Eleanor Leger of Eden Ice Cider (now Eden Specialty Ciders) gave us the 411 on this unique Vermont beverage...
Ice cider is a delicious sweet-tart apple dessert wine that is a pure reflection of Vermont terroir.
How it's made: Vermont apples are pressed and the fresh cider is put outside to freeze in the cold Vermont winter air. Once frozen the cider blocks are brought inside to thaw; the first 10% of juice that melts off is highly concentrated in sugar and flavor, and only this concentrate is used to ferment into ice cider. It takes over 8 lbs. of apples to create one beautiful 375ml bottle of ice cider!
Serve chilled to about 46 degrees, this can be done by putting it into the fridge 30 minutes before serving.
Pour in small port glass, 2 to 3 oz is appropriate for such a flavorful and sweet drink.
Pair with cured meats, Vermont artisanal cheeses (blue cheese or clothbound cheddar are a fantastic choice), autumn and winter desserts, or just as dessert on its own.
Enjoy this wonderful taste of Vermont!
Pick up one of these exceptional varieties from your local, specialty grocer or wine shop to add instant panache to your holiday table.
Boyden Ice Cider- They use Vermont grown Northern Spy, Macintosh, and Empire apples to create a truly extraordinary cider. Aged in French oak barrels, the final product is a sweet, but complex combination concentrated apple flavors and light, toasted oak that goes perfectly with any number of desserts also, it’s a real treat just on its own.
Champlain Orchards Honeycrisp - This light and elegant ice cider is made 100% from Honeycrisp apples grown by Champlain Orchards in Shoreham, Vermont. It has a wonderful pure apple flavor with the characteristic sweet tang of the sought-after Honeycrisp apple. Perfect for apple season, it pairs well with washed rind cheeses, fall fruit desserts and cheesecake.
Eden Ice Cider:
Heirloom Blend- Their flagship variety features, in addition to MacIntosh and Empire, Russets providing full-bodied sweetness, Calville Blanc and Esopus Spitzenburg provide acidity and citrus notes for balance, and Ashmead's Kernel provides natural tannins for structure. Serve it with artisanal cheeses, game or dessert.
Northern Spy- This single-varietal ice cider is aged in French oak barrels, imparting structure and delicate spice. Northern Spy is an antique variety of apple that was one of the three most popular in America at the end of the 19th century. It has a sweetly tart flavor that is superbly enhanced by the oak. Enjoy this rich treat on its own after dinner, with a creamy blue cheese, or even a cigar!
Windfall Orchard - This smooth, rich ice cider is made 100% from apples grown by Brad Koehler of Windfall Orchard in Cornwall, Vermont and features more than 30 apple varieties. It tastes of fresh apple, pear and peach, and is full-bodied and well balanced. Perfect for serving with desserts and cheeses all year round.