Few things capture the sunny mood of summer like shellfish. Cider’s freshness & minerality make it the perfect partner to bring to life summer by the sea.
Briny Oysters on the Half Shell
Oysters have endless possibilities. Served simply shucked, their great range of flavors shines through. Like apples, oysters taste differently depending on where they come from. Yet oysters can be subtle - you need a drink pairing that will complement, not smother their delicate flavor. So it's good to know that cider is the perfect pairing because it allows the terroir of the oyster to shine through without overpowering it with alcohol or hops. For an ocean-laden Atlantic oyster, try Orchard Hill Gold Label, an amazing semi-dry traditional method cider from the Western Hudson Valley. The oysters bring out the limestone minerality of the cider. Smaller West Coast oysters are a great match for the crunchy cranberry and juicy watermelon flavors of Snowdrift’s Red Cider, which is made from a single variety of naturally red-fleshed apple.
Simple Steamed Shrimp
Summer is shrimp season and cider is an incredibly flexible pairing partner. Shrimp’s balance of sweetness and salinity mirrors some of America’s finest ciders. Chilled shrimp, simply steamed, would be great with Slyboro’s Night Pasture. Made from some of the oldest trees in their orchard, this blend of Northern Spy, Golden Delicious and European cider apples, is minerally and loaded with notes of honey, white pepper and desert flowers.
Spicy, Buttery Shrimp
In the mood for decadent shrimp? Try New Orleans-style grilled shrimp, loaded with butter, garlic, black pepper, chili and Worcestershire sauce and pair it with Liberty’s Columbia Crabapple Reserve. Creamy and tropical, it is exploding with exotic spices and holds up to the punch of Louisiana.
Meaty, creamy mussels are one of summer’s true gifts. Picking through the shells is half the fun! The Puget Sound is home to some of the country’s best mussels, so it is fitting to pair them with ciders made locally. An easy, traditional way to prepare mussels is with a little garlic and white wine... but now try it with cider! Alpenfire’s Glow is made from Aerlie Red apples, whose delicate red fruit and clean finish pairs great with the garlicky mussels. Or go a little spicy. You can cook your mussels in curry and coconut milk and pair them with Puget Sound’s Eaglemount’s Ginger Cider. The spicy, fruity flavors of the ginger makes this cider an awesome partner for curry's complexity.
New England Clambake
Clambakes - piled high with lobster, clams, corn and potatoes - are a New England summertime tradition. Beyond warm sun and cool beach breeze, the only other must-have is a bottle of Carr’s Wild Apple Blend. Like clambakes, foraged and wild seedling cider is a tradition that dates back to the settling of New England. This wild, earthy cider is a great treat to celebrate the peak of summer.