Americans have been tippling apple-y spirits since before we even set foot on this continent. Pilgrims drank hard cider on the Mayflower while crossing the Atlantic; John Adams enjoyed it for breakfast; and it was more popular than beer during the Colonial era.
Wines made from the forbidden fruit came to the New World with the Europeans settling along the Eastern Seaboard, who home-brewed new twists on old-world classics.
Now, all across Maryland, winemakers and distillers are reviving this beloved tradition by transforming the humble apple into buzzy beverages that appeal to modern tastes while staying firmly rooted in our epicurean heritage.
Rob Miller and Patty Power are surrounded by reminders of times gone by. The couple owns an historic Civil War-era farmstead in Jefferson that they’ve transformed into a modern-day pressing operation, Distillery Lane Ciderworks.
It all started 10 years ago, when the enterprising duo began planting 2,500 trees sporting 30 different heirloom apple varietals, including Kingston Black, Roxbury Russet, and Gravenstein.
“We didn’t want to be crop farmers, and there’s no money in cows,” Miller explains. “So we thought cider could be our little niche.”