Ernest – Lemoncella Cider [Ciderhouse – Toronto]
Sampled August 2017
Torontonians are spoiled for cider. Not only do they have an abundance of better beverage bars that carry fantastic Ontario Craft Cider, they now have not only one cider bar but two – with The Ciderhouse opening up on Roncesvalles Street in the West End. The Ciderhouse has a laidback, welcoming vibe, with its casual, wooden, roadhouse-style decor. With an easy-to-follow menu, it is a perfect place for the new to experienced cider fans alike – your likely only problem will be deciding what cider to have first.
One cider that was on the rotating draught menu for our first visit here – that has intrigued us for awhile on various social media platforms – was Ernest’s Lemoncella Cider. With a name paying homage to the strong Italian liqueur Lemoncello, it promised to pack punch right from the start. This cider is a light canary yellow – being a mostly flat beverage with little to no carbonation visible. With a medium smell, the mustiness is the most distinguishing aroma that emerges; with apple and lemon peel aromas secondary.
Initially the Lemoncella cider has a medium bite, with quick pine notes emerging. A strong, very astringent lemon flavour from the juice comes through, with must and bitter notes as well. Into the aftertaste, the pine notes linger, with a single-variety apple flavour coming through. The peel and the juice flavours of the lemon are very noticeable, which add earthy and sour notes to the drink. With a malty finish, it has a long lingering aftertaste – especially the astringency from the alcohol liqueur aspects.
We believe that Ernest’s cider has little to no added sugar as there is barely any sweetness to the cider at all; as well as not being able to taste the honey that Ernest is famous for using in their ciders. To be honest, we had expected a more candied lemon flavour experience; rather than the cider being very astringent like doing an actual shot of lemoncello liqueur. It takes a bit to really understand the intent of the cider as we found the first couple of sips a bit uncertain. We would not classify this as a beginner cider due to its strong, astringent nature, but is something an experienced cider and/or world-class liqueur drinker may enjoy.
We applaud Ernest’s creativity on this cider and their willingness to branch from their typically more sweet fruit offerings. Although not a personal favourite, we cannot wait to try Ernest’s other exciting limited releases; as well as the seemingly endless options of all ciders available at The Ciderhouse.