Winter feels like it is suddenly upon us and while some of us may be considering hibernation there is a flurry of activity in orchards and cideries up and down the country as this year’s harvest begins the process of becoming Irish Craft Cider.
Quality craft cider is made by fermenting pressed juice from apples, in this way it is much like wine making. Like white wine, cider can be enjoyed all year round. Also much like wine, Irish craft cider reflects the area it comes from and the people who make it.
The orchards of MacIvors Cider were first planted in1855,in “Orchard County” Armagh, and they actually still have a tree from then, still bearing fruit. Since then, apple-growing has been passed down through the generations to Greg MacNeice, who is the current residing cider maker. The blend of apples going into the ciders changes depending on the harvest itself, but around 14 different varieties go into their cider. From your Michelin and Dabinett cider apples (called spitters as they’re so acidic) to your sweet red Katy apples and old varieties as well. MacIvors make a Medium and a Dry cider.
Longueville House Cider is situated on the gentle slope of the Blackwater river valley, on loamy soil over Limestone and Shale bedrock. The free draining loamy limestone soil is perfect for the 20 acres of Dabinett and Michelin apple trees. Once picked the apples are crushed and pressed in an oak cider press machine. The pressed juice is fermented for four months through the natural sugars in the juice and the natural yeast on apples and in the atmosphere before being filtered, carbonated and pasteurised.
Cider is often seen as a thirst quencher when served in a glass filled with ice on a sunny afternoon but craft cider can be so much more. So ditch the ice and just serve your cider chilled to fully enjoy the complex aromas and flavours on offer.If you do need some warming up on these cold winter nights why not spice it up with some mulled cider? Add some all spice, a slice of orange studded with clove and gently warm for a luxurious winter warmer.