Hard Cider, Reviews

Really Quick Hits: Manoir du Kinkiz – La Cuvée Blanche


I found a bottle of La Cuvée Blanche from Manoir du Kinkiz at a local shop. I was excited to sample a new offering from these guys, as I’d tried their Cornouaille Cidre a couple months back (and have “tried” it a few more times since then). I love a good French cider.

Here’s their description:

This cider is made from a single variety of apple called Guillevic. The Guillevic is an old apple variety known for its golden, almost white juice. It undergoes a slow fermentation, during which it develops complex flavors and aromas that range from wild roses, to white peach, and tart citrus fruit. The “Cuvée Blanche” is fermented dry (brut) and is devoid of any bitterness. Its aromas are particularly elegant, and bring an amazing brightness to the palate. Long ago people referred to this cider as “le champagne de nos campagnes” “the champagne of our countryside”. The Cuvée Blanche should be served cold, and is great accompanied by fruit desserts or even chocolate cake. However it is also good by itself as an aperitif. The combination of the delicate Guillevic apple, low alcohol, and long fermentation give this cider an almost magical lightness.

Our verdict: it’s good, really good. We actually could taste the white peach notes, but that might’ve been because we’d read the label and were primed for it. Either way, it was bubbly, light, sweet, and delicious. Highly recommended.

Here’s another tidbit from this press release:

In Brittany [France], cider is traditionally served in ceramic bowls (Bolée) rather than glasses. However, we often drink it in wine glasses, in order to get the full benefits of all of the aromas in the cider. That said, a pint glass works fine as well.

Cider is often served in Brittany with crepes, or a “Kig ha farz” (local pork stew). Manoir du Kinkiz’s dry crisp ciders are also a great match for roast pork loin, pork chops, turkey, fish & chips, or simply as an aperitif.

I appreciate that they said cider can be served in a pint glass. I’d like to try some La Cuvée Blanche with a nice Kig ha farz, although the pictures I’m finding online don’t make it look very appetizing…




Cider in culture, Cider in the News, Hard Cider, The Hard Cider Business

Hard Cider in India Redux


Last April, we posted about Hard Cider in India. We occasionally (obsessively) check our site stats here at CiderPlex and have noticed quite a lot of people searching for information about the Indian cider scene (or lack thereof).


While we mentioned a couple India-bred cider brands mentioned in this dna article from 2007 such as Tempest and Green Valley Cidery, it appears the Indian market has yet to fully embrace cider. 

Euromonitor International Logo

According to this 2015 Cider/Perry in India Country Report from Euromonitor International (full report available for the low price of $990 — hey expert beverage market analysis isn’t cheap!):

Cider/perry continues to be insignificant in India. Whilst some high-end on-trade outlets offer cider to cater to foreigners, this remains a niche product. The leading alcoholic drinks companies in India are not involved in the production and marketing of cider/perry in India. Imported brands are brought in occasionally through on-trade outlets, although this is dependent on the demand. Given the low awareness of cider/perry in the country, it is not likely that alcoholic drinks companies in India will look to enter the category of cider/perry in a significant way over the forecast period.

Since there is a cider gold-rush going on, people are determined to bring cider to new markets such as India and make a killing.

This 2015 Grant Thorton article profiles British cidermaker Aston Manor Cider’s (makers of Cumpton Oaks Cider) “mission to bring cider to India.” From the article:

Aston Manor Cider in Birmingham is one of the world’s largest independent producers of cider and already exports a range of ciders to more than 20 countries including America, Russia and a number of countries in Africa.

As part of its international growth strategy, it conducted some top-line research into the Indian market several years ago, even going so far as to match the company’s ciders to different curries, but the idea stalled as other priorities overtook the business.

“We were interested in the size of the country, the number of consumers and its strong and growing beer market – we felt there was a natural affinity with cider,” says Managing Director Gordon Johncox. “But we felt India would be a tough nut to crack. We knew the barriers to entry would be quite high and that the business environment would be very different: much less structured, more volatile and fast-moving.”

With the company growing fast, the idea of breaking into India was put on the backburner – until Grant Thornton organised a trade visit to New Delhi earlier this year and offered clients the opportunity to join.

It was the perfect chance for Gordon to test his assumption that India’s young middle classes were ready for a cider drink. Together with Anuj Chande, head of our South Asia Group, and Ben Eason from our Growth 365 service, which supports leaders of fast-growing businesses, the UK contingent met with colleagues at Grant Thornton India and arranged to see a number of local businesses in the food and beverage sector.


So what did Gordon learn about doing business in India?

“India has a very, very large beer market. Premium imported beers are being consumed by younger, more affluent consumers who don’t want to drink what their parents drank. India is a difficult market to enter, no question, but we believe this offers us a fantastic opportunity.

“I’ve also learnt that when it comes to alcohol, each state acts like a separate country with different levels of excise duty, different laws around how alcohol is retailed and, in fact, moving alcohol from state to state is like an import-export transaction. But the size of the prize and the opportunities we saw while we were in India make it absolutely a prize worth going for.”

And does he have any advice for other mid-sized businesses thinking of taking their first step overseas?

“You have to invest time, effort and energy in building relationships at senior level. And that means face-to-face contact and visiting that country.

“You also have to be patient. While the Indian market is growing and developing, it does take time for things to happen. Hang in there with patience and tenacity, and you stand a pretty good chance of getting somewhere.”

Checking out Crumpton Oaks offerings online, I noticed that they sell their cider in 2 liter plastic bottles!! Yech! Just nasty. I’ve said it before: beer and cider shouldn’t be sold in plastic bottles. It’s like when you go to a sporting event and they give you a plastic beer bottle that gets warm in 5 seconds.

Also…gotta say we’re not a huge fan of the name Crumpton Oaks (“crumpton” just doesn’t sound appetizing), BUT I’ve never actually tried it so it’s possible it’s the best cider ever created by man. Who knows?



Applejack, Bars, Hard Cider, Restaurants

Cider List: The NoMad Hotel/Battersby


(Image via NY Times)

We dined last month at the NoMad hotel. The chef is Daniel Humm, chef/co-owner of Eleven Madison Park (New York’s best restaurant, so they say). The design of the hotel was a lovely; I read it was developed by the same team behind the Ace Hotel.

Before dinner, we stopped at the bar. I saw some fine ciders on the list, almost as if they had hired CiderPlex Consulting for a cider consultation (they hadn’t). This being a hotel, I get the sense they were really trying to provide a variety of international ciders.



Here’s the restaurant menu’s cider list:



I had a couple glasses during our meal; one German, one French. I didn’t really keep track, dear readers, so forgive me for not telling you about their specific mouthfeels or whatnot. Rest assured they were delicious and complimented the meal perfectly.


(Image via NoMad Hotel)

About the meal; the NoMad restaurant is known for their Chicken for Two. I love chicken (as I’ve chronicled here before) so we had to order it.

From the NY Times review:

Under a skin of lacquered brown the color of a loaf of challah lies a stuffing of brioche with foie gras and truffles. It is a dish from another era, when chicken breast was still seen as a worthy canvas for great chefs. Taste it and you know why. This is white meat for sybarites. On the side is a fricassee of the dark meat with morels, almost an afterthought. If served at a dark no-reservations tavern in the Village, it would be enough to put the place on the map.

That’s a nice description and I certainly enjoyed the meal, but I honestly think that Rotisserie Georgette has the superior foie gras-stuffed chicken with their Poule De Luxe.


(Image via NY Post)

Coincidentally enough, The NY Post ran a story just this morning about The NoMad Hotel’s bar director’s favorite Thanksgiving cocktail, the Mott & Mulberry. From the article:

“It’s soothing [thanks to nerve-calming whiskey], but has enough of a bite to stave off that food coma for at least a little longer than you’re used to.” Here’s how to make it.

Mott & Mulberry

– Scant ½ oz. lemon juice

– Scant ½ oz. simple syrup (1 part water dissolved in 1 part water)

– ¾ oz. apple cider

– 1 oz. Italian amaro, such as Luxardo Amaro Abano

– 1 oz. rye whiskey

– 3 slices red apple,
for garnish

Combine all ingredients except apples in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, cover and shake. Strain the cocktail into a double rocks glass filled with ice. Skewer the apple slices into a fan shape and place on the rim of the glass. Makes 1 drink.

— Recipe adapted from “The NoMad Cookbook”


(Image also via NY Times)

More recently, we were hanging out in Cobble Hill on Halloween and decided to stop at Battersby for dinner before calling it a night.

They had a small but nice cider list:


I didn’t order any of their ciders, but I did get an applejack cocktail, the Samhain Shandy (applejack, allspice, lemon, ipa). It was nice, a little too allspice-y maybe.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Remember to bring nice bottle of cider to share.


Apples, Hard Cider

Cider Week NYC 2015: Lower East Cider Festival

We made our way to Orchard Street yesterday afternoon to check out Cider Week’s Lower East Cider Festival.

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There was a pretty big crowd gathered. I saw a couple of really long lines for some booths offering cider flights.

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A folk-y band played fiddle-y music and people were doing line-dancing for some reason.

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Wassail was of course representing.


The main reason we stopped by was to pick up a couple gallons of fresh-pressed juice straight from the source, Farnum Hill. We’re gonna make a couple of batches for Christmas using this primo juice.

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There was a rep from Farnum Hill there talking about the apples that went into the juice. The blend was chosen with cider-making in mind and the juice contains the following apple varieties: Dabinett, Chisel Jersey, Yarlington Mill, Calville Blacd’hiver, Wilkson, Esopus Spitzenberg, and Golden Russet!

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Can’t wait to get to work on these!

Announcements, Cider in culture, Hard Cider

Cider Week NYC 2015


Cider Week in New York City is now upon us (November 6 – 15). There are going to be tastings and dinners all over the city featuring some of the best ciders you can find. You can view the full schedule of events here.

I’d love to attend as many Cider Week events as Possible, but this year our time is kinda limited. It’s almost as if I recently had a life-changing (in a good way) experience which is cutting into the time I can devote to cider!

The one event I’m definitely planning to stop by is the Lower East Side Cider Festival taking place this Sunday. Sounds like fun:

Bring the Orchards back to Orchard Street!

Join us for our inaugural festival—free and open to the public— showcasing cider makers and apple growers from the Finger Lakes, Hudson Valley, Long Island and NYC who will be pouring samples along-side restaurants like Back Forty, Huertas, Mission Cantina, Northern Spy, The Queens Kickshaw, Wassail and more serving cider-friendly dishes like basque sausage, oysters and grilled cheese to highlight the pairing qualities of cider.

In addition, the festival will feature a community cider press with rare and unique cider apples provided by Steve Wood, legendary grower and cidermaker of Farnum Hill Ciders

There’s plenty of events for all tastes, but here’s CiderPlex’s personal picks for Cider Week

12PM – 4PM
@Orchard Street, Lower East Side, Manhattan

Meet the brains behind three recently launched local startups and hear how they made the leap without orchards of their own.
@ Wassail

We’ll be welcoming a full array of cider makers, special pours, writers and more for drop-in events all day long as we close out Cider Week NYC. Co-curated by the United States of Cider, Cider Salon will welcome many cider ‘celebrities.’ Tasting areas will be set up throughout Jimmy’s No. 43 as we welcome many premier NY State cider makers to the Cider Salon.

Andy Brennan will share what he has learned from his time spent foraging on many different sites all over the lower Hudson Valley. Talk includes taste of ciders.
@ Wassail