Grapefruit is one of those magical fruits that somehow always feels seasonal. In warmer months, their sharp acid and tangy zip are super refreshing, and in winter, they actually are in season!
The grapefruit we eat in the USA come mostly from Florida and Texas, where prime growing season runs from September through June. The bitter, squeaky clean freshness of grapefruit is a welcome relief against the other typical wintertime produce, like root veggies, squashes and hearty greens. Grapefruit’s alluring flavor, unsurprisingly, is a really wonderful pairing with the juicy apple character of cider. We’ve already shared our love of citrus-spiked ciders, and here are, more specifically, eight grapefruit ciders that are worth cracking open, any time of year:
Austin Eastciders Ruby Red Grapefruit
Austin Eastciders is not afraid to explore flavors: its labels include Blood Orange, Pineapple, Honey, Sangria and more! One of its core fruit adjuncts is Ruby Red Grapefruit, made with a blend of heirloom bittersweet and American dessert apples, and Ruby Red Grapefruits grown nearby in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. Tart and juicy, this pretty pink cider is bursting with citrus aromas and has a pleasant, zesty bite. Check out Austin Eastcider’s Store Locator tool on its website to find a market or bottle shop near you that carries this flavor.
Grand Illusion Street Magic
Grand Illusion is a hard cider brand headquartered in the charming college town of Carlisle, Pennsylvania (just about 25 miles west of Harrisburg). Its tasting room is worth a visit if you’re ever in the area; it boasts the largest selection of PA ciders on draft in the world, and a staff that’s 100% CCP certified. It makes unique and creative ciders, too, including Street Magic, a hopped grapefruit cider, packed with mouth-puckering, subtropical flavor. Citra and Centennial hops provide citrus and floral notes to ground the fruit with a touch of herbal earthiness.
Elemental Hard Cider Grapefruit
Elemental Hard Cider is a family-owned cidery making slow-fermented, hand-crafted ciders with Northwest apples. It has all kinds of fun fruited ciders in its portfolio, like Lemoncello Lithium, Cranberry Cinnamon and Huckleberry Hundium. But if it’s a brunch or a picnic where you’re headed, the one for you is Grapefruit Hydrogen, which wrangles some serious sunshine vibes with less tartness and a bit more sweetness than a lot of citrus ciders. It’s just a little bit dangerous for day drinking at 6% ABV.
Wild Hare Cider Ophelia
While most of Wild Hare‘s ciders are fermented to proper dry and kept simple, this Virginia-based operation does occasionally dabble in fruit infusions. Ophelia is one such experiment. This summery cider is made from Shenandoah Valley heritage apples, pressed and cool-fermented, then infused with grapefruit and light hopped, an homage to the cider maker’s roots as a home brewer. Find it at one of Wild Hare’s three taprooms in Leesburg, Warrenton, or Middleburg, VA.
Blake’s Hard Cider Paloma
Blake’s Hard Cider Paloma, part of the brand’s cocktail-inspired Bar Cart Series, serves up some margarita feels, with a combination of grapefruit, agave and lime. This cider itself is a 6.5% ABV cider, but you can certainly booze it up more by adding an ounce of tequila and serve it over ice. For more creative cocktail ideas, try the spicy Bring the Heat and the herbal Grapefruit Basil Gimlet, both of which you can find on the Blake’s website.
Noble Grapefruit & Citra Cider Spritzer
Noble Cider‘s line of hard cider spritzers blend craft hard cider with citrus and botanicals for light and refreshing beverages that clock in at 99 calories with no added sugar. How very 2020! Made with real ingredients, the 4% ABV grapefruit and citra hopped spritzer (a combo you can see is very popular with cider makers), is a classy, and frankly more delicious, alternative to crummy mass-produced hard seltzers. Even if you don’t live in Noble’s distribution area, you’re in luck! You can shop for its hard cider spritzers, and other products, online!
Bauman’s Cider Guava Grapefruit
In addition to serious, apple-driven ciders, like its Harvest Series, Oregon-based Bauman’s Ciders makes quirky, fruity ciders, too, exemplified by it’s tropical Guava Grapefruit. Medium-bodied and refreshing, this combo of sweet, juicy guava and tangy grapefruit is so alluring! Shop for this flavor, and more, online.
Lockhorn Cider House Gallatin Grapefruit Mint
Lockhorn Hard Cider‘s Gallatin Grapefruit Mint has a kind of mojito thing going on, with fresh, cold steeped mint leaves infused with grapefruit juice. Semi-sweet and fully refreshing, word has it that this flavor is a fan favorite! Find it, and Lockhorn’s other ciders, to enjoy by the glass, or take it to go in 16-ounce cans or growlers at its lively Cider House in Bozeman, Montana.
We’ve shared our favorite grapefruit ciders, and now it’s your turn! What’s the best you’ve had? Let us know here, or join in the conversation on the Cider Culture Facebook page.
- Feature photo: Seattle Cider Co.
- Fido photo: Blake's Hard Cider