You've probably heard by now that there is a cider revival in the United States. It seems that every apple-growing county from the Hudson Valley to Wenatchee, Washington has a local producer looking to convert their fields of Golden Delicious into rows of Dabinette or Goldrush. But, unfortunately, many of the city's best bars and restaurants have not caught on and the options at your local pub or wine store may leave you unsatisfied.
So where can you find interesting ciders to try? Who has a good selection to buy or to stay and sip? We combed New York's markets, restaurants, and bottle shops to find the best sources for cider in the city. Here are the highlights.
Cider in the Greenmarket
Thousands of New Yorkers reconnect with the region's farmers through greenmarkets every week. These markets are also the best place to connect to cider firsthand, since you can purchase it from the same orchardists and cider-makers who filled the bottles. Cider is available at several greenmarkets throughout the city, but the most diverse options are available in the Union Square Greenmarket.
The Union Square Greenmarket has a long history with cider. Breezy Hill Orchard, from Staatsburg, NY, was one of the market's founding members and still provide visitors with rustic growler-sized jugs of cider every week. For a more refined, table-friendly bottle, Eve's Cider from Van Etten, NY offer of a variety of ciders from dry to sweet including an outstanding still option. And for the beer geeks getting into cider, newcomers Bad Seed strays from tradition, using beer yeast, barrel aging, and hops in their ciders. Vendors vary from day to day, so be sure to check the Greenmarket website if you're looking for a particular cidery.
New York's Best Cider Stores
While a bottle or two of cider is ubiquitous in finer wine shops throughout the city, finding a truly diverse selection still requires a bit of searching. Thankfully, there are a few stores that have joined the revival and dedicated considerable shelf space to cider. Astor Wines and Spirits has long been a mecca for cider drinkers in NYC with both American and international offerings. This is a great place for cider drinkers to get out of their comfort zone and try an earth Cidre du St. Bernard from Italy or rosy Redfield cider from West County Cider in Massachusetts. Uptown residents can rely on Mister Wright Fine Wines and Spirits for an equally diverse selection of ciders, including offerings from Farnum Hill, Slyboro, and Spanish cider importers Rowan Imports. Mister Wright also offers free in-town delivery so you can get your cider fix without leaving the office.
Probably the most overlooked gem of all the cider shops in the city is Murray's Cheese Shop on Bleecker Street. Over the past few years, Murray's has drastically expanded their beer selection—specializing in craft imports—and has become my Manhattan source for obscure Belgian or Canadian beers. Cider now has a home right next to that selection with over a dozen bottles including offerings from Harvest Moon, a small Finger Lakes producer whose tasty ciders include the dry-hopped Heritage Hops and maple syrup tinted Rippleton Original.
If you're more likely to find yourself in a beer shop than a wine store, you can still start exploring cider. Good Beer, New Beer Distributors, and Whole Foods Market Beer Room on Houston all offer a diverse selection of at least half a dozen bottles. In the outer boroughs, cider selection can be a bit more unreliable, but Park Slope's Bierkraft usually keeps an entire refrigerator dedicated to cider.
The Best NYC Restaurants for Drinking Cider
If you are looking for a curated cider experience, then it's wise to seek the advice of an expert. Restauranteurs are quickly taking notice of the boom in cider and promoting our favorite apple beverage from a single line item under the Beer heading to a whole category of its own. Terroir hosts over a dozen bottles on the menu concentrating on Hudson Valley producers and European offerings from France and Spain. The list at Gramercy Tavern often climbs into the double digits and most of these bottles are available by the glass, making it easy to compare the sweetness of a Pacory Poire Domfront from Normandy against Foggy Ridge's Sweet Stayman from Virginia. In Queens, local favorite The Queens Kickshaw stocks nearly 30 ciders from Virginia, Oregon, New York State, and overseas.
Do you have a favorite spot to drink cider in New York? Help spread the word by sharing your recommendations in the comments section below.