Welcome to Imbibe Magazine's between-issues look at liquid culture with drink recipes, news and more. From coffee to cocktails, Imbibe celebrates your world in a glass.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Drink of the Week: Isastegi Cider

As summer starts to wind down, we find ourselves wanting to make the most of the warm weather we have left, not to mention the summertime offerings that go with it, like fresh tomatoes, sweet corn—and Spanish hard cider. If you’re used to English or American versions of this drink, prepare for a shock: Spanish cider has hardly any sweetness to it, veering instead into the realm of mouth-puckering acidity and yeasty notes that are slightly reminiscent of a gueuze beer. It can be hard to find in the U.S., but thankfully De Maison Selections imports the Isastegi brand from the Basque region of Spain.

With its nose full of sour apples and brilliant golden color, Isastegi isn’t about subtlety. Your first taste may seem overpoweringly sour with super-tart apple and grassy notes, followed by a quick scrub of tiny, sharp bubbles. But pair this with a fresh green salad, fried chicken or traditional Basque fried cod cakes, and that acidity suddenly mellows and helps freshen the palate between bites. And, at 6 percent ABV, it’s light enough to enjoy all evening long. Isastegi releases its new vintage of cider in March, and supplies generally run out by the autumn, so take advantage of remaining supplies of this refreshingly tart cider—and that summer sunshine—while you still can. $8.99/750 ml., klwines.com.