Updated September 2019
As the weather turns toward fall, we all look forward to beverages that will warm us from head to toe. Fortunately, central Ohio cider-makers, meaderies, distilleries, and bartenders have you covered!
Mad Moon Cider is based right here in Columbus and produces hard ciders with apples from Hirsch Fruit Farms in Chillicothe. They’re on tap at bars and breweries around town, while their bottles are a common sight at bottle shops and grocery stores.
They don’t just make one type of hard apple cider – they play around with fun flavors and ingredients! The Hop Wired cider uses a citrusy blend of hops to produce a dry finish, while the semi-sweet Unglued Caramel Apple (sounds like fall to us!) includes handmade caramel. Their Beastie Tea is infused with tea to balance out the sweetness.
Brothers Drake Meadery has become Columbus’ go-to for amazing meads and cocktails. They craft their mead from raw Ohio honey, and like Mad Moon, they’ve learned to make sweet, dry, and semi-dry drinks with creative ingredients. The Hopped Ohio is a semi-dry mead hopped with four varieties of hops, while the Bergamot Blue adds blueberries and Scarlet Beebalm for a floral finish.
The Apple Pie – a fall mead if there ever was one – uses cider, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. They’ve even released specialty meads made with local coffees. Brothers Drake takes it a step further with mead cocktails, like the Ohio Gold with Apple Pie mead and Watershed bourbon or the Courtland (named after their street) with OYO Whiskey.
Legend Valley Cider produces European-style ciders in Saint Louisville, Ohio, using apples from the Legend Valley orchards near Utica. Their ciders are available at stores around Columbus. European ciders are drier than most American ciders, more like sweet champagnes.
Their Crisp, for instance, is a dry and somewhat funky English style. The Sweet Apple plays on the honey sweetness of their apples, while the Sour provides a tangier note. They also produce a Cranberry cider with a little tartness to offset the sweet.
When the weather gets cool, you might also think of barrel-aged spirits like bourbons and whiskeys. Columbus has that covered, too! Both Watershed Distillery and Middle West Spirits produce bourbons; the spirits are popular in many cocktails all over the city.
Middle West also produces whiskeys, like their OYO Whiskey and the Oloroso Wheat Whiskey aged first in white oak barrels and then in Oloroso Sherry casks. Watershed recently released the second batch of their Nocino, a spirit made with macerated walnuts steeped with spices in vodka. It’s perfect for mixing into cocktails. (Hint: both distilleries share cocktail recipes on their websites!)
These are a few drinks to get you in the autumn spirit! Of course, when it gets to be fall, we start thinking about all things pumpkin, too…