14 Jul Wassail NYC – A Cider Bar
It is easy to find a cocktail bar, a wine bar and even a brewery in just about any town these days. What about a cider bar? In New York there is one – Wassail.
Cider was once the primary drink in colonial America. But after industrialization and then Prohibition, apples were left for eating and if it was made into drinking form, it was for apple juice or non-alcoholic ciders. While cider has been popular in the UK, Spain and France for years, it is only recently that cider has had a renaissance in the United States. And personally, I think that is a good thing.
Wassail NYC is celebrating this renaissance. As they explain on their website, “Cidermakers are fermenting juice again to create a diverse array of dry, still, and flavored ciders; orchardists are planting heirlooms and “spitters,” the highly tannic and bitter apples suitable only for fermenting; foragers are finding abandoned trees and reviving long forgotten varieties; urban homesteaders are making cider in their apartments and backyards.” At Wassail, they feature 90+ ciders on draught and by-the- bottle, as well as apple-based cocktails. They also have wine, beer and cocktails.
The name “wassail” is derived from Old Norse and has multiple meanings. It is a salutation for good health. It is a noun for a drink of hot mulled cider. It is the verb wassailing, which is a drinking ritual to bless the apple trees. And it is the name of the cider bar, located ironically on 162 Orchard Street in Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
As we enjoyed a range of cider styles from France, Spain, England and the U.S., we also enjoyed small plates from the tasty seasonal menu. The menu highlights vegetables and grains and is actually a vegetarian restaurant. But the flavors pair beautifully with the ciders and we did not miss the proteins.
Avocado, pupusa, cured egg yolk, pickled red onion
Curried Fried Sunchokes, preserved lemon aioli
Stracciatella, flatbread, red veined arugula
Farro Risotto, poached egg, oyster mushrooms, parmesan
Mushroom Escabeche, Fried Leeks
As the cider renaissance continues, I hope to see more cider bars open across the country…or I will just head back to New York for a visit to Wassail.
162 Orchard Street
Manhattan’s Lower East Side