Stem Ciders is known for its experimental riffs and innovative flavors. Its canned entries are typically experimental, small-batch and taproom-only releases. And its new Manhattan cider, one of the most recent additions to its Bourbon Series, is precisely that. This set showcases three distinct blends, and if you’re an ardent bourbon enthusiast, you’ll unquestionably relish the unique spin given to these drinks.
Its interpretation of the classic Manhattan cocktail is the first on the list, a precise representation of the renowned drink. Its premium cider, Real Dry, is aged for a span of 10 months in Laws Whiskey, Woodford Reserve Weller and Stagg Jr. Bourbon barrels. Stem then infuses the liquid with a combination of vermouth-like herbs, luxardo cherries and a subtle vanilla essence, letting it to rest.
The end product is exactly what one envisions, a Manhattan cocktail perfection in cider guise. The cider’s taste profile is characterized by the rich flavor of vermouth, cherry preserves and a subtle toasted oak hint, resulting from the blending of a barrel-aged cider base. It’s safe to assume that you won’t be disappointed by this cider-infused drink if you’re a fan of Manhattan cocktails.
The base of its bourbon range is Banjo, the cider that was first aged in bourbon barrels and set the series in motion. Banjo is an exceptional, parched cider with a pronounced barrel emphasis that has progressed over the years. Banjo’s creation is similar to Manhattan’s aging process, and the outcome is a beautifully subtle and complex profile, highlighting notes of toffee and caramel without any residual sweetness. Banjo joins Manhattan as a taproom-only release in 2023.
Last but not least is a take on the Old Fashioned. After resting for 10 months in bourbon barrels, Stem blends the liquid with a mixture of freshly grated Valencia orange zest, Luxardo cherries and a medley of bitters-inspired spices extracted from high-proof apple brandy. The fusion of these flavors emulates all the adored qualities of an Old Fashioned with a hint of cider. The sensory experience features the complex flavors of orange marmalade, comforting baking spices and velvety vanilla caramels.
All photography courtesy of Stem Ciders.