Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Cider Review: Seattle Cider Company's Basil Mint

The finger lakes region of Upstate New York is experiencing a once in a lifetime drought. The dryness is so much greater than usual that you can see the difference in satellite photographs. But, thunderstorms are coming. While I wait, I want cider that feels extra cool and somehow even more wet. I'm hoping that Seattle Cider Company's Basil Mint will fill this need.

First, let's talk about Seattle Cider Company. They were kind enough to send me this cider in the mail. I wish I could buy their stuff locally. Seattle Cider Company uses Washington state apples, white wine yeasts, and cane sugar. Sometimes they add other ingredients, but the website makes of point of making the ingredients clear and simple. 

You can find out more about ciders on their cleanly designed website:

Previously, I reviewed the Gin Botanical. I was bowled over by not only the creative impulse behind the cider but also its beautiful execution and balance. Feel free to check out the review:

I have a feeling that Basil Mint might share a few features in common with the Gin Botanical, that's partly why I chose it for tonight. We'll have to find out if I'm correct to anticipate cool aquatic herbal notes like I do.
I was struck by the notes and description for this cider. Take a look 

APPLES: Smith, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Gala 
TASTING NOTES: Fermented with fresh basil and mint, this off-dry cider starts savory and floral, complemented perfectly by a tart, clean finish.

Many thanks to Seattle Cider Company for including their list of apples. These are a blend of eating or dessert apples. These are fairly typical choices for west coast ciders where loads of eating fruit is grown.  

As for the description of the Basil Mint, these tasting notes give me a lot to look forward to. And I'm still anticipating some echoes of the Gin Botanical.

Appearance: brilliant, wheaty gold, very few visible bubbles

While this cider appeared very pale when poured into a clear glass vessel, using my cider mug I was able to capture more color.

Aromas: mint, powdered sugar, fresh apples, hops?

Interesting, this smells like sugar, apples, and hops as well as mint. I don't smell a ton of basil.

Sweetness/dryness: sem-dry

I'd call this cider semi-dry but the flavors come from so much more what makes it semi or dry. I'd not go along with the description of off dry though.

Flavors and drinking experience: basil, mint, apple, tartness, balance

The basil appears in the flavor just not the smell. Oh that's so cool. I can taste mint and basil and apple! When I was trained to judge ciders with additional flavors, the number one consideration was balance. We must not lose sight of cider flavors in the pursuit of exciting additions. At the same time, why bother to mix in or coferment if it doesn't fundamentally change the beverage? I applaude Seattle Cider Company for so carefully preparing a drink that allows all of these ingredients to speak so beautifully together.

To go into a bit more detail, in terms of texture, I found a medium intensity of bubble in the Basil Mint. I tasted no tannins. This cider's slightly high acidity kept me on my toes in a very pleasant way. 
What a great cider to keep by my cider as I wait for rain.