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Try hard cider for a fun, refreshing beverage

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - The Division Street location of St. Honore Boulangerie will be serving a special Cider Feast, paired with cider and cider cocktails June 26 and 27.

“Lemonade

Made in the shade

Stirred with a rusty spade.”

That’s a ditty my husband’s family recited when enjoying a cooling glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. Except for the rusty spade, it sounds enticing, doesn’t it?

There are many beverages that bring refreshment when temperatures start to rise, such as drinking vinegars, shrubs, ice-cold beer, sangrias and chilled rosés. Hard ciders are another great option, for summer and into the fall.

Hard ciders are gaining popularity, and many Oregon companies have been pressing and then fermenting ciders for some time. HR Ciderworks, Portland Cider Company and McMenamin’s are just a few that come to mind.

I recently was sent samples of Sonoma Cider’s handcrafted ciders, which are made in Healdsburg, Calif., from small organic apples in micro batches to create intense flavor and balance. The company was founded in 2013 by David Cordtz, a 20-year veteran cider maker and winemaker; his son, Robert Cordtz; and craft beverage guru Fred Einstein. I sampled The Hatchet, made of apples; The Pitchfork, made of apples and pears; and The Anvil, made of apples blended with organic bourbon. My favorite was The Pitchfork.

What I liked about the ciders was their crisp fruit flavor and their lower alcohol content. The ABV (alcohol by volume) percentage is just six percent.

Sonoma Cider sent the samples in anticipation of the upcoming Cider Summit PDX. The summit will be held June 20-21 at The Fields neighborhood park in Portland’s Pearl District. It’s a great chance to sample artisanal ciders from around the world and to discover a new favorite beverage.

This year’s Cider Summit is the fourth-annual event in Portland and the 11th summit produced by SBS Imports and the Seattle Beer Collective. The premiere event occurred in Seattle in September 2010; since then, it has expanded to Portland, Chicago and Berkeley, Calif. At these events, attendees can sample a variety of ciders, meet the cider makers and learn the nuances of cider.

For a $25 admission fee ($30 at the door), attendees get a collectible tasting glass and tickets for eight four-ounce tastings. Additional tasting tickets can be purchased for $2 each. Food will be available for purchase from World Foods, St. Honoré Boulangerie and Masala Pop, as well as specialty dessert pairings from Smitten Truffles and Fifty Licks Ice Cream.

The musical lineup includes Kevin Selfe, Lloyd Jones and the Atomic Gumbo Duo with Steve Kerin on Friday, and Melody Guy, the Norman Sylvester Trio and the Ellen Whyte Trio on Saturday.

Admission is restricted to those 21 and older. Special VIP tickets are available for $35 and include a souvenir tasting glass and 12 tasting tickets. VIP ticket holders also have exclusive access from 2-3 p.m. on June 20. Hours for the general public are 3-8 p.m. on June 20 and noon-6 p.m. on June 21. Designated-driver tickets are available online and at the door for $5 and include a bottle of water; designated drivers must be 21 years of age.

Organizers say dogs of all ages are welcome. Learn more and buy tickets online at cidersummitnw.com or locally at World Foods (9845 SW Barbur Blvd., Portland) or St. Honoré Boulangerie (315 First St., Lake Oswego).

The event is a benefit for Northwest Cider Association, The Institute for Myeloma and Bone Cancer Research, DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital and the Cascade Blues Association.

But wait — there’s more. St. Honoré Boulangerie will be serving a five-course Cider Feast at its Southeast Portland location (3333 SE Division St.) on June 26 and 27. Each course is paired with a cider and cider cocktail. Call the restaurant at 971-279-4433 for details and reservations.

The tasting notes from Sonoma Cider suggested The Pitchfork would enhance a wide range of foods, including bleu cheese, fresh fruit, barbecue and sweet or spicy Mexican, Indian, Chinese and Thai foods. Since it is barbecue season, I’ll share this recipe for Best Ever Barbecue Ribs. This recipe calls for homemade sauce, so a recipe is included for that, too.

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!

Best Ever Barbecue Ribs

Makes 8 servings

Choose baby backs or spareribs, then follow our three simple steps: Season, bake and grill. Use bottled sauce emboldened with the ribs’ own juices to give the ribs a final sticky-sweet shellacking.

2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon dry mustard

1 tablespoon paprika

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 pounds baby back pork ribs (8 racks) or St. Louis-style spareribs (4 racks)

Low-salt chicken broth (optional)

1 1/2 cups store-bought or homemade barbecue sauce (or more)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine first five ingredients in a small bowl. Place each rack of ribs on a double layer of foil; sprinkle rub all over ribs. Wrap racks individually and divide between two baking sheets.

Bake ribs until very tender but not falling apart, about two hours for baby backs and three hours for spareribs. Carefully unwrap ribs; pour any juices from foil into a 4-cup, heat-proof measuring cup; reserve juices. Let ribs cool completely.

DO AHEAD: Ribs can be baked up to three days ahead (the flavor will be more developed, and the cold ribs will hold together better on the grill as they heat through). Cover and chill juices. Rewrap ribs in foil and chill.

Build a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill, or heat a gas grill to high. Add broth or water to rib juices, if needed, to measure 1 1/2 cups. Whisk in barbecue sauce to blend.

Grill ribs, basting with barbecue sauce mixture and turning frequently, until lacquered and charred in places and heated through, about 7-10 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board; cut between ribs to separate. Transfer to a platter and serve with additional barbecue sauce.

Texas Barbecue Sauce

Makes about 1 1/3 cups

Texans take their barbecue — and their barbecue sauce — seriously. This is a classic central Texas-style sauce, which is a tomato-based mixture that’s a little sweet and a little spicy.

1 tablespoon butter

1 garlic clove, minced

1 cup ketchup

1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 chipotle chile from canned chipotle chiles in adobo*, minced with seeds

1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic; stir 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup and all remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer until reduced to 1 1/3 cups, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool slightly, cover, and chill.

* Dried, smoked jalapeños in a spicy tomato sauce is called adobo; available at some supermarkets and at Latin markets.

Bon Appetite, July 2009

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext 100, or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood




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