Paired perfectly with pumpkin patches, meandering through apple orchards and Thanksgiving turkey, apple cider is a signature fall flavor. But have you ever wondered how apple cider is made? We visited Jericho Cider Mill in Jericho, N.Y., where they have been making cider for 200 years, to find out.
How to Make Apple Cider
Located alongside busy Jericho Turnpike, Jericho Cider Mill beckons passersby to stop in. The scent of apples being freshly pressed and baked into pies surrounds the roadside farm stand, stocked with pumpkins, gourds, and bin after bin of apple variety. If you can’t make it to the apple orchard to pick your own this year, you’ll find plenty here.
Inside the store, you can fill your basket with jugs of cider and baked goods prepared on site, from pies to turnovers, and of course, apple cider doughnuts. If you have time to spend, take your treats to one of the picnic tables outside to enjoy with a coffee, hot apple cider or frozen apple cider slushie.
In the back, hundreds of New York state apples are turned into cider. Two-thousand gallons are made per day, every day during the busy season, according to Kerry Ketsoglou, vice president of the mill. On a quick walk-through of the facility, Ketsoglou took us through the basic steps of the cider-making process.
While not quite the same sweet drink we associate with fall festivals and farmers markets, people have been enjoying cider for centuries. History shows that our ancestors sipped on a boozy variety, brewed to make bitter apples more palatable.
Prohibition put a halt to production of alcoholic apple cider, and though it took a while to bounce back, hard cider has made a serious comeback. Take a look at our favorite Northeast cideries, where you can sample some of the best around.
So, what makes cider, well, cider? Unlike apple juice, the fresh-pressed juice used for cider is not filtered and has no water or preservatives added. That’s what gives sweet apple cider its unadulterated apple flavor, like biting directly into the fruit.
See How Apple Cider Is Made at a Cider Mill Near You
Jericho Cider Mill
Fly Creek Cider Mill & Orchard
Fly Creek, N.Y.
B.F. Clyde’s Cider Mill
Old Mystic, Conn.
Melick’s Town Farm
The Hard-Pressed Cider Company
Bashista Orchards & Cider Mill
Apple Cider Recipes
Besides drinking it straight, there are lots of delicious ways you can use apple cider. Once you’re all stocked up from the nearest cider mill, here a few recipes to get you inspired.
Apple Cider Doughnuts (The Kitchn)
Apple Cider Bundt Cake (Tutti Dolci)
Apple Cider Cookies (Betty Crocker)
Apple Cider With Mulling Spices (Magnolia)
Apple Cider Cupcakes (Tasty)
Enjoyed warm and mulled with spices or straight from the fridge, apple cider is the kind of drink that makes you feel cozy and festive, perfect for when the crunching leaves beneath your feet signal chillier days ahead.
What is you favorite local cider mill? Tell us in the comments.
For everything fall, head over to the Your AAA Fall Fest!