Fall is cider season, and this beverage category is trending, with new producers bringing exciting offerings to market. Drink in these cider season concepts.
Cider is an excellent complement to fall flavors, so it makes sense to add a few cider options to your menu. Think about pairing cider similarly to how you pair certain foods with apples. Things like cheese and nutty dishes tend to balance the natural sweetness of cider. With dryer ciders, pair as you would a dry white wine; perhaps with seafood or chicken dishes. But don’t forget the roasted meats and vegetables. These, too, can provide a perfect foil for the varieties of flavors found in your glass of cider.
Guests will be looking for those fall flavors, so bring them to the table by cooking with cider! Apple cider can bring sweetness and even a bit of acidity to sauces, especially barbecue sauce, as well as vinaigrettes. Apple cider vinegar, in particular, will give a dish tartness, and it’s pretty easy to make your own from apple scraps if you have the time and space. And don’t forget about dessert — apple cider donuts are one of the truest joys of autumn, and a dessert that uses them as a jumping off point (maybe served warm with some honey ice cream) is bound to be a big seller.
As guests become more familiar with hard ciders, they’ll be looking for opportunities to sample various brands and types. Work with your beverage team to identify exceptional ciders that would work well on your fall and winter menu, and provide educational opportunities for staff to explore and learn more about cider so that they’ll be better able to sell it to guests.
Likewise, your guests may also appreciate the opportunity to learn about cider, so consider hosting ticketed cider tastings paired with snacks or even weekly cider-focused happy hours to share your expertise with the public.
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find local cider events. In Virginia, there are fall cider weeks where participating restaurants can list their events on a central website and enjoy promotions. Look for ways to connect with others who are promoting cider-themed events and see how you can participate or consider starting your own. Spread the word on social media, in your e-newsletter, and by sending a note to local press and influencers.