The Cider Box presents the first pressings of 2014 at Queen of Hoxton
It’s a glorious March afternoon in central London. The sun is beating down on the Queen of Hoxton’s roof terrace, with its panoramic views across the city and huge wigwam, complete with suspended fire pit for food preparation with a bit of theatre. It’s the perfect setting for a cider festival with some gourmet grub thrown in for good measure. Tickets were a reasonable £15, which included a choice of main meals and four half pints of some of the finest cider from across the country.
No surprise, then, that the terrace is positively packed with revellers, intoxicated by a heady cocktail of spring sunshine and real cider, some of it on the naughty side of 7% vol. The hospitality from the good people at Cider Box was even warmer than the weather, and their passion and enthusiasm for this quintessentially English apple-based drink is infectious.
They’re on a “crusade” to bring the finest craft, artisan and farmhouse ciders to wider audience and see what they do as an antidote to the tasteless, soulless (and in some cases practically apple-less) mass-produced cider that has flooded the market in recent years.
There’s an impressive array of 2014’s best vintages on sale, all freshly pressed: from the battery-acid bitter to the sumptuously sweet with not an artificial flavouring in sight. Wilkins Medium farmhouse cider makes an immediate impression with a burst of sweetness on the tongue followed by a more moderate pure apple aftertaste. Burrow Hill’s dry cider certainly lives up to its billing: it’s ultra dry and bitter in the extreme on the front end with a much more mellow, if somewhat watery, aftertaste.
Worleys Bittersharp doesn’t strip the lining from your mouth as you might expect, instead it has a lovely rounded flavour with hints of zestyness and an intensely deep coppery colour. The Tom Putt from Dorset’s Marshwood Vale has a moderate carbonation, it’s just right, a lovely amber colouring and it goes down like nectar, it’s seriously delicious.
But the highlight for the day is probably the London Glider, pressed in the suburbs of the city – it’s light, refreshing and has an almost champagne-like effervescence, perfect for a day in the sun. Special mention also goes to the Somerset five-year-old Cider Brandy, which has the soothing warmth of a good Spanish counterpart, but it goes down even smoother and it’s a little too palatable given its 42% alcohol content.
Hats off to the Cider Box, they certainly know their apples.
For further information and future events by Cider Box visit here.
For further information about the Queen of Hoxton visit here.