Move over Pumpkin Spice Latte - the original beverage of fall is here: apple cider.
While Door County is overtaken by a cherry craze in summer, fall is ruled by apples. Orchards on the peninsula and Washington Island are able to produce a large variety of apples, making for a fun fall destination full of your favorite apple products. Apple pies, caramel apples, applesauce, apple butter, apple crisp and of course, the primary beverage of choice, apple cider.
Apple cider has long been the county’s go-to drink come autumn. The peninsula is home to many family owned and operated orchards that produce a variety of delicious apples. Traditional apple cider is created by boiling apples with sugar, cinnamon and allspice until cooked, and then strained and chilled.
You can buy the local cider in half or full gallons at most orchard markets during harvest season. Some locations offer a twist on the traditional, by adding tart cherry juice for a cherry-apple cider. Seaquist Orchards near Sister Bay hosts an Apple Festival that celebrates all things apple. Or, make a day trip to Washington Island where you can turn your own bucket of apples into cider at the Fall Fun Fest & Cider Pressing Party.
Cider is delicious served over ice or, on a chilly day, warmed in a crockpot with extra spices and orange rounds. The fall flavor is sweet, tart and refreshing, and pairs perfectly with a warm fall meal or to sip around the bonfire. If you’re seeking to imbibe, try your hand at mixology and craft your favorite cocktail using some cider.
The other way to enjoy an adult beverage flavored with local apples is by visiting the Island Orchard Cider tasting room in Ellison Bay. This hard cider producer uses apples from Washington Island and creates a selection of ciders including a dry brut, a sweeter lavender and a dry aged oak cider. The beautiful tasting room is an ideal fall pit-stop after an afternoon of picking your own apples.
Get inspired for the coming fall months with these apple cider ideas:
- Host a cider and cheese pairing using varieties of Wisconsin cheese and hard cider
- Stew pieces of fruit in cider for a delicious topping on ice cream or over a round of warm brie cheese
- Replace orange juice in your mimosa with apple cider for a fall twist on this brunch classic
- Make a warm spiced cider for the fall football game
- Serve half lemonade and half cider over ice for a refreshing take on an Arnold Palmer
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