I was cleaning out the cabinet today and found two bottles of gin hidden in the back behind some sweet vermouth (anyone have a good cocktail that calls for this? I bought the bottle a long time ago, and haven't found a use for it yet). There wasn't much left in the gin bottles, really just an ounce or two, but it was just enough to do a side by side comparison.
First, a little background about gin. As Pasadena chef Onil Chibas mentioned in my interview with him, gin is one of the most interesting spirits available. If you're only familiar with widely available brands like Seagram's, Tanqueray, and Hendrick's (and the two I'm reviewing today), this may not be readily apparent. Gin and tonics aren't exactly the most fashionable drinks these days, and most people make their martinis out of vodka now. But gin offers a wide range of complexity and nuance for those willing to experiment.
Remember these mouth-puckering candy apple delights?
Sure, inevitably the candy would sharpen itself into a mouth-mutilating blade. But despite the pain, as chewy caramel comingled with sweet apple, it was pure bliss.
Johnny Appleseed hard apple cider is an adult version of the the caramel apple candy. In fact, this cider is so candy-like it has more common with a cocktail than it does dry ciders.
Johnny Appleseed is American made. It's a subsidiary of Amhauser-Busch, and crafted in Baldwinsville, New York... the same place Stella's Cidre is sourced from. I sampled this cider on draft. But A-B recommends it on the rocks, again pointing to its cocktailish nature.
Johnny Appleseed Hard Apple Cider
Nose: Sour apples
Taste: Caramel apple suckers + alcohol
Recommendation: This is the perfect cider for people who love sweet drinks, but if dry ciders are your thing, you'll want to look elsewhere.