Here at Cold Hollow Cider Mill, it’s all about the apples! It takes great apples to make the base for a delicious apple cider. We have mixed and matched different apple varieties to test out recipes to ensure we’re producing the best traditional and hard ciders possible.
Our apple cider mixture contains 70-80% McIntosh apples with the rest being a mix of other varieties including Cortlands, Honey Crisps, Ginger Golds, Romes, Empires, and Paula Reds. There’s something about the soil and climate of our region that gives McIntosh apples that “snap” that makes the distinctive taste of our cider.
McIntosh apples have a tart flavor and tender white flesh. They are the national apple of Canada, one of America’s most famous apples, and the leading apple variety here in Vermont. Not only are they perfect for ciders, but they make a great pie and the longer they’re left on the tree, the sweeter they’ll be!
Cortland apples are actually an offspring of the McIntosh variety. Also an excellent apple for homemade desserts, the Cortland variety is sweeter than most Macs but still has a hint of tartness.
Developed in the 1940s, the Empire apple is a cross-pollination of the popular Red Delicious and McIntosh varieties. It has a subtle sweet-tart taste that complements the mixture of Maconly cider to bring another layer of complexity.
The apple blend used for hard cider is much more specific than the traditional cider recipe to ensure there is enough acid for the cider to ferment. Our hard cider mixture is a 50/50 combination of McIntosh and Honey Crisp apples. The Honey Crisp apples are what provide the right amount of acid for fermentation. We hope to create a new twist to our original hard cider by using cultivars from Vermont.
We only use tree-picked, hand-selected fruit that meets our standards. We buy apples yearround and in the autumn, we can go through two tractor-trailer loads per day! Apples come to us in 20-bushel bins, weighing around 800 pounds.