Cider Helps Sway the Election

The candidate, himself a wealthy man, convinced the country that his opponent was a snob who could never understand real Americans. As proof the candidate said his opponent didn’t like hard cider.

It was the election of 1840, and William Henry Harrison was running his
Log Cabin & Hard Cider” campaign against incumbent Martin Van Buren. As you might imagine, Harrison’s campaign created a plethora of log house- and hard cider-related art.

A favorite among them is this not-so-subtle mechanical card



pull the tab at the bottom and it changes the image to

Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Library

His campaign worked and Harrison became our 9th president.

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Blackledge Winery’s Latest Release: Eliza’s 28 Apple Brandy Barrel-Aged Cider

14479780_659172867584781_2696001937589604157_nIntroducing our barrel-aged Eliza’s 28 cider. A blend of four heirloom cider apples, fermented dry using the apples’ natural yeast to an ABV of 7.8%, then barrel-aged in a freshly emptied apple brandy barrel. Extremely limited quantities!

For more about the Eliza’s 28 Barrel Aged, including how to order, check out the Libations page.

Please note that we still have Penn’s 74, but we are completely sold out of the original Eliza’s 28 and the Fisher’s 58 (ginger) cider.

And stay tuned – there are new ciders coming soon.

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Upcoming Presentation

29336_117281461647390_3195673_nAt noon on Wednesday, September 14th at the Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center I’m presenting Cider: Pennsylvania’s Once (and Future?) Favorite for their Brown Bag Lunch series.

Hope you can make it.

You can find more about the SLHC here and get driving directions here.





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Cider Updates From My Other Cider Work

Things are hopping at Blackledge Winery.

In June we released our new cider, Penn’s 74, based on Gulielma Penn’s 1674 cider receipt (Gulielma was William Penn’s first wife). It comes in at 7.4% ABV and is delicious cold, cellar temperature, or warmed. You can order Penn’s 74 (along with all of Blackledge’s historical and historically-inspired libations) online.





To make it easier to get a bottle of cider in your hand, we are now able to ship. We can ship three (3) bottle and six (6) bottle purchases to most of the United States using FedEx Ground (we CAN’T deliver to AL, AR, DE, KY, MS, NH, OK, UT, and some parts of AK and WV). If in doubt, email or call first.


Blackledge will be pouring samples of its 18th-century colonial cider “Eliza’s 28” at this year’s Easton Heritage Day event on Sunday, July 10th from 1:00pm to 4:00pm in downtown Easton, PA. We’ll be setup in the 1753 Bachmann Publick House‘s original Tavern Room with free samples to anyone of legal drinking age who’d like to try it!

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Upcoming Cider Festival Presentation

Noon to 4 pm, Saturday, June 25th.

I’m a very last-minute addition to the PA Cider Fest workshop schedule. My presentation, “Old Cider in New Bottles: Researching and Recreating Historical Cider” will be at 2:30 pm.



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Belated Bottling (and Other Bits)

The good thing about bottling cyder is that if you don’t get to it right away you can say you’re just bulk conditioning. Which is to say that since this spring has been so busy I’ve “allowed” the cyder to bulk condition a little longer than usual before bottling it.

This season’s cyder includes a few old favorites, some new twists, and a couple of brand new experiments.

Honey Wheat Cyser

Honey Wheat Bottles

6.5 gallons, 21 bottles, 4 one-gallon jugs, 11.5% ABV

Based on John Nott’s 1723 receipt, this cyser remains a favorite among first-time samplers. Ten of these bottles has a sugar cube (.08 oz.) added to each bottle before they were filled. Many period receipts (including this one) call for adding sugar to the bottles to increase the carbonation (but not enough to burst bottles – I hope). I thought I’d try it.

Golden Russet

Golden Russet Bottles

3 gallons, 21 bottles, 8.5% ABV

Another 3 gallons of Golden Russet (the lazy man’s cyder). This is straight fermented juice, with nothing added.


Penn Bottled

6 gallons, 23 bottles, 3 one-gallon jugs, 8% ABV

Penn cyder is based on a 1674 receipt from Gulielma Penn’s (William’s first wife) receipt book. Astute readers will recall that Blackledge Winery recently announced the release of their Penn Cider as well. I made both. There is a difference between them: the Pommel Cyder Penn includes wheat, which the original receipt called for. The Blackledge Winery Penn does not, because of Federal regulations (which is also the reason Blackledge can’t make a honey wheat, despite it being a fan-fav). I’m looking forward to comparing both Penns in the near future.

On a side not, when I pulled the airlock off of Penn before bottling, it bubbled up like a freshly-opened soda.

Bubbling Penn

Raw BLend

Raw Blend Bottled

6 gallons, 11 bottles, 1 three-gallon carboy, 7% ABV

Out curiosity I wanted to see what the raw blend we use at Blackledge tasted like. So I fermented some.. It’s totally untouched (unchaptalized).

Fortified Cyder

Fortified Jug

1 gallon, 10% ABV

I added enough brandy to the raw blend to bump up the ABV from 7% to 10%. It’s going to sit and steep for a few months.

Cyder Royal

Cider Royal Carboy

3 gallons, 10% ABV

This cyder royal is a blend of raw blend cyder, brandy, and “sweets” (sweets is itself a boiled blend of water, sugar, and egg whites). According to the 1710 receipt it’s based on the cyder royal is going to sit and condition for 3-4 months.

This was a big season at the cydery. It’s the largest volume of cyder I’ve made at one time. Fermenting and conditioning used all of the glass carboys I had. Now, with the remnants of last year’s cyder, every lightning-stopper bottle I have (all 96 of them) and 8 one-gallon jugs are holding this year’s cyder.

While it’s nice to have to so much cyder to enjoy throughout the year, it’s still a lot of work to get it all bottled (which is code for a lot of washing up – I felt like a scullery maid all the while).  Since more cyder means more work, I’ve been thinking of ways to reduce or minimize tasks. One of the ways that I found was to strip the labels down to a strip. These new labels, which have the added benefit of also being a safety seal of sorts, requires less paper and needs only two instead of four cuts per label. They go on much faster as well. Just run them across a glue stick and apply.

Glue & Vice

Helps to have a third hand to hold the glue stick.

There’s still a little of last season’s cyder left to give the new ones time to recover from bottle shock (if that’s really a thing).


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Upcoming Cider Pecha Kucha


Click to Enlarge

A Pecha Kucha is described as “the art of concise presentations.” And “concise” it is: presenters have a maximum of 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide. The whole presentation lasts 6 minutes and 40 seconds.

On Friday, June 17th, I’m presenting an abridged version of “Cider: America’s Once and Future Favorite” for PechaKucha Easton Volume 5. Doors open at 6, presentations start at 7. Suggested donation of $2.

Alas, there are no free cider samples at this one.


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