkling cider is made in Washington from red-fleshed apples, which naturally adds hints of fruitiness.  They also make a sweeter version of this cider (which I prefer as I find it more flavorful), called Glow, but it is not sparkling.
  • Dragon’s Head Methode Champenoise Perry – This method champenoise sparkling perry (from pears, no apples) is made in Washington.  Like many of these drier selections, this semi-dry perry it is more subtle in flavor intensity, with some hints of floral & honey in addition to pear.
  • Eden Specialty Ciders Dry – This methode champenoise sparkling cider is made in Vermont from heirloom & bittersweet apples.  It has hints of perceived residual sweetness, and notes of citrus, mineral, and herbs, with some tannins.
  • Finnriver Artisan Sparkling Brut – This methode champenoise sparkling cider is made in Washington.  It is fully dry, with notes of citrus, floral, and green apple, and very champagne-like.
  • Scandi Cider’s Scandinavian Green Apple Cider – This cider is from Estonia (in Northern Europe).  I found it to be very fizzy and tart, with green apple, citrus, and pineapple flavor.
  • Tieton Cidermaker’s Reserve – This cider was made in Washington, from bittersweet cider apples, and aged 2 years in Bourbon barrels.  It has notes of vanilla, bourbon, and oak.

  

For sweeter selections:

  • Bertolinos Cider – This Italian cider isn’t quite as sparkling, but its likely to be a crowd-pleaser.  It has notes of honey, pineapple, and grapefruit, and I’ve found it very affordable, under $10.
  • Cidrerie du Vulcain Premiers Emois – This Swiss selection has some similarities to French cidre, but less apple and yeast forward.  It is intensely fruity and complex, with a lovely frothy texture.  My review is still forthcoming on this one.
  • Eve’s Rustica – This methode champenoise sparkling cider is made in New York.  It has some unique notes of honey, cream, vanilla, and fruit, all just from apples and yeast.

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For in between:

  • AEppelTreow Winery Appely Doux – This methode champenoise sparkling cider is made in Wisconsin.  It is semi-dry to semi-sweet, and flavorful, with notes of citrus, green apple, and honey.  They also make a Brut (dry) version of this cider that I haven’t tried.
  • Eden Speciality Ciders Semi-Dry – This methode champenoise sparkling cider is made in Vermont.  It is similar to their Dry version, plus a bit of ice cider.  It has notes of tropical fruit, apricot, peach, honey, and green apple.  This is probably the most tannic selection featured in this post.
  • Snowdrift Cidermakers Reserve – This methode champenoise sparkling cider is made in Washington.  It is semi-dry, and has a very unique flavor profile, with notes of pomegranate, white grape, and stone fruit, and a fluffy texture.

For some other suggestions, check out articles from last year from Cider Journal and CiderCraft, or a more recent article featuring European ciders from Cider Explorer.

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