Americans have been sipping apple cider for three centuries, and at this time of year Michigan’s approximately 113 licensed and inspected cider mills squeeze out a gazillion gallons of the sweet beverage.
Or maybe it’s a gazillion Michigan apples that cider makers press—in carefully guarded combinations—to create their distinct flavors of the natural drink. There’s an art and science to achieving the right blend of acids and sugars in the apples, partially determined by the weather and harvest time.
According to the Michigan Cider Makers’ Guild website, “Michigan has become the model state for the fresh apple cider industry,” and is securing “a reputation as the best cider producer in the nation.” The Guild has 23 members that meet quality standards, attend a cider school conducted by food scientists at Michigan State University, and are committed to preserving the heritage of the beverage and encouraging its appreciation.
Sunday was a beautiful day for a drive so Dad and I visited one of the Guild members, Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill, which has been in business since 1873.
We stuck with the great spice donuts and chilled cider, but I saw lots of folks sipping the sugar-free Cider Slush.
Next time, though, in the interest of research I think I’ll try the hard cider. Michigan ranks with New England and New York as a top U.S. producer of the alcoholic version of the beverage.
Need to hustle, though; most cider mills close for the season by the end of November.
So much sipping to do, so little time.
Sources for locating cider mills in Michigan: