Celebrate the New Year with Americana

Sure, you could ring in the new year with some California “champagne,” or Italian prosecco, or even if you can afford it, real champagne from the Champagne region of France.

But I propose a less expensive, tastier, and more historic celebratory beverage: hard cider.

Cider used to be the beverage of choice for most Americans for all of the 18th and most of the 19th century. In fact, Johnny Appleseed was actually planting hard cider orchards, not eating apple orchards, as he only planted trees from seed. Apples are so genetically diverse that they can’t reproduce the same fruit from seed. Each apple grown from seed is entirely different from its parent tree. Which is why the age-old art of grafting is used to basically clone all of the eating apples we know today. And many more.

Hard cider is generally made from apples classified as “dry.” In fact, sometimes the most horrible tasting apples make the best cider. Hard cider can be dry or lightly sweet and is usually made with champagne yeast, which makes for a lightly bubbly drink. Perfect for New Year’s. It’s even the perfect color: a deep golden yellow.

My personal favorite is hard apple cider from Fly Creek Cider Mill in Fly Creek, NY (just a few miles outside of Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame). But these days just about anywhere there are apple orchards, you can find hard cider producers. In fact, here is a decent list of cider producers around the U.S. and Canada.

Support the revival! And raise a glass of apple bubbly this New Year’s Eve. I know I will.

So from all of us at FarmHouse to all of you: Happy New Year! 

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