Core Values: Gabe Takes Us through the Ciders of the Season

Gabe Gerry, Staff Writer

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Apple cider is a fall time favorite. It pairs perfectly with everything fall — flannels, pumpkin spice lattes, and colorful leaves. That being said, the range of choices when it comes to this delicious drink are endless, and can sometimes be overwhelming. That’s where I come in. This weekend, I tasted three different apple ciders to see which was best, and to save you a bit of time trying to decide which of the many options to buy.

Now, to set some standards for the perfect apple cider. First off, the cider must taste good two ways: warmed up and ice cold. Either way, they need to hold their taste. A good cider should be sweet, but not overpoweringly sweet. One of the most important things is that the cider tastes like apples. I want to know that this is APPLE cider — not just water with some apple flavor. 

First up is the Stop & Shop brand Apple Cider. It comes in 1 or ½ gallon clear jugs, with the ½ gallon coming in at $2.49 and the one gallon at $4.99, respectively. Right off the bat, this is a steal: at least a dollar cheaper than the other competitors, which makes it perfect to bring to a cross country race or other sporting event. But back to the actual cider. The look of the cider was quite disappointing, frankly. It appeared fairly thin, almost like apple juice, and the sediment at the bottom was a bit disconcerting. which seems gross but gives it taste and texture. First sip: underwhelming, to say the least. All I taste is sweet, sweet, sweet, with only a bit of a bitter apple aftertaste. Despite that, it was still an average cider. Not great, but not horrible. Heated up, it’s again good, but not great. It does lose a bit of sweetness when warmed, but very little. To be completely honest, the cider’s one saving grace is its reasonable price. 5½ / 10

Next up is Hilltop Orchards, available for purchase at Wild Oats. A “fancier” store means a higher price, so for a 1⁄2 gallon of cider it is $3.99. Not as cheap as the Stop & Shop cider, so the real question is: is it worth it? The first sip is definitely not as sweet, and it carries a very refreshing crisp apple taste. Unfortunately, it does have a strange, almost bitter aftertaste. Other than that, it is an amazing cider. It holds up well heated up and keeps the delicious apple taste. Perfect for a cool fall afternoon. Overall, a good cider, but probably not worth spending that money on. 7½ / 10. 

 Finally, Jaeschke’s Orchard cider. It is available at most stores for a nice middle price of $3.49. First sip: wow, I’m impressed. It has the perfect amount of sweetness, while still holding that authentic apple taste. Not as fresh as, say, homemade apple cider, but pretty close. You can tell that the cider is from fresh Berkshire apples, from just down the road. When heated up, it again checks all the boxes of what makes a great cider. My family gets it whenever it is available and it usually stays in stores until at least January. Definitely worth the extra dollar over the Stop & Shop brand cider. At last, the perfect cider. 9.2/10