by Julia Thiel
And while it's a little expensive, it's also completely worth it. My friend was wrapped up in conversation when she took a sip, but interrupted herself to look at the bottle, exclaiming, "Whoa, this is really good!" (I had the same reaction, except I didn't say it out loud.)
I'd never heard of Vander Mill, which is located in
WisconsinMichigan, and bought this bottle mostly because it said that four pounds of homemade cinnamon-roasted pecans are used in each 30-gallon batch of cider, as well as whole vanilla beans. The cider is light but incredibly complex, with flavors so subtle they're hard to pin down. I could taste nuttiness and a faint spiciness, though I'd have been hard-pressed to identify the flavors as pecan and cinnamon if I hadn't known. The vanilla is more obvious, and there's a very slight smokiness and an oaky finish (probably from the vanilla). It would be easy to imagine the cider had been aged in wood, though as far as I know it wasn't. I'd take it over sparkling wine—or probably even champagne—any day.