As I was walking through the grocery store last week, I passed a guy serving samples of Crispin Hard Apple Cider. I’m not a regular cider drinker, but on occasion, I can really get into a tall glass of Woodchuk or Blackthorn Dry. On that particular day, maybe it was because taking care of Jack had been unusually trying, or because the outside temperature was pushing 105 degrees. Whatever the reason, my little sample cup of Crispin Cider was like … how can I put it so you’ll understand? … it was like thinking you’re about to get pulled over for speeding and then seeing the cop signal to the car behind you. Yes, it gave me that kind of relief.
Cider–in short–is fermented apple juice. It originated in England several hundred years ago and is still popular there today. Although it isn’t hugely popular in the United States, there is a definite loyal following.
Now, let’s get specific. Crispin Cider is marketed as a “super-premium” and “all natural” beverage. Although I’m not sure what “super premium” means, the all-natural claim is legit. Crispin cider is naturally fermented using fresh apple juice (not from concentrate) with no added sugar, colorants, preservatives, or “other” added alcohol. Crispin comes in three varieties: Original Crisp (5% alcohol), Light Bright (3.2% alcohol), and Brut Extra-Dry (5.5% alcohol). I sampled the Original and the Brut at the grocery store. Both were delightfully crisp, clean, and bubbly, with a distinct green apple flavor. The Original was indeed sweet, but not in a syrupy wine-cooler way. The Brut had more than a hint of sweetness but, as promised, was sufficiently dry.
I purchased a four-pack of the Brut for $6.99, which–when compared to the price of a bottle of mid-range white wine or champagne–is quite reasonable. Crispin recommends that the cider should be served over ice, so that is what I did. I also added a squeeze of lemon for a little extra punch. The result? A pure, crisp, clean, thirst-quenching treat. The one downside to this drink, if there is one, is that the clear bottle and blue label reminded me of Zima. For a split second, I was back in college, sharing a six-pack of the infamous beer alternative with my best friend Jenna, wondering if we should drop a jolly rancher into the bottle for extra flavor. (Yes, I am cringing just thinking about this.) Barring that unfortunate association, Crispin Hard Cider definitely gets my vote!