The Best American Ciders

“If you go back 350 years in America, every farm had orchards and everyone drank hard cider,” says Brian Rutzen of the Northman—a new cider pub opening this fall in Chicago, Illinois.

Cider’s on everyone’s lips again, thanks to the classic cocktail resurgence, the “slow food” movement, and even the gluten-free trend. Giant brewers have all gotten involved, and cider-only bars from Seattle to New York City are cropping up.

Where to savor the best adult apple juice across the United States:

> The Midwest:

Michigan is now the third largest apple-growing state behind Washington and New York,” says Rutzen. He recommends Vander Mill cidery out of Spring Lake and Uncle John’s Cider Mill in St. Johns, which offers a tasting room open from May to December and hosts corn mazes in the fall.

At the Northman in Chicago, Rutzen and his team are planning to pour more than 100 labels and offer cider-making classes for those who are curious to try the fruits of their own labor.

New York City

The Big Apple’s first cidery, Descendant Cider Company, opened in 2014 in Queens and features small-batch ciders made entirely from Empire State apples. You can’t tour, but you can drink its ciders in dozens of the city’s bars. Our top choice? The Lower East Side’s Wassail, a sleek cider pub and restaurant that opened in the spring of 2015.

> The Pacific Northwest:

Washington solidifies its reign as America’s Apple Capital with a slew of stand-out ciders. The Olympic Peninsula‘s Finnriver Farm and Cidery, home to more than 4,000 apple and pear trees, mixes botanicals like locally harvested fir tips and rose hips into its blends. The Whitewood Cider Co. will add a tasting room to its operation in Olympia soon.

Split the difference and sample both brands at Seattle’s bar and bottle shop, Capitol Cider. A must-try there: The Manzanas En Fuego cocktail, which combines tequila, apple-chili shrub, lime juice, and Finnriver’s Habanero cider.

> Texas:

Austin Eastciders plans to open a tasting room in artsy East Austin this year. In the meantime, visit Half Step for a Cider Julep—Eastciders Dry, Calvados, sugar, fresh mint, and angostura bitters.

This piece, written by Jenny Adams, first appeared in the October 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveler magazine. 

> You Might Also Enjoy:

Comments

  1. Steve
    uk
    October 15, 2015, 3:15 pm

    In the UK we associate apple pie with the U.S., for sure. But cider? I’ve been to the states many times but never seen anyone there drink cider. I’d be interested in how U.S. cider compares with cider from the west of England (Somerset, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire especially) and Normandy, France, as both these regions produce fantastic cider.

  2. Jessica
    New Hampshire
    October 9, 2015, 1:59 pm

    Totally agree, Eric. No discussion of New England and VA cideries? Sort of like talking broadly about wine and leaving out France and Italy…

  3. Eric
    D.C.
    October 7, 2015, 2:01 pm

    Any discussion, comment or blog about “best” in relation to cider in the U.S. is entirely bogus if it doesn’t include ciders from the Northeast and VA. Indeed, these areas lead the way regarding the use of true cider apples, and cider making techniques. Farnum Hills, Foggy Ridge, Millstone, Blue Bee, Far From the Tree, Castle Hill . . .