Cider is having a moment, thanks to passionate makers around the country who are bullish on its flavor profile and versatility, with some ciders offering a dry finish and others even imparting notes of vanilla.
Like wine, the flavor and mouthfeel of a cider depends on several things, including the cider-making technique itself as well as the region of the country where the apples are sourced.
“There are more and more cider makers planting heirloom apple varieties and making higher quality cider using those same apples,” says Amie Fields, a cider educator and co-founder at Botanist & Barrel, a cidery in Cedar Grove, N.C. “Others are foraging for feral apples and making truly one-of-a-kind terroir-driven vintage cider.”
The finest ciders being made around the country are premium artisanal varieties that are actually—by definition—considered wines, says Elizabeth Philbrick, co-founder of EsoTerra, an artisanal hard cider brand located in Dolores, Colo., that is sold at its tasting room, shipped nationally, and available at select luxury resorts in the region. “These take a significant time to make—ours take six months to several years—and they’re made, served, and stored like wine. Best of all, they age really well and, over time, become more interesting.”