Friday, December 10, 2010

Hard Cider

Yesterday because our patient census is low, I only worked 1/2 shift.  When I got home I lay down for a nap but the phone rang after about an hour and I couldn't go back to sleep.  I guess an hour is the right amount for a nap anyway. 

There are changes going on in my life.  Good changes.  Not long ago I would have been content to spend a quiet evening at home watching what ever T.V. show I had recorded or maybe check out the movies on my cable.  This is especially true during the winter when it is dark and cold outside.  Yesterday, however, I was feeling restless so I bundled up and walked to my favorite neighborhood bar and grill, Rockwell's.  The waitress is from Missouri and she remembered me, even what I order (the chopped chicken salad) and what dressing I like.  I love going to places where they know me. 

 Recently, I have been trying to find a drink to call my own.  I don't like beer and I can't drink it anyway because of the gluten.  I use to order Amaretto Sours but I find that they are inconsistent.  Besides I tend to drink them very fast and  have several which can get expensive. 

If you read my last blog, you know I bought my roommate some hard cider for taking care of my cats while I was away on vacation, though I think I ended up drinking more of it than she did.  Most of the package places around here and the grocery store carry Wood Chuck which comes from Vermont.  I didn't realize that there were other brands of hard cider until the other night when I was out with a friend  and got a cider called Crispin. Very dry and very, very good.  Much different than Wood Chuck.  So I decided to do some research both on the Internet and of coarse, do some personal taste tests.

Hard cider results from the fermentation of apple juice. Making hard cider is similar to wine making in many respects and easier to make than beer according to one article.  While Cider was once the most popular alcoholic drink in the nation, it all but but died out during Prohibition.  Wood Chuck is one of the earliest modern domestic ciders, appearing on the scene in the 1990's. Wikapedia lists about 35 different brands, domestic and imported.  With in those brands there are often several varieties.

Crispin is made in California from west coast apples.  It is a new company, started in 2008 founded by Joe Heron. “I started looking around around at domestic cider, and it was of really poor quality. Really sweet. You had these traditional sweet brands like Woodchuck or Hornsby’s that weren’t very good. People knew about cider, but nobody was really doing anything to get people to reconsider cider.”  Crispin is trying to raise the bar for cider, fermenting fresh apples juice rather than apple juice from concentrate. 

At Rockwell's when I ordered a hard cider, I received Original Sin from New York.  The alcohol content was a little higher than the Wood Chuck at 6%.  Original Sin has been around since 1997 and has won several awards.  I didn't like it.  I drank it, but I didn't  like it.

I was telling my friend, Carrie, at work about my research.and she, being Irish said she liked an Irish cider, Magners.  So after I got through with my supper and my cider at Rockwell's, I walked down a ways to an Irish Pub and sure enough they had bottled Magners  (Apparently some places have it on tap.) 

Magners, only Irish Cider distributed in the United States has been in production since 1935.  The website says that they use over 17 varieties of apples and after fermenting lets their cider mature for up to 2 years.  I liked the Magner much better than the Original Sin.

Just before I got to the pub, my brother, Bill, called so while I was sitting at the bar, sipping my cider, we had a long conversation about life and memories and religion.  It made my evening.

After the pub, I walked about mile in the other direction to a package liquor store to replenish our supply of Wood Chuck.  The temperature was only 13 degrees but it really didn't seem that cold while I was out and about.  Maybe the alcohol helped, maybe talking to Bill, maybe just walking, getting rid of my restlessness.  I will continue to do my research.  So far my favorite is Crispin.