Cider Spotlight: Merchant’s Daughter Hard Cider
New cider from New York
Merchant’s Daughter Hard Cider launched in fall 2019 offering 3 ciders made from apples grown in New York’s Hudson River Valley. Their Dry and Semi-Dry ciders are a blend of American heirloom (Northern Spy, Winesap, and Arkansas Black) and modern apples (Liberty, Jonagold, and Idared), while the Semi-Sweet Clara’s Reserve 2017 Harvest features Opalescent, Liberty, Honeycrisp and CrimsonCrisp apples.
Christine Sisler (CEO), Dan O’Brien (Head Cidermaker), and Amy Wirtanen (CMO) – who were colleagues in the past – are combining their collective entrepreneurial spirits, business expertise, and beverage industry backgrounds to launch Merchant’s Daughter. They’re working closely with Hudson Valley apple growers, cidermakers, consumers, and retailers to ensure they’re creating cider that matters.
What’s the name about? The Merchant’s Daughter name pays tribute to hard-working women who were and are pillars of support for their families and communities. The daughters of one family in Purdys, NY operated and passed down the local general store through generations. That store has since closed, but the building stands and in 2016 it was given a new purpose as the HQ for Merchant’s Daughter Ciderworks. Merchant’s Daughter, a women-owned business, carries the torch forward in the modern day.
We tried all three ciders available from Merchant’s Daughter. As a new cidery to hit the scene, we were not disappointed. (Full Disclosure: Merchants Daughter sent us samples to taste. Tasting notes are our own and objective.)
Merchant's Daughter Dry Cider
This pale blonde and brilliantly clear cider pours with medium carbonation that lifts delicate floral and honeyed melon notes out of the glass. It has a pleasantly crisp acidity that seems to be borrowed from apricots, green apples, and white grapes all at once. The clean, dry finish is brisk and leaves you wanting more – fortunately it comes in a 750ml bottle and at just 0.3% Residual Sugar (3 g/L; 1g /12oz; 2.25g/750ml) you don’t have to feel guilty enjoying it! This cider is great to sip on its own, especially as we come into warmer weather. A mixed greens salad with walnuts, cranberries, and goat cheese would pair nicely as well.
Merchant's Daughter Semi-Dry Cider
Much like their dry cider, which is made from the same apples, this cider is pale blonde and completely clear with medium carbonation on pouring that dissipates quickly. It packs aromas of fresh green apples, floral pear, and slightly sweet tropical notes. It tastes like fresh, crisp apples all the way. There’s a hint of sweet-tart pineapple. Crisp acidity and just enough sweetness keep that fresh apple flavor intact. It finishes semi-dry with medium body and clean acidity.
This is a great, straightforward cider that will please anyone – 1.9% residual sugar gives it a bit more body and apple-forward flavor than the Dry. A hint of sweetness and clean acidity pair exceptionally well with the earthy, salty, and umami components of vegetable sushi.
Merchant's Daughter Clara’s Reserve Cider
A different apple blend gives this cider a pale straw color, but the brilliant clarity is retained. Medium carbonation lifts both sweet and tart notes of fresh apple to the nose. A sip brings a balance of crisp acidity and natural sweetness together without cancelling either out. Hints of baked apple and tangerines graced our taste buds. The finish is semi-sweet, but not cloying. At 4% RS this cider could be compared to a semi-sweet Riesling or Gewürztraminer. We really enjoyed this bright, mildly sweet cider with Thai yellow curry’s mild spice and earthiness, but if you lean toward sweeter wines and ciders you would really enjoy this cider on its own as well.
Want to try it for yourself? Merchant's Daughter cider ships to 39 states and can be purchased through their website, along with apparel and accessories at merchantsdaughter.com