Everything is coming up rosé lately, from slushies to sorbet, spirits to cocktails (rosé margaritas anyone?), so it seems natural that the fast-growing hard cider industry would grab on to the trend. Greg Hall of Virtue Cider, the Michigan-based artisan maker, is among them.
"We said to ourselves - 'We like beer, we like wine, we like cider, we like it all we can do this! Let's make a rosé cider,'" said Hall, the founder.
Easy to drink, pair-able with picnics and, like, totally Instagram-able, rosé ciders are popping up everywhere.
There are no rules in this new category of cider experimentation. That pretty pink hue can come from apple skins, the introduction of other fruits or botanicals, or artificial color. And the addition of sweeteners, natural and otherwise, is common.
We tasted a bunch of the rosé ciders we found on the market to weed out the laggards - they can taste like bubblegum soda or cough syrup at their worst. Here are our five favorites (in alphabetical order):
Blake's Hard Cider Co. Santa Rosa
5 percent alcohol, Armada, Mich. (500-milliliter bottle)
Blake's ferments this limited-edition cider with Santa Rosa plum skins for a pretty pale color. It is wine-y on the nose and pleasantly sour and ferment-y. Kombucha drinkers take notice.
Citizen Cider bRosé
6.1 percent alcohol, Burlington, Vt. (750-milliliter bottle)
Despite the obnoxious name, this large-format bottle contains an elegant fruity cider with a bright, true pink color; it's fermented with blueberries. The wine drinkers on our panel applaud its resemblance to a sophisticated sparkling rosé.
Crispin Rosé Hard Cider
5 percent alcohol, Colfax, Calif. (12-ounce bottles)
The makers of this widely available, salmon-colored quaffer claim to be "inspired by the traditional Provence style of rosé." Truth be told, it's delicious - with subtle floral notes and a gentle fruity sweetness from the addition of pear cider.
Original Sin Dry Rosé Hard Cider
6.5 percent alcohol, Lafayette, N.Y. (12-ounce cans)
This eye-catching (and sweat-free) can contains a pleasingly tart and pleasantly fizzy cider. Grape skin extracts provide the natural pale peach tone.
Virtue Cider Rosé
6.7 percent alcohol, Fennville, Mich. (12-ounce cans)
Rose gold in color, this cider comes in a pretty, feminine can and is light, dry and easy to drink. Careful though, it's 6.7 percent alcohol is one of the highest.
Note: Some of these ciders have limited distribution. Check with your liquor store for these brands or similar styles.
Lisa Futterman is a freelance writer.
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