New York is arguably the best cider producing state in the country. At the very least, thanks to a number of cidermakers’ renewed interest in growing actual cider apple varieties, regions like the Finger Lakes and Hudson Valley feature some truly world-class ciders. And yet, New York City, home to almost half of the state’s population, doesn’t offer a true cider experience. After opening in 2015, the Lower East Side’s Wassail finally gave NYC a top-flight cider bar, but alas, the space has unfortunately languished in the past year and is a shell of its former self. Even then, this bar never quite recreated the joys of a lively Basque-style cider house. However, arriving next month, New York City may finally get its Great Cider Hope: After years in the making, Brooklyn Cider House is set to let the cider fly.
As a brand, Brooklyn Cider House has been around for a few years, launched after a trip drinking sidra in Spanish Basque Country led its founders to dream of opening a similar space to these sagardotegis back in Brooklyn. To get its cider business off the ground, ironically, Brooklyn Cider House already has a cidery and tasting room—in New Paltz, New York, in the Hudson Valley. But though this location puts the company closer to Twin Star Orchards where its cider-specific apples are grown, the plan to open in Brooklyn has never wavered—and according to Time Out New York, the 15,000-square-foot space in Bushwick will finally open later this year after nearly a year of delays.
The massive cider house will serve Brooklyn Cider House cider, of course, five varieties in all—but this space will be more than just a tasting room. Like any good sagardotegi, this cider house will have a cidery on site where apples are pressed and the juice naturally fermented into funky goodness. Additionally, just like in Spain, an on-site restaurant will also serve up a Basque-inspired menu: “foods like chorizo cooked in cider, thick steaks, egg tortilla and Spanish cheeses, nuts and cured meats,” according to a New York Times article from last year.
But if you’ve never been to a sagardotegi, what you definitely won’t want to miss is what the Basque call txotx (pronounced “tchotch”). Though the cidery doesn’t use that specific word, its website explains this best part of visiting a Basque-style cider house: “Diners will be seated at casual, communal tables and be invited, by the cider maker, to the tank room between courses to taste a selection of our hand-crafted ciders,” Brooklyn Cider House writes. Yes, nothing beats drinking cider straight from the tanks with other wassailers. Not to say you have to cancel your trip to San Sebastian, but for New Yorkers, it’ll definitely be awesome to get this experience closer to home.
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