Cider & Mexican Cuisine? It may seem quirky but it’s an on-point and irresistible pairing.
American cider and Mexican food are two of this continent’s greatest contributions to the culinary world. Yes, we said that. And it’s true! The crunch, zip, and savory freshness of Mexican cuisine mirrors the diversity of heritage cider in the US.
We love that heritage cider and Mexican cuisine are both easy to love and not fussy. There is a perfect cider for every fast taco and slow braise.
So let’s get down to it. Dive into our favorite and very tasty pairings!
When have you ever said "no" to guac? Creamy with avocado and bright with lime & fresh cilantro, guacamole is irresistible. When pairing with guacamole, look for a cider that has bright acidity. South Hill Bluegrass Russet is light and refreshing yet crisp and sharp enough to balance the richness of avocado goodness.
Come to think of it, we’ve never said no to a taco either. Have you? We dig tacos al Pastor with a sip of cider. The slowly-roasted pork spiced with chilies, cumin, oregano and sweet pineapple is balanced deliciously with Liberty’s Kingston Black. This cider’s earthy notes complement the pork... while its ripe pineapple flavor matches the pineapple found in this street food favorite. We also love tender pork carnitas tacos. Filled with pork simmered slowly until tender and savory, how can you say no? Carnitas tacos find their perfect partner in Carr’s Bittersweet Blend. This earthy, funky cider has notes of leather and mushroom that pair incredibly with the pork, especially when cut with onion and lime. Grilled fish tacos are light, bright and happy. But what goes with them? Try matching the combo of fresh fish, crunchy cabbage &warm tortillas with a perry (that's cider made from pears). Snowdrift’s Seckel Perry is herbaceous yet sweet with notes of parsley, celery and honeydew. The savory sweet combination balances the lightly salty tastes of a taco de pescado.
Dark as night, chocolaty mole negro sauce is the traditional state dish of Oaxaca. Complicated to make and full of spice, mole negro makes just about anything crave-able – whether it’s served over enchiladas or tamales, pork or chicken. To stand up to the rich, intense mole sauce, you have to go with a cider that can hold its own, like Redbyrd Still Barrel. This still cider has a balance of citrus and oak notes and a sharp acidity that cuts through a mesmerizing mole. Each will shine better for the other.
Perhaps what cider & Mexican cuisine have most in common is that it’s very hard to say no to either. Quesadillas are addictive bubbly pockets of cheese (and other ingredients) inside crispy tortillas. Cheese is a favorite cider partner and the generally-mild cheeses often used in quesadillas translate to a range of cider options. Our go-to is usually a mushroom quesadilla... which is when we reach for Slyboro’s La Sainte Terre. This lush, opulent cider mirrors the texture of the creamy cheese, while its sweetness helps bring the tortilla’s subtle sweetness to the forefront.
Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)
All the rage today is Elotes, a classic Mexican street dish. If you haven’t devoured it yet, it’s a full cob of corn roasted over an open grill and lavishly coated with salt, chile powder, butter, cotija cheese and lime juice. Think corn on the cob, kicked up to the next level. The combination of sweet corn + salty cheese + spicy chile is addictive. We recommend balancing its crunchy, sweet & salty flavors with the tart sweetness of Eaglemount’s Rhubarb Cider. It’s the perfect balance of opposites that makes each shine: the cider ying to the Elote yang.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. We want to inspire you to explore fine cider, beyond its traditional pairings of cheese and autumn dishes. Fine, heritage cider is a delightful and diverse world with a range of different taste profiles that make it ideal for unexpected pairings. And the staggering array of techniques and ingredients found in Mexican cuisine makes it perfect muse for diving down the rabbit hole of fine cider pairings. Sip, savor and enjoy!