My ''desert island'' cider
A Review of J.K.'s Cuvee Winterruption by Almar Orchards
Posted on 5/9/2011 by Doc Sally
I am intimidated writing this review of J.K.'s Solstice hard cider, I must confess. I'll tip my hand and say this is the cider I would take with me to a desert island, if I only had one cider to choose. Hell, if I only had one non-water beverage to choose. I've known ever since opened that I would write a review on this, but this cider is so...damn...good...well, I feel a little unworthy to review it.

In pouring the cider, most people who drink typical hard ciders may be surprised that this had a certain turbidity to it, with light carbonation. In this case, the turbidity is small amounts of apple residue and just a trace of cinnamon. It is a lovely amber color with almost a glow to it. The aroma is appetizing, with the apple tones bright, and a hint of spiciness.

But it is when you take that first sip that you know you're drinking something special. Lightly efforvescent, the front end blooms into a burst of savory-sweet apple that is evocative of biting into the ripest, crispest, most delicious apple you have ever had in your life. The front end develops into this lush middle, a rich mouthfeel that develops the cinnamon, vanilla, and ever-so-slight maple. The sweetness is perfectly balanced with an almost citrus-y zing, and the back end lingers on pleasantly, pulling me into the next sip effortlessly. The alcohol doesn't assert itself in the flavor, but I certainly feel the warmth as I progress--not an anemic cider, to be sure. This is what a cider should taste like!

What I love about this spiced cider is how, no matter what you do to it, it is delicious. Chilled? You betcha. Warmed? Perfect on a winter's day sipping while swaddled in my snuggie (I mean your snuggie! I don't have a snuggie! Really!). This is the best stand-alone cider I know--this beverage needs no food to bring out its best side. But if you want to enjoy a wedge of sharp Wisconsin cheddar with it? Why, you'd have to have an Stars 'n Stripes snuggie to feel like you are more immersed in the delicious culinary tradition of America.

Ciders are our heritage, the favored beverage of the American founding fathers (and mothers). Drinking this cider is not just drinking a yummy beverage. It feels like I am drinking a piece of history. I feel somehow connected to the hardy settlers, can imagine the cold bitter winters they suffered, and partook of a farmhouse cider much like the one I'm holding (in dwindling quantities) as I write this. I can't say that I have ever had an *emotional* experience to any drink I've ever consumed like I've had in enjoying this cider. My heartfelt thanks to the folks at Almar Orchards--I can only hope that more take up and preserve this American tradition as they have.

P.S.--did I mention this was organic?? As if it couldn't get better...

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J.K.'s Cuvee Winterruption by Almar Orchards
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