Cider Appreciation Day… Interview With Jimmy!

Looking ahead to our Cider Appreciation Day on June 23, Jimmy Carbone—the man himself—gave us his own take on appreciating the 400-year-old brew. (For a great history of Cider in America—or the Colonies—check out this article in Beer Advocate.)

What is Cider Appreciation Day and how did it get started?

Hard cider—really good, European-style hard cider—is underappreciated.  It seems like a good idea to showcase some of the better French (Dupont), English, and American ciders (Farnum Hill among others) in one evening.

When was the first time you tried Cider and what was your impression?

I haven’t been a big fan of American Cider. I first tried the French Dupont Ciders (imported by B United in Connecticut) a few years ago. The best ones balance tartness with fruit. There are several Cider makers in New England (Farnum Hill in particular), who are approximating traditional European hard ciders. New York state has the potential to be a major producer of hard cider. In fact, I was interviewed about the New York Cider scene for Edible Manhattan back in January!

Do you ever mix and match cider with traditional brews?

One of my favorite Cider products is the French “Pommeau,” a blend of hard cider and Calvados. At a Slow Food 100-mile dinner a few years ago at Jimmys no 43, Ed Yowell invented the “Local Jack”: Slyboro Sparkling Cider (Vermont—another favorite New England producer) with orange bitters and Apple Jack from New Jersey.

What’s your favorite Cider-Food pairing?

Braise pork ribs in a hard cider and molasses marinade. Slow roast. Eat accompanied by the same cider.

Do you think there’s one apple that makes a better Cider?

Apples?  I’m just learning that Johnny Appleseed walked the northeast planting Cider apples and not eating them! They’re different. Cider apples have less water, more tartness.

What are your favorite commercial Ciders?

I like Original Sin Cider and Crispin Cider, both of which we’ll feature at the cider appreciation day!