Tag Archives: hard cider

Thirsty Thursday – Winter Ciders


Happy Thirsty Thursday!

You may or may not know my love for hard ciders. It’s a good go-to choice when I’m not feeling wine and there isn’t a beer on tap that tickles my fancy.

The thing is, I tend to like my ciders dry. The cloyingly sweet, commercial ones can be too much for me.

There is one exception.

J.K.’s ScrumpyScrumpy

J.K.’s Scrumpy is my favorite cider of all time and it does taste sweet. I even put it in my Fantasy Draft last year! Which reminds me, I haven’t yet done one for 2015. Time is ticking… YIKES!

Why is it my favorite? It tastes like the unfiltered cider you get at an apple orchard! We’ve given it to friends to try and I can’t think of a single person who didn’t agree that this is the best cider around. The cidery is out of Michigan. We hoped that they had a tasting room for us to try out on our next visit to the mitten; but alas, they didn’t at the time. It appears that they *might* now; but it’s hard to tell.

In any case, a trip to Total Wine not too long ago prompted us to try these two specialties!


We were looking for local seasonal brews at the time when I spotted these. It was a no-brainer to make purchase these new-to-us J.K. ciders because they come in at around $6/bottle whereas some specialty bombers of beer go for $10 to $20!

When we finally decided to crack them open one evening, I told Rob that we needed taste them side-by-side to compare. I wish I would have taken a photo so I could show you the extreme difference in color of these two nectars; but it was so dark in our living room that I’m sure the comparison would have been lost anyway.

Let’s have a look…

Cuvée Winterruption:


I’ll start with this one because after pouring them, it was lighter in color. I’d like to say that the descriptions helped guide me, too; but the truth is that the color was the sole reason I chose it as our first taste.

I thought that Rob would not be a fan because of the cinnamon. Really, who doesn’t like cinnamon?!

I do love the descriptions on the backs of their bottles as well as their words of advice… especially this time of year.

“Please enjoy a cider with someone you love and perhaps someone you don’t. Please mend a bridge, extend a hand and be good to one another.”

That’s advice we can all heed.

Northern Neighbour – Saskatoon Cuvée:

IMG_5211I feel really ignorant about the crops of our neighbors to the north. I had never heard of a Saskatoon before. I probably assumed it was one who resided in Saskatchewan! A search on The Google resulted in photos and descriptions of a berry very similar to the blueberry, but also called endearingly “the little purple apple.” Mmmm…


Our thoughts…

OH WOW! We loved them both. Neither of us could pick a favorite. They are still made in that wonderfully nostalgic unfiltered-farmhouse-orchard-cider-style. The Winterruption seemed much lighter in style. The spices were festive, yet still subtle enough that the cinnamon didn’t turn Rob off.

The Northern Neighbour is much darker in color, assumingly from the dark “little purple apples” added to the mix. The collaboration is a unique, yet perfect one.

These ciders alone could bring peace on earth. Well, at least collaborating with neighbors and suggesting kindness on the back of a bottle is a start. 😉

What beverages (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) do you find make you feel most festive over the holiday season?




Traverse City Cider House


After our two afternoon brewery stops in Traverse City, we checked into our hotel, conveniently situated in downtown where all the action is.

Our next stop:


Okay, so we didn’t make the drive all the way out to the Northern Natural Cider House and Winery; but we did stop off at their cider tasting room on Front Street. It was within walking distance of our hotel.


I just love these booths!


Of course, I was having trouble deciding on a cider. You are probably thinking, “Carrie, how hard could it be to choose a cider?” Well, there were several and many had won awards!


Luckily they offered a flight of all 11 of their ciders!


Naturally we ordered it…


Naturally, we split it. Then we made our draft picks.

Most of them tasted very similar to each other. My favorite of the bunch was the Lavender Cider. The Cinammon Spice Cider was another top contender for me. Overall, not the best cider I’ve had. Nor was it as good as what we’d had in Australia. However, if those two varieties of Northern Natural Cider were available in my local liquor store, I’d purchase them.

After all that cider, it was time to go back to the hotel for a little nap before dinner. We had many more boxes to check in Traverse City!

Do you drink hard cider?

If so, what is your favorite?

Have you ever been to a cider house?



Thirsty Thursday: Aussie Cider


The one thing we didn’t expect to find, nor even think to look for while we were in Australia was hard cider. I just love a good, refreshing hard cider on a beautiful spring or summer day. So we were pleasantly surprised when we found some!

Our first cider encounter was at The Norfolk in Sydney {New South Wales}. They had one on tap from New Zealand. True, it’s not an Aussie Cider, but I had never had one from NZ either. It was such a clear color! Seriously, this glass is full!


It went nicely with the Peri-Peri Chicken I had for lunch! Peri-Peri {also piri-piri} Chicken is a Portuguese-style dish that I can’t say that I’ve seen in the U.S. But I hadn’t known about it[ so I hadn’t been looking for it either. I think I was first introduced by Tiffany at Cute Dogs and Hugs. Then I noticed it all over Australia. {I also noticed a lot of chicken burgers and chicken schnitzel. HA!} Peri-peri sauce has such a nice heat!

Peri Peri Chicken

Peri Peri Chicken

The cider complemented it nicely, too. I may have to try to make Peri-Peri chicken or sauce at home. Biz, are you up for the challenge?!

But Rob also noticed on their list that they carried an Aussie cider by the bottle. We gave it a try.

Another excellent specimen! This one is from the Snowy Mountains {New South Wales}.

I was so oblivious to Australian geography before we visited the country. So, I’d like to offer you a quick lesson right now. It’ll give you an idea of where each of these ciders comes from.

Remember that Australia is roughly the size of the United States.


But there are only a total of eight states and territories!

{ACT = Australian Capital Territory, where you will find Canberra, the capital city}


Now consider that this country is in the Southern Hemisphere where the seasons are flopped from those of us in the North. {It was spring when we arrived in September! Everyone is on summer vacation over Christmas!} And, the further you go north {towards the equator}, the warmer it gets. The further south you go, the temps are cooler, creating better conditions for apple growing.

Our next cider experience was with Chloe at Young & Jackson’s in Melbourne {Victoria}.IMG_9383

We took a lovely drive with Mum & Dad from our home base in Melbourne out to the Mornington Peninsula {Victoria}. It was a beautiful day to lunch outside. I found a nice little local cider on the menu:


It comes from Wallington {Victoria}, which is just across the water from the town where we lunched. The whole arrangement made me happy – a beautiful day, lunch outside, one of the best salads I’ve ever had, and wonderful company, all while sipping a bottle of crisp local cider.

Can you tell that we were just a tad bit happy?!

Can you tell that we were just a tad bit happy?!

One thing we learned from Mum and Dad was something else that was unbeknownst to me: Did you know where the Granny Smith apple originated?


Me neither! You can read the story about Granny Smith (an actual person!) here. After learning all of this, when we saw a bottle of the cider pictured below at an establishment in St. Kilda, there was no way we could order anything else.


To be honest, I’m not even sure if this Cider House belongs to the same Smith family, nor if it is made from Granny Smith apples. But it sold us. It didn’t matter. Sipping on another Tasmanian cider that we knew we couldn’t have had at home was a treat anyway.


It was a delicious farmhouse-style cider. We love that Willie Smith & Sons is big on not adding anything artificial and that the apples are organically grown, too.


Speaking of Farmhouse-style ciders…

Rob loves Scrumpy Ciders! He used to think that the term scrumpy meant that the cider was higher in alcohol. That’s probably because many are. But now we know that the term is used more to describe locally produced ciders not made in mass quantities.  My absolute favorite Scrumpy is J.K.’s Scrumpy Farmhouse Organic Hard Cider out of Michigan. It tastes just like the unfiltered apple cider you pick up directly at an orchard!

Rob and I are highly interested in visiting Tasmania when we next visit Australia someday. It sounds like a beautiful countryside full of lots interesting history!

Rob did enjoy a Scrumpy Cider at Milk the Cow, a wine and cheese bar in the St. Kilda area of Melbourne.


This one did pack a punch at 8% ABV anyway!


Then there’s this:


What a great name! I love the crocheted label look. But there is the disclaimer that the cider inside wasn’t necessarily made with granny smiths.


The next cider, I believe, was one Rob enjoyed the night the girls shared a little bubbly with dinner.  It’s another Tassie {pronounced Tazzie!} cider:


The last cider I quaffed on our Australian trip was on a hot day while we were visiting Uluru. I’m sure we paid an arm and a leg for it at the resort restaurant. And just like in Ireland (and now more common in the U.S., too) servers always try to offer me a glass full of ice to water my cider down. I don’t get it. Maybe it’s just my personal preference: If the cider is already chilled, I don’t want your stinking ice!


I don’t mind “cloudy” or unfiltered ciders. In fact, that’s what I love in a good Farmhouse-style cider. But the Seeds cider was probably my least favorite cider of the trip. I still didn’t let it go to waste!

Then I saw that it is a product of Tooheys:


Tooheys is a mass-producer of beers and ciders in Australia. That might explain why it was my least favorite.

But overall, the ciders in Australia were delicious. Yes, it’s always a good idea to drink wine in wine countries; but if apples are a product of the region, don’t look those over either!

What’s your favorite style of cider? Dry? Sweet? Filtered? Unfiltered? Have you had a scrumpy?


Other posts about our trip to Australia:











5 Things from Yesterday for Friday



1) Yesterday, I had my first Malaysian Milky Bun at Satay 2 Go.

Milky Bun

Milky Bun

2) Yesterday, my husband bought a bottle of my favorite hard cider of all time.

photo 3(2)


3) Yesterday, we took in a visitor.



4) Last Night, It snowed six inches. I got stuck at the end of the driveway this morning. Happy Spring?

5) Last night, I painted the Eiffel Tower à la Van Gogh. (No, I did not deface La Tour Eiffel, I painted it on canvas.)

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I’m still addicted to these painting classes. It’s very therapeutic and relaxing, even when I don’t think mine is as good as the original. I’m still a novice!

What’s the best thing that happened to YOU yesterday?