by Ian McNulty
The apple was a leading American crop back in colonial days, and fermented – or hard — cider reigned as the young country’s most common drink through the early 19th century, as New Orleans-based drinks writer Wayne Curtis has documented in “And a Bottle of Rum,” his book on New World spirits. It was easy to produce, it kept well and – then, as now - it certainly helped take the edge off.
It all but disappeared in later generations but, as the growing availability and variety at local bars and grocery stores shows, there is a cider revival now underway.
Next week, on May 15, one of the newer American cider brands, Crispin Cider Co., will be in town for a special tasting dinner at Calcasieu, the private dining venue from the Link Restaurant Group found upstairs from Cochon.
This Crispin Cider Dinner will pair five cider varieties – from a classic English style, to a pear cider, to one made with Irish stout yeast – with five courses from the Calcasieu kitchen, which includes a main course of suckling pig three ways. The dinner starts at 7 p.m. and costs $65 per person, plus tax and tip. For reservations call 588-2188.
Crispin was launched in Minneapolis in 2008 by South African native Joe Heron and has lately been turning up in the New Orleans market. In February, brewing giant MillerCoors bought the company, which now operates it as an independent division.