When I talk with brewmasters, or even homebrewers, there is this obvious parallel to many of the kitchen jobs I held as a youth. The mixing of ingredients, different fermentation techniques, and even the use of grains, water and yeast all lend themselves to a baker’s life. Even the recipe development and combining of flavors parallel the work of a great chef.
But cider is a completely different story. One of the most exciting aspects of cider is its closeness to the land… preserving nature and reaping its bounty. I am yet to meet cider-makers more in tune with that philosophy than Crystie and Keith Kisler. Their dedication to cultivating a family farm through sustainable practices is paramount in everything they do and that dedication and love comes through in their produce and – most important to us – in their ciders.
I recently had a chance to talk with Chrystie and Keith about cider and its relationship to the land on this week’s edition of The Cider Press over on Serious Eats:Drinks. Its a great foray into their commitment to family farming, the Pacific Northwest and the cider community at large.
While Ice Cider is a bit of a new beverage – invented a little more than a decade ago – it is one of the most interesting corners of the cider world. Apples are picked, pressed and resulting juice is left out in the barn until well after first frost. The cold weather causes pure water in the cider to freeze and separate… leaving behind a sweeter, concentrated juice. This is fermented to produce ice cider, a sweeter, cider drink around 10% ABV. The final beverage is great for cocktail mixing or on its own.
Read more about some of my favorite ice ciders over on this week’s The Cider Press: American Ice Cider over on Serious Eats: Drinks (external link)
I’m not usually one for cocktails but there is something magical about the combination of sparkling cider and ginger beer. The ginger beer adds a sharp bite that compliments the cider’s natural tannins while the dryness of the cider helps cut through the sugary ginger beer. On this week’s edition of The Cider Press, I mix up two cider “buck” cocktails. The Young Buck, aka David Darnell Brown, is an easy drinking highball with added fancy-ness from hibiscus syrup. Then there is the Uncle Buck, aka the John Candy, is more of an “old man drink” that includes one of my favorite secret ingredient… cider molasses!
Get both recipes over on The Cider Press: Buck Cocktails over on Serious Eats: Drinks (external link)