At the Walden cider house, the brains behind Angry Orchard have been known to experiment, producing ciders that never hit the mass market. And, since 2016, the brand has been taking advantage of the Hudson Valley’s winter cold snaps to create ice cider. Released every two years, the apple-forward, sugary drink has been released for only the second time ever in 2020—and it’s still available while supplies last.
First produced in Quebec and inspired by German ice wines, ice ciders are made by cryo-extraction (allowing fruit to freeze on the trees before pressing) or cryo-concentration, where pressed apple juice is frozen and thawed so that the first few gallons of thawed juice have concentrated sugar content and flavor.
At Angry Orchard, cider makers employ the latter technique, freezing juice from a blend of McIntosh, Golden Delicious, Northern Spy, and other culinary varieties, often by leaving it out in the orchard during a few cold winter days. From there, the thawed juice is fermented to around 10-percent ABV, then aged for up to two years in French oak barrels.
The amber-colored cider—perfect for after-dinner drinks or pairing with a blue cheese plate—can be pre-ordered online for pickup at the Walden location. A 375 ml bottle costs $36.