1911: An Oasis for Hard Cider
By Patti Dorazio
Summer is coming–yes, it will be here before you know it–and if you want a new way to beat the summer heat, try the sparkling hard ciders from 1911 Spirits, a fifth-generation, family-run business in the rolling hills of LaFayette. Built on a history of innovation and “pushing the envelope,” 1911 is producing four premium flavors of sparkling hard ciders, with a promise of more to come. For those new to these “sparkling ciders” the Europeans have been savoring for years, 1911 invites you to its 1911 Tasting Room for an introduction and history lesson in the production of sparkling hard ciders. Starting with handpicked apples from their very own orchards, refreshing sweet cider is housed and fermented in steel tanks for a specific duration, depending on flavor profile. All ciders available for tasting have a basis in herbaceous fruit, and all complement summertime light lunch and dinner fare.
Sparkling hard ciders shouldn’t be too sweet or too tannic but have the right amount of acidity and complexity. Throw in an air of mystery, add bubbles, keep it fresh and local, and you have the offerings at the 1911 Tasting Room. Start off with 1911 Founders’ Reserve Heritage Dry, a sparkling hard cider fermented in stainless steel and aged in French and American oak barrels. Because of its crisp finish, this cider pairs well with chicken, Thai cuisine and seafood. But if you’re adventurous, mix it with any fruit juice (peach, mango, cranberry) for a riff on the traditional Bellini or Mimosa breakfast cocktail. Next taste the 1911 Founders’ Reserve Hopped, but this sparking hard cider bears little resemblance to hoppy beers you may already know. This “session beer,” as it is commonly called, combines American bittering and aromatic hops, but brings forth a floral nose and subtle sweetness. Try it with burgers and other grilled meats. Next up is 1911 Founders’ Reserve Rose, a sparkling hard cider made with locally grown grapes that give it its rosy coloring; this cider has flavors of strawberry and pomegranate and pairs well with a cheese or charcuterie plate. Add a sunny, relaxing, lazy summer day and you’re got it “made in the shade.” Lastly is 1911 Founders’ Reserve Sweet Apple, bursting with fresh-picked apple sweetness. Macerate fruit in this sparkling cider or mix up a fruity sangria with this as its base.
Thirsty yet? Then get your sparking hard cider fix at the 1911 Tasting Room. Tastings are offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 11am-5pm, with tastings expanding at the end of August to 7 days a week, 10am-6pm.
Patti Dorazio is a recently retired technical communication professor from SUNY Institute of Technology who now has time to fulfill dreams of writing pieces about culinary arts and to continue to practice her cooking skills.