Ice cider is a rare and fun treat when done well. It can be made several ways. In the rarest instances, it’s made by allowing the apples to freeze on the trees. This is a highly rare and unreliable technique that requires a lot of cold weather, which is a very unpredictable production factor. It also requires that the apples stay on the tree and in good shape. All of this makes tree frozen Ice Cider a highly rare item.
More commonly, the juice or fermented cider is allowed to chill until the water content freezes which is skimmed off. This process concentrates the sugars and flavors making for a sweeter and more intense experience. If the source apples are great, the finished product, while sweeter than more traditional ciders, can still be quite balanced.
Domaine Dupont, which makes a large variety of French Cidres, includes an Ice Cider in their repertoire. In French, the style is known as Cidre de Glace. Their Cidre de Givre is an excellent example of the style. To produce it, Dupont ferments a special blend of cidre juice in stainless steel tanks. Then the cider is chilled allowing water crystals to form and be separated from the liquid. This happens 8 times before the final product is ready.
Appearance: Tawny amber with a light haze.
Aroma: Brown sugar, baked apples, cinnamon, plums, prunes, tea, caramel.
Taste: Sweet, Mild Acidity, Mild Tannin, no astringency.
Overall Impression: Cidre de Givre is, like Dupont’s other Cidres, another exceptional entry into its category. Givre is sweet, as Ice Ciders should be, but has a very nice balancing acidity to keep it from being cloying. It’s rich and flavorful and would make an excellent addition to a winter evening or a holiday event.
CO2 Levels: Still
Apples: 67% Bittersweets, 33% Sharp apples
Availability: Nationally where ciders from B. United International are sold.
You can read more of my writings about Domaine Dupont here.