Monday, May 20, 2013

Cider Review Doc's Draft Cranberry Spice

This is probably far later than anyone was expecting to see a review of a holiday cider, but I ran into this at a New York wine store randomly the other night. We happened to have a cold drizzly night not long after, and I felt like I could really enjoy something both fruity and spicy.

I've reviewed Doc's Draft and written a bit about their brand before, Here is a link to their cider page: but to stay up to date on their news, I'd suggest their Facebook page instead:

The Cranberry Spice is their winter seasonal, and I looked for it casually for months before catching one in May. Here's what they say about their own special flavor, "A unique, hand-crafted holiday spiced hard cider. Made from pressed NY state apples, fresh cranberries and spices fermented with champagne yeast and malice acid to excite the action." I'm curious what the very unspecified spiced blend will include, let's find out.

ABV: 6%

Color and appearance: clear dark pink

When poured, this cider gives a brief appearance of a head that dissipates quickly. Lots of visible bubbles all along the glass at first but these too disappear quickly. The color is lovely.

Aroma: Spice! Cranberry and a surprising hint of wintergreen

The scents of baked goods, especially cinnamon, dominate the cider. I did not smell much apple or fruit, but I did note a secondary element of wintergreen in the spice. A nice wintery smell that does make me think of holiday celebration more than a cool spring night.

Sweet to dry: semi-sweet

The cranberry makes the sweetness very different from most ciders. The sweet and tart come together to keep it from being a true sweet. The Sweet-tart candies actually show some pleasant similarities here.

Flavors and drinking experience: punch-like, tart

This is a beverage more than a cider. Between the cranberry and the spice, there is not much apple flavor. Some cider drinkers would find this to be a fault. I think it merely specifies what this cider is. It is a cider-based punch. Very appropriate for winter parties.

Finish: sour candied apple

The finish on this cider continues to keep sweetness and tartness absolutely side by side and feels like a sour apple candy finish with a shadow underneath of minerals.

Pairs with: Creaminess! Tofurkey! Parties! Though I might have enjoyed this on the last cool night of spring, it truly is a winter cider. I'd drink it with foods with cream sauces. My husband's side of the family (shout out to the amazing Reeds, Laytons, and Troys who share this with me every year) makes Béarnaise sauce a special part of Christmas dinner and I think this could taste very very good with the rich herbed butteriness of Béarnaise sauce. For more info on this wonderful sauce:

As far as ideal activities, take this to an office holiday party; it will be an excellent conversation starter and add something genuinely pleasant and bright to a mix that may or may not be satisfying on its own.

In Conclusion, the Doc's Draft Cranberry Spice's strength of cranberry and spice notes make it really unusually. So unusual that it tastes not very much like a cider, but tasty nonetheless. I enjoyed it for a treat, but I doubt I could make this a staple.