Doc’s Hard Sour Cherry Cider

Doc's Hard Sour Cherry Cider
Doc's Hard Sour Cherry Cider
Doc’s Hard Sour Cherry Cider

Hands up if you like cider? It’s kind of the gateway drug to beer. Sometimes it’s super sweet. Sometimes it’s too chemically sharp. There’s a spectrum from Woodchuck on one side to Cidre Bouché on the other.

We were at The Top last night and were pointed at this deliciousness – Doc’s Hard Sour Cherry Cider. It’s on draft and made by Warwick Valley Winery, which also makes gin and wine. The cider is gluten free, which is totally hipster. It’s made in New York state – ‘Murica!

Anyhow, we had already ordered our drinks and one of the bartenders that know I like cider had us try this, so we ended up double-fisting our drinks and this cider. Better yet, when we came back for brunch today, what else could you want?

It’s nicely sour, with a soft punch of cherry, supported by a dry apple cider. The cider pours a deep red brown color, and has a slightly sweet hint at the back of your tongue.

Try it, dude.

Doc’s Hard Sour Cherry Cider
Found at The Top
$5 / 12 oz pour

[Girl21]

Snakebite

Snakebite, Loosey's Pub

Brass monkey! That funky monkey!

If you remember when that song came out, you’re my kind of people. (Beastie Boys, License to Ill, 1986.) I only bring that up because I was looking up the history of one of my favorite drinks, and this fun little fact was flung at me like an unwelcomed booger.

A Brass Monkey is a shandy, which is a drink that mixes beer with some kind of soda or juice, depending on where you are and where your bartender is from. A Brass Monkey is a mix of orange juice and beer. And the version the Beastie Boys were familiar with was where a hard-partying rock and roll youth would drink off the first 1/4 of a 40 of malt liquor or beer, and top off the can or bottle with OJ.

No, that’s not my favorite drink at all. I feel like I just threw up thinking about that. I like a Snakebite, which is a specific type of shandy. It’s a combination of half beer and half cider. Many bartenders will just mix the two willy nilly and hand it over like a dead rat in a glass. But the classy folks will pour the cider first, then float the beer on top. I generally see this done well with a nice dry cider like Strongbow paired with a dark beer like Guinness for the maximum effect and flavor.

At Loosey’s (pictured), you get Donnybrook instead of Guinness, which goes much nicer with the cider because it lacks that slightly burnt after flavor. But I may have to try the version a friend was drooling over which was raspberry cider with Choklat Stout by Southern Tier. Probably best for dessert.

But watch out. Lore states that Snakebites get you drunk faster than the individual drinks that make them. I haven’t seen any supporting evidence, but there’s a long argument at several sites about this. I can only guess the reason for the myth is that originally a Snakebite had a shot of vodka in it in some regions. Which of course would sneak up on you and bite you in the ass.

[Girl21]

Crispin Hard Cider, Honey Crisp

Crispin Hard Cider, Honey Crisp

There’s that guy you know. Every circle of friends seems to have one. He makes money, and he lets everyone know. When he gets back from a skiing trip to Europe, he lets you know about that too. He uses a lot of product in his hair, gets mani-pedis, and dates a series of interchangeable, vacuous young girls that he usually picks up at the gym. His watch is aerodynamic and expensive looking. He doesn’t just sit–he lounges everywhere. You tolerate his ego because he can be entertaining, and sometimes he shows up with an expensive bottle of liquor.

In the world of cider, his name is Crispin. (For the record, we are talking about hard cider, not apple juice.) And Crispin has definitely tossed a great deal of cash at a marketing team to make their branding seem trendy, classy, and classic. That’s not to say it’s a shallow, soulless cider. But the flashy externals always put a question mark over the quality of the content.

I am not a dedicated beer drinker, so The Man patronizes my quirk of drinking cider instead. On a recent beer forage trip to Dorn’s, he carried home a bottle of Crispin’s Honey Crisp hard cider. This is one of the artisanal varieties they produce, and it’s flavored with organic honey. After a chill in the fridge, we popped the top off the 22 ounce bottle and poured the pearly cider.

It tasted of fresh apples, spring water, green grass, and honey. It was definitely crisp. It was absolutely made from apples. But it lacked that intrinsic cidery flavor of old, fermented apples that lingers in the back of your mouth. It was too clean and clear. Too young. And it took me a while to identify the lingering round notes of cardamom that haunted my mouth.

I would drink Crispin cider again. I would even like to try some of the other varieties they offer like the sake style or the Belgian Trappist inspired cider. And they’ve apparently got Fox Barrel Cider, a line made from pears. But when I want a good bottle of cider, I’ll still reach for Cidre Bouche.

Crispin
Honey Crisp, 22 oz.
6.5% ABV

[Girl21]

Cidre Bouché

Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie
2007

Cidre BoucheThe most annoying thing about randomly buying a bottle of something-or-other to try is that sometimes you kick yourself for not picking up more than one bottle. We found this at Dorn’s while mooching around for something besides the three bottles of wine we came for. I’m not a beer drinker but am more than willing to explore cider. The French label made me hesitate (nothing to do with that fact that I barely passed my required French classes in high school). I thought we might be overpaying for a sub-par bottle of something the French wouldn’t make their nervous little dogs drink.

This cider was lovely though. Very light and sparkling. Very good mouth feel. Balanced flavor curve from beginning to end. Very fruity without even the slightest hint of insincerity. Absolutely no doubt that the flavors of the cider were the elements of its origin, from the dry soil and clovered orchards, to the tight and tart apples, to the oak aging barrels. This cider tasted of the story of its creation.

For a 750mL bottle of cider in the $10 price range, we were glad we took the risk of random selection. If the price jumped to $18 or $20, it would still be worth it.

Recommended as a solitary drink, or with cheese and other light snacks so you can thoroughly enjoy the delicate flavor palette.

www.calvados-dupont.com