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Warming winters threaten a unique dessert cider » Yale Climate Connections

After a holiday feast of turkey and cranberries, some people enjoy a small glass of ice cider.

Léger: “It is a sweet dessert wine style of alcoholic cider … and it’s the perfect ending for all the Thanksgiving things.”

Eleanor Léger is co-founder of Vermont-based Eden Ciders. She says the beverage is made possible by cold northern winters.

In late fall, her team presses apples into juice, and they leave it outside in large barrels. As temperatures drop, the water in the juice freezes.

Léger: “And all the heavier molecules — sugars, acids, everything that gives you flavor — those molecules are trickling down. … And we just open the tap at the bottom of the container and let that flow out.”

She says the process requires several weeks of very cold temperatures to draw off the concentrate little by little. The concentrated extract is then fermented and aged.

But winters are warming.

Léger: “This past year, there were only four days that were cold enough in a stretch to try and freeze the juice outside instead of, you know, four to six weeks.”

And as the climate continues to warm, opportunities to make ice cider could become fewer and further between.

Reporting Credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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