Crispin Cider Taste Test/The Empire Builder

May 18, 2010 (Day 108) — The Empire Builder

It is Cocktails, 365’s policy that it always reveal when we receive samples of booze to review for the Website. As we tell those who offer samples, we will accept the liquor for review, but that does not guarantee a positive review. This week Cocktails, 365 received several bottles of Crispin and Fox Barrel ciders. Listed below are the opinions of Cocktails, 365 and no one else. And always, thanks and drink up!

The past two days have been like a second Christmas to me! My Inocente Tequila arrived yesterday. And this morning, I was greeted with a box filled with Crispin Cider and two bottles of Fox Barrel Cider.

It’s like… Boozemas.

… Yom Kipbooze.

… Boozewaa.

… Boozeapalooza.

… It’s like I’m crossing Boozeville on the Boozetown Express, heading to Boozington for a midnight rendebooze at Boozenanza.

Holy hell! It does exist!

But I digress. Crispin has been one of the companies I’ve been dying to try since I discovered their existence a little over a month ago. In the past, my hard cider consumption has been relegated to crappy flavored malt liquors and Woodchuck brand ciders. Not that Woodchuck is bad — far from it actually. However, my experiences in the hard cider realm aren’t nearly as expansive as I’d like them to be. And meanwhile, as the micro-brewery market has all but exploded in the past decade, the hard cider market has remained relatively dormant.

What the hard cider market is currently like.

In an interview with CMTY, Crispin owner Joe Heron said that Crispin Cider is probably the first hard cider company to start using novel beer yeast and natural sugars. And because the hard cider market is relatively sleepy, he was able to take Crispin and set it apart from the others. In that same interview, Heron says his plans are for Cripsin to be the No. 1 cider company in America. Lofty goals. I like that.

But, because it’s something new, we have to do the ritualistic taste test. Prepare the live chicken for sacrifice!

Sorry, wrong ritual.

Get me a glass!

(See the whole review of the neat cider down below)

2 oz Crispin Original

1/2 oz vodka

1/2 oz Starbucks Coffee Liquor

Dash of simple syrup

Stir ingredients together in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled martini glass.

I try my hardest to not be brand-specific — be too brand-specific and you scare people off from trying something that they may really end up liking. And other times, you have to be brand-specific. For example, there was a specific note at the bottom of this recipe:

“Starbucks works here because its a liquor that’s about the coffee first. Something like Kahlua is too sticky-sweet and ruins the effect. It’s completely unintuitive, but the Starbucks actually enhances and highlights the subtle apple essence of Crispin Original. Crispin Original has such a subtle flavor (closer to champagne than the typical brewed hard cider); its all too easy to obliterate it – trust me, this works.”

And who am I to throw caution to the wind and simply disregard the advice of the all-knowing, all-typing mixoligist of Crispin Manor? Does man spit in the face of Zeus?

Plus, I happened to have Starbucks Coffee liqueur on hand, so it worked out for the best.

It’s pleasantly odd. The first taste you get off a sip is of the coffee liquor — which is lighter than Kahlua or a cream-based coffee liqueur. Then, you get the crispness of the cider as an undercurrent, along with the bubbliness. The simple syrup adds just a little bit of sweet, bolstered by the vodka. Use a smoother vodka for a delicious desert drink. I really like it. However, I would caution those less adventurous from trying this one straight out of the gate. The flavor isn’t exactly what you’d expect.

Cheers to Crispin Cider — I’m looking forward to trying the others that came.


Utterly delicious. While most other hard ciders I’ve tasted have very distinct bitter aftertastes, you won’t find any of that on the Crispin. From first drink to last it’s very smooth. One review I read referred to the cider as almost wine-like. I’d echo that statement. I’m reminded of fresh apple cider in the fall, with just a little bit of that alcohol bite. This could be pared with an excellent Thanksgiving meal.

And the best compliment I can give: Jenn loves it. After I made the cocktail, I poured the rest of the bottle into a highball glass filled with ice. Jenn sipped it a couple times. Looked at me. Sipped a few more.

“I could get drunk off this. This is great.”

She was then pleased to find that the nutrition information was printed on the labels, giving her easy access to caloric count. She took a couple more drinks.

“Man, I hope our liquor store starts carrying this soon,” she said. “Seriously! I love it.”

Personally. I concur. I don’t know how I’m going to handle not having this in easy reach.


— Mark


  1. Thanks or the link, Mark. After checking out your blog I realized that I definitely should have started a cocktail blog 🙂

    looks like a lot of fun.


  2. vierthalerphotography says:

    Andy —

    Thanks for the comment and thanks for reading! And it is a lot of fun. Although, I’m digging your blog too.

    All the best,


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