Big Apple Juice: where's a good French cider selection in NYC?
December 6, 2013 9:29 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a merchant in NYC who sells a good selection of French sparkling hard dry ciders (from Normandy and Brittany). Also great if said merchant has more diverse hard cider options (UK or Scandinavian etc.)

Downtown would be ideal, but I'm open to options anywhere in the NYC area. Finally, among NYC-available ciders you have tried, I would be glad for recommendations.

I recently renewed a long-ago love for the sparkling ciders (apple or pear) of the Normandy and Brittany styles. I was not aware they had undergone an artisanal revolution, with organic producers and traditional techniques etc., but apparently it's a thing in Paris, where I recently encountered several that were stunningly good and had a distinctiveness I'd call terroir if they were wines, paired differently with food, came in varying levels of dryness, still had sediment and yeast lees, that kind of thing.

30 years ago, when I first fell for them, only the good but generic Purpom was imported to the US. Is anyone in NYC developing this, either a wine store or a bar/restaurant, as a niche?

I would also be curious to hear more about artisanal cider in general -- surely there is also a US (and more to the point perhaps, Canadian) version of this happening somewhere? Where can I follow this world online?

Would also take recommendations either in Seattle or the SF Bay Area, by the way, since those are places I go that have better wine and beer and artisanal food scenes than NYC.

Does Washington State or Oregon have a Cider Trail?
posted by spitbull to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I'm excited to hear what other people have to say about this as I've too had a hard time finding those ciders here in the states, albeit in Chicago. Recently however I got pretty lucky and my local chain liquor store had an ok selection of ciders from Normandy. Do you have a large local liquor store? Maybe something like bevmo, but bigger? I'd go to the place with the best selection of wine/spirits not a rinky dink corner store and ask them. I'd bet they could give you a better idea of whats required, either by special ordering or pointing you in the right direction.
posted by Carillon at 9:35 AM on December 6, 2013

My local wine shop in Crown Heights used to carry a few brands. Not a wide selection, but they picked really interesting and unusual stuff. Mostly Basque, if memory serves. It's called Winot, and is on Franklin Avenue near the Franklin Avenue 2/3/4/5 stop. If that's a long schlep for maybe 2-5 different ciders, you may want to call ahead. They are great people and really know their quirky European booze.
posted by Sara C. at 9:39 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

The Queens Kickshaw, a really sweet cafe in Astoria, is very serious about cider. They have several dozen bottles on the menu, and usually a bunch on tap. Very friendly owners -- I'm sure they'd have some tips about the best places to buy retail.
posted by neroli at 9:44 AM on December 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Does Washington State or Oregon have a Cider Trail?

You don't need to go to the West Coast! There are good dry ciders being made in the Fingerlakes region of upstate NY. Offhand, Bellwether Cidery, Eve's Cidery, and Red Byrd Orchard come to mind.

I don't know about the availability of these in NYC, but I'd bet that Bellwether at least can be found.
posted by kestrel251 at 9:47 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

The problem is that cider sort of falls in a gray area between wine and beer in NYS for retail- and as you know in NYS you can't sell them in the same store. I think you actually need a separate license? IDK - Buts its very hit or miss on Cider. Astor generally has an ok selection. Chambers much less so. Crush basically nothing. Those are the places in Manhattan I'd think most likely to have interesting cider.

But off the top of my head there isn't a place that has a big cider selection. Have you got your hands on the Art of Eating article on Norman Ciders from 2 years ago or so? I'd punch those names into wine-searcher and if one retailer has a bunch of them I'd go there.

Basque and Asturian Ciders actually have pretty good distribution, but Norman stuff not so much.
posted by JPD at 10:26 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Eve's Cidery comes to the Union Square greenmarket. I think Astor Wines has some French ciders, as does the Bowery Whole Foods that has a beer store. Eagle Provisions in South Slope has a crazy amount of cider but I am not sure how much of it is French.
posted by mlle valentine at 10:31 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I would also be curious to hear more about artisanal cider in general -- surely there is also a US (and more to the point perhaps, Canadian) version of this happening somewhere?

Consider attending Cider Week NY next year, probably some time in October.
posted by jedicus at 10:33 AM on December 6, 2013

Best answer: The Hudson Valley Cider Alliance is for you. One member, Bad Seed Cider, is at the Fort Greene Greenmarket on Saturdays. Their cider is exceptionally good. I haven't been there in a while but I would guess the beer section of the Bowery Whole Foods has a decent selection. It's at least worth giving them a call.
posted by plastic_animals at 10:40 AM on December 6, 2013

Best answer: A good place to start for Oregon cider: Northwest Cider Association To celebrate our awesome and multiple ciders, we have cider week in the summer.
posted by haplesschild at 11:01 AM on December 6, 2013

Best answer: Lots of cider is produced in Quebec. I like the Cidrerie St-Nicholas bottles, and incidentally that link is from a site about Quebec ciders that may be of interest. (In French.)
posted by snorkmaiden at 11:14 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might call Prospect Heights Beer Works. They had a few shelves of good Ciders upon my last visit - although I can't remember if any were specifically of French origin.
posted by voiceofreason at 11:17 AM on December 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone for some great leads and info so far. I am definitely interested in the Quebec and NYS scenes too. (PS -- links in French are fine!)
posted by spitbull at 4:44 PM on December 6, 2013

Best answer: I've never had a US-made cider that's as truly dry and gamey as a Spanish cider, but maybe they do exist ...

There's a restaurant in NYC supposedly modeled after an Asturian sidreria - Tertulia.

And cider is a thing in Virginia now too!
posted by yarly at 5:04 PM on December 6, 2013

Eastern District in Greenpoint definitely has some--I was just there. I think Murray's Cheese does as well, now that I think of it.
posted by mlle valentine at 1:53 PM on December 7, 2013

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