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Ice Cider Ideas

February 19, 2018

Ice cider is a flavorful dessert wine made from the concentrate of cider frozen in Vermont’s winters. It originated in southern Quebec, and Eleanor Leger of Eden Specialty Ciders has been leading the work to make it a Vermont signature product. We asked her what she’s seen for successful strategies in selling more ice ciders on restaurant menus, and here are some of the ideas (edited and with additional resources added by VFN). Just in time for Vermont Cider Week, kicking off February 22nd, and the Vermont Wine events happening the last week of March.

Are you a restaurant or other VFN eatery inspired by Ice Cider? Consider joining our Vermont Wine promotions in March - e-mail helen@vermontfresh.net

Basics of Ice Cider

Opportunities for Restaurants

  • Ice cider is unique in the world to our region, Southern Quebec and Vermont

  • Dessert wines are add-on sales, increasing the average ticket amount

  • Ice cider presents interesting pairing opportunities for tasting menus and special dinners, including with Vermont’s stand out foods of cheeses, salumi, and maple.

  • Ice cider in cocktails brings high intensity flavor and some sweetness in a very small amount.

Promotions that Work
Some successful tactics learned over the years

  • List ice cider by the glass on the dessert menu with other dessert / end of meal drinks.

  • Even better, recommend pairings with the desserts on the menu. Ice cider pairs well with anything that would go well with apples - apple cakes, apple/ pear tart, bread pudding, maple creme brulee, cheesecake, anything with salted caramel.

  • For a table that is out for a special occasion, pour tiny .5 oz. samples for them at the end of the meal. The percent who will order a glass or bottle is high enough to justify it, plus it feels like you've done something special for them

  • Incorporate a small shot of ice cider in the dessert dish.  That covers the cost, and often the customer will order a glass having tasted it.

  • Use ice cider on tasting menus or for pairing dinners. In addition to a cheese course or desserts, it is a classic pairing for foie gras, cheese souffle, and other high fat and salt dishes.  

  • Use 1/2 oz. of ice cider in a cocktail for a burst of apple flavor and sweetness. The first cocktail in Vermont made with ice cider was at Stowe Mountain Lodge and blended Vermont vodka with Eden Heirloom ice cider and sweet apple cider.

Other Ice Cider Preparation Ideas

Here we’ve wandered away from Eleanor’s advice to exploring on the Internet, home of many great and many not-great ideas, be your own judge (okay, chorizo lollipops and cake pairings, those we have vetted. .  .).

  • Honey-Poached Chestnuts, Blue Cheese, Eden Ice Cider

  • Paste Magazine is bullish on vanilla donuts & ice cider

  • On a practical cost of ingredients basis, this peach tart tatin may not be in the cards. . . but it probably tastes really good (and replacing the ice cider syrup with a modest shot of ice cider would likely do the trick)

  • Chorizo lollipops with a shot of ice cider (the lollipop recipe courtesy of Penelope Casas). Who knew you could burn so many fingers on just one recipe?  

  • A particularly indulgent take on the ice cider + foie gras combo (as if that weren’t indulgent enough) from Canada.

  • Cake pairing recommendations include: Carrot Cake, Chestnut Chocolate Cake, Almond & Rose Cake, and Lemon Curd Tart. Also, remember how Laurie Colwin really liked old fashioned gingerbread cake, preferably with Steen’s cane syrup? That too.

Finally, a few cocktail concepts for inspiration:

VFN Members - join us March 23rd - 31st in celebrating Vermont wines (including ice ciders). Highlight what's on your menu, add pairing suggestions or a menu special, or go all out with a tasting or dinner! Contact helen@vermontfresh.net for more information. 

Thank you to Flavor Plate for donating their time and effort to the design and co-development of our website.