For several years now, cáscara has been on my radar.
“Now wait a minute Missy – Cascara?!” you say – let me assure you, it is not “that” kind of cascara. For those of you who may be familiar with the, ahem – therapeutic – variety of cascara sagrada (causing a rather immediate and effective laxative effect), we have instead used cáscara (the Spanish word for shell or husk). It comes from the fruit that grows around a coffee bean, or the “coffee cherry”. I was not aware there were two (very different) types, although judging from the look of terror on many people’s faces right before I fill their glass many are familiar with the “other” type.
But despite the unfortunate similarity in name, Cáscara, as we used, is growing in popularity as a tea and flavouring. Starbucks had a Cascara Latte and has a short article and video here about this fruit .
Our friends at Ratio Coffee & Pastry connected us with some cáscara from St Lucia – we have some at the tasting room you can try if you like. It has some nice tannin and fruity hibiscus flavours. I was expecting these to be carried into the cider as we fermented it together with some apple juice I had froze and saved from last fall, however the cider instead came out with nearly mimosa-like tropical notes.
We also broke from our long-standing tradition of fermenting and maturing our cider for over 6 months before bottling, instead cold-crashing this cider part-way through the fermentation. This resulted in a lower-alcohol (5.8%), naturally sweet cider with very evident apple notes on all points of the palate. With the cold-crashing and “straight to the bottle” process the cider also still has quite a yeasty profile and pours cloudy.
With just a few cases of this small batch remaining, you can only find it at the tasting room or at Ratio coffee. Come try some before we run out, we are open Wed – Sun, 11-5.
We welcome your feedback – should we make this cider again or will it remain a one-time Alexandria experiment?