The taps at Riverhead Ciderhouse. (Credit: David Benthal)
When you take time during harvest season to savor a glass of apple cider, you’re having a beverage enjoyed by people on the North Fork since European settlers brought cuttings from home, and began keeping orchards here.
These days, you can get your cider hard or soft, hot, cold or even frozen, and with daytime temperatures still getting into the 70s, a cider slushie really hits the spot after a long day of harvesting.
Here are five special ciders to try this fall.
Drink your cider any way you please at Breeze Hill, where it’s available hot, cold or frozen. On a warm fall day, the tangy sweet cider slushie from Breeze Hill is especially satisfying. The farm has 72 acres of apple orchards in Peconic with a farmhouse and farm stand out of central casting. The stand offers at least six varieties of apples, local fruits and vegetables as well as apple cider donuts and pies.
31215 County Rd 48, Peconic, NY 11958, breezehillfarmpreserve.com
Briermere sells apple cider and slushies made from the fruit grown on the farm. Their cider includes a mix of apples from the many varieties they grow, including New York’s heirloom apple, the Newtown Pippen. The baked goods use fruit grown on the acres of rolling land that stretches from the back of the farm stand nearly to the Long Island Sound.
4414 Sound Ave., Riverhead, NY 11901, briermerefarms.com
For the sheer number of hard cider flavors, Riverhead Ciderhouse takes the lead. Currently on tap are twelve flavors of hard cider, including a pineapple flavored cider (6% abv) a spiced cider, (6.8%) a peanut butter and jelly-infused cider (6%) and a blackberry and habanero-infused cider (6.8%).
2711 Sound Ave., Calverton, (631) 591-0217, riverheadcider.com
Wickhams Fruit Farm
Using a cider press that has been in operation on the North Fork since 1908, Wickham’s uses a mix of the dizzying variety of apples they grow to make an outstanding sweet cider for drinking and cooking. Nothing but apples in this cider, not even preservatives, so enjoy it promptly.
28700 Main Road, Cutchogue, wickhamsfruitfarm.com
Although made from apples, just like cider slushies you can get down the road, the Woodside Orchards hard traditional cider is a champagne-like beverage that is dry and sophisticated. Using wine-making techniques of blending and monitoring sugar values, the cider maker aims for an ABV of 6.8% in every batch. A beautiful straw color, it’s an elegant pour to have on hand, especially for gluten-free friends.
29 Main Road, Aquebogue, (631) 722-5770, woodsideorchards.com