Can someone explain why the swill they pass off as cider on the West Coast all tastes like the government issued apple juice served in public school cafeterias?

Autumn always makes me crave the fresh cider pressed at Cold Hollow Cider Mill in Waterbury, Vermont.  I wonder why they can’t reproduce it here in California, with our eternal growing season and vast diversity of apple species, and then I am reminded of the difference in the apples.

The MacIntosh apples back in Vermont taste nothing like the MacIntosh apples here.  I remember my excitement at finding MacIntosh apples at a farmers market in San Francisco, only to take a bite into the sweet, but mostly flavorless fruit.  The Macs back in VT are tart, vibrant and complex, qualities that Cold Hollow attribute to the Champlain Valley terroir.

“Like grapes are to wine, so are the McIntosh apples to our cider! It is the soils of the Champlain Valley that make our McIntosh apples taste the way they do.  Nothing compares to our cider.”

It’s true.  nothing compares to their cider.  I first thought it might be the result of an additive, like MSG or crack, but if you go to the cider mill, you can see that their cider has one ingredient: apple.

I just booked a one-way ticket to Vermont (I’m coming back; I just haven’t booked the return flight yet), and I think I may drive straight from BTV to Cold Hollow. Not only can you drink straight from the presses, but they make fresh apple cider donuts that will blow your mind.

I wonder if Cold Hollow cider is a common cocktail ingredient on the east coast, because I know it would be far superior to any apple juice or nectar I have seen in use as a mixer. I left a bottle of Old Rip in Burlington last time I was there, so when I get back, I’ll probably throw together something like this

Lost in the Orchard

  • 1.5 ounces Old Rip Van Winkle bourbon
  • 1 ounces Cold Hollow apple cider
  • .5 ounces maple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters

Dry shake first 4 ingredients, then shake with ice.  Strain into a small rocks glass and drip bitters onto the foam.

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  1. Holy cow I want this.
    NOTHING compares to that Cold Hollow cider. My mouth is watering (I bet it’s my tastebuds crying) just thinking about it.

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