Drink to Fall With the Hudson Valley’s Apple Ciders, Liquors, and Spirits
Get your apple-a-day fix in cocktail form with locally produced gins, vodkas, and applejacks.
Adobe Stock / Brent Hofacker
There are so many reasons to love apple season in the Hudson Valley. While apple picking and cider donuts might hold the top spots on our list, they face stiff competition with the region’s seasonal, booze-filled sips. Giving new meaning to the notion of an apple a day, the Valley’s cideries and distilleries brew and bottle fruit-infused drinks that make the most of fall’s favorite flavor.
Ready to find the perfect pairing for that slice of apple pie? Take a drink of these adult-approved Hudson Valley drinks.
Photo courtesy of Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery
Warwick Valley Winey & Distillery, Warwick
Made by the vino connoisseurs at Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, Doc’s is an award-winning, semi-dry cider powered by Hudson Valley apples. A naturally gluten-free drink, it has a delicate flavor that stands just as nicely on its own as it does with salads and sandwiches. Start off with the signature hard apple cider, which is clean and effervescent, then switch things up with the pear cider or, when it’s in season, the pumpkin cider made with allspice, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
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American Fruits Distillery, Warwick
Part of the microcosm of craft alcohol production at Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery, American Fruits Distillery specializes in fruit-based brandies and liqueurs. For fall, there’s nothing better to sip than the apple liqueur, which works wonderfully as an aperitif of after-dinner drink. It’s made from a mix of fermented Hudson Valley cider and the distillery’s apple brandy, then aged in bourbon barrels. The result is the ultimate autumnal dessert wine that leaves just a touch of smoky caramel flavor on the tongue.
Tuthilltown Spirits, Gardiner
Just because Tuthilltown is known for its bourbon doesn’t mean it can’t make a mean apple vodka, too. This one is made entirely with Hudson Valley apples from Tantillo’s Farm and surrounding orchards. After being pressed and fermented as cider, the drink is twice distilled to preserve the fruit’s essence, so much so that the resulting beverage doesn’t require any added flavoring. Stir it into a cosmo or bellini for the perfect #TGIF cocktail this fall.
Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction
What started as a passion project for Fishkill Farms has turned into a hyperlocal hard cider endeavor in Dutchess County. The dry and semi-dry drinks are produced with apples from the farm, which even goes so far as to list the exact varieties that appear in each vintage. Because the batches are on the smaller side, it’s best to scoop up these ciders when they hit shelves. We can’t imagine the Wiccopee, a 2016 dry cider that sparkles lightly with floral notes, will be around for long.
Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery, Valatie
Apples are a thing for Harvest Spirits, which uses them as a base for everything from gin to vodka to vinegar. The newcomer, Distiller’s Reserve Cornelius Applejack, is a showstopping sip that’s twice-distilled and barrel-aged since 2009. Now ready for its grand debut, the 40-percent ABV drink promises rich vanilla flavors that are best enjoyed chilled or neat.
Not a brandy person? Keep it classic with the distillery’s Core Vodka, made with homegrown apples and a triple distillation process, or Core Gin, which is also 100-percent apple-based and has a subtle floral aroma to balance the zip of coriander and lemongrass.
Hudson Valley Distillers, Clermont
In addition to its top-notch corn vodka, Hudson Valley Distillers crafts a classic applejack that ages local apples in white oak barrels. The resulting brew drinks like an apple crisp tastes, with soft touches of cinnamon and vanilla throughout. If bourbon your nightcap of choice, the Hardscrabble Applejack is a must for its rich, smoky butterscotch notes.
Elsewhere on the apple front, the Clermont distillery funnels Hudson Valley apples into smooth Spirits Grove Vodka and Clear Mount Apple Brandy, the latter which has a wonderfully subtle licorice finish. In other words, Hudson Valley Distillers is a one-stop shop when you need to restock the at-home bar this fall.