Bulwarks’s Limited Edition Winter Cider

Today I finished up all my major Christmas shopping, now I only have a few little things to pick up to finish up gifts; humble-bragging for the win.  I did a lot of online shopping this year and (admittedly) more of it ended up being for myself than for others. I always have the best intentions of spending frugally over the buying season but then the ‘I love giving’ feeling gets to me plus I get so tempted with all the sales and holiday products that I splurge on myself as well. Don’t tell my mother, she is a Christmas purest, never buy for yourself at this time of the year. I can hear her now…what if someone was going to surprise you with this, that or the other-thing you like? But I’m over here like ooohhaii can I get a fancy latte with that please…thanks.

IMG_3367I love adding a bit of the homemade into the season, and if I were more organized I would make all my gifts I give. Here’s the thing, making stuff on a deadline and making it perfect is wayyy stressful and often more expensive than just buying something within your budget that your peeps want. It’s a sad reality I learned the hard way. It doesn’t mean you can’t make fabulous homemade gifts because you totally can, but when you are as OCD as me, sometimes it better for everyone if you just shop. I do have baking and candy making planned out for the coming weeks for a few people I know would totally enjoy some sweet treats more than any product I could buy them. Pick your battles.

I feel like a mini-superhero today because this Christmas grouch even got the tree out of the basement and up (Grouch whispers…it only has 3 decorations on it due to the fact I have no clue where our decorations are packed and have no will to play jenga with my storage…. but it’s up!). I also may have written/signed about 50 cards 10 of which will hopefully be sent out in the mail tomorrow.

IMG_3369Bulwarks’s Limited Edition Winter Cider

After this busy day I wanted to chill out with a holiday libation and found this curious addition to the NSLC. Bulwark’s brand cider is a local company that also produces Stutz and they are currently selling a limited edition winter cider which is the perfect thing to relax with after a trip to the mall.

The holiday version seems sweeter than their regular apple cider and I’m not sure if that is due to the mulling spices they use to flavour it, or just because they have intentionally made it less dry. I usually like a cider to be drier but the sweetness complements the spice well and really does bring on the holiday cheer. Because it is sweeter it tastes more apple-y and really reminds me of apple brandy.

The cider seemed less carbonated to me than its original version, but again I don’t mind, it tastes like a completely different product. As far as I know, you can only buy these in individual bottles (500mls) for under $5 a bottle. I chilled mine well before serving but you could serve this warm by gently heating it over the stove. Be careful not to bring to a boil otherwise the alcohol will evaporate. At 7% it has a nice kick and while I did enjoy this holiday beverage, one was definitely enough. Next up I think I’m going to try making a winter sangria with a buttery California chardonnay, this cider and loads of apples.

If you like sweeter drinks or just want to try a beer alternative, or even if you are just a huge cider fan this is definitely worth checking out. Get it while you can, as it won’t be around for long!

This Blog is Five!?!

Happy Monday! It’s officially Summer-time!!! Even the weather in Nova Scotia is acting the part, thanks Momma Nature, you da best.

I want to catch up because a lot has happened these last two weeks. My fifth year anniversary of this blog just passed about a week ago, which is absolutely crazy to me! Five years, devoted to food on the internet. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.

5th Year Blog Anni

Last week I joined a Ladies Beer League, yeahhh girl. If you are in Halifax check out their Facebook page. We convened at Garrison Brewery, and kicked off night by trying a casked version of the Nit-Wit beer they have for the summer.  There was  huge difference in flavour between what you can buy in stores and what we were lucky enough to taste. The casked version they unveiled was fed with honey and elderflower juice/essence and has a sweeter taste, a really red colour. It actually kind of tasted like a red beer with a black-currant syrup stirred in. The bottled version is a Belgium beer, nicely balanced with a bite of citrus and a fine fizzy body, it even has a super cute label.

Nit-Wit

I’ve been restaurant-hoping and went to Indochine two weeks in a row for amazing banh mi. I also visited a fairly new restaurant by Craig Flinn called 2 Doors Down and had an amazing cocktail called Kentucky Royale that was composed of Kentucky bourbon, local black-currant liqueur, cava and orange peel.

I hauled out the lawn chairs and the dog pool, made overnight oats in mason jars (breakfasts for work) and saw the new Star Trek movie.

Day to-day, I’ve been reading and not cooking, lounging in the sun and not cleaning and I’ve been staring at my dogs playing in their pool instead of walking them cause it’s too hot (for them, not me, I love it!). Whether I’ve been reading, lounging or staring at the dogs I’ve been mostly enjoying hard cider with a side of sunshine. This summer is for cocktails and cider, and I really want to do a whole cider week. Scratch that it may take me two!

What is hard cider?

Hard cider is a bubbly alcoholic drink generally made from apples. You can get all types of flavoured ciders, and ciders made from other fruit sources as well as different sweetness and dryness levels.

Ship Builders Cider

Ship Builders Cider

I’m going to start with a local one called Ship Builders Cider. Not to ruin any surprises or anything, but I’m sure this is will remain one of my favorites as my cider reviews go on.

Nova Scotia makes excellent cider in quite a few varieties and per-bottle, this is one of the cheapest. It’s sold in 500mls at your local NSLC for about $3.29 a bottle. I wish you could buy a 6-pack for less but I have only seen individual bottles.

When I got to the cash register, the cashier asked me if I liked Strongbow (traditional English cider which is quite dry). I really do like Strongbow because it’s not sweet and crisp but she said while ‘it’s marketed as being dry, its not’. I took it home anyway expecting to not really like it but wanting to give the local product a chance. I’m really glad I did because this cider is so lovely. For me it’s one of the best ciders I’ve had. It has slightly more apple flavour than Strongbow, with only a touch more sweetness. It’s very acidic which reminds me of a dry riesling. It’s true to its bottles description of being extremely crisp and refreshing, perfect for a summer’s day and makes a great alternative to beer.

After doing some research on the brand, I found it’s actually made by the same company that makes Stutz which is slightly sweeter than Ship Builders. Stutz has been one of my local favorites for a while but I think I’m switching to it’s drier cousin.

If you have never tried cider, I encourage you to check one out. Join me on my Summer mission for the perfect cider, I’m sure you have a local gem in your area!