I attended the Whisky Classic in Morristown, NJ, hosted by the Whisky Guild. I am not sure how many styles of whisky were on hand for tasting, but I would not be overestimating if I guessed somewhere around 100. I tasted some truly spectacular whisky, bourbon, and rye, and am already looking forward to next year’s Whisky Classic. It is a very impressive event, and I encourage anyone to go to a tasting if there is one in your city.
Tucked into a tiny corner of this event, there were a smattering of things to sample that were not whisky. I was pleased to see the producer of Doc’s cider, Warwick Winery. I tend to lean toward cider that is extremely tart and dry, so Doc’s hard apple cider is a little too sweet for my taste. However, I am very fond of their hard pear cider. Jason Grizzanti, director of Warwick Winery, was pouring samples of cordials and liqueurs from their American Fruits Distillery. It was my introduction to this product line.
First was a delicious sweet pear liqueur, that was very much like drinking pear nectar, then a vibrant sour cherry cordial. But then there was my favorite, the black currant cordial. To me, there is something quaint about the word “cordial.” It makes me think of white-gloved ladies passing time sharing their latest news, or the snake-oil salesman’s potion that one would take a nip of now and then to relieve whatever ailment one might be suffering. The black current cordial is all that in a bottle; tart, herbacious and organic.
But Jason wasn’t done with me. “Taste this,” he said as he poured some hard apple cider into my glass of black currant cordial. “This” was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. The sweetness of Doc’s cider is the perfect foil for the tartness of the cordial. It’s not as bubbly as sparkling wine, so there’s none of the nose-tickle. It is simple and straightforward and tastes of orchards and warm weather. This is what we’ll be sharing with our friends when we’re sitting on the deck this summer, passing time.