13 Cideries Perfect for the Booze Traveler

Beer has been America's brew of choice for the last century, but cider is sneaking back into hearts and minds, and cidermakers all over the country are making magic with apples. If you’ve got an autumn road trip on the calendar, channel your inner Jack Maxwell and visit these can't-miss spots. 

Photos

Khash Stew

Khash Stew

While visiting Yous Sargsyan's guesthouse, Jack checks out the khash as it stews in the pot. 960 1280

  

Khndzoresk's Bridge

Khndzoresk's Bridge

Jack walks across Khndzoresk’s swinging bridge. 960 1280

  

A Game of Backgammon

A Game of Backgammon

Jack watches some locals play a game of backgammon, a very popular board game in Armenia. 960 1280

  

Armenian Flatbread

Armenian Flatbread

Jack tears lavash, a popular Armenian flatbread, into pieces to put into his khash. 960 1280

  

Tossing Grapes

Tossing Grapes

Jack tosses some Areni grapes into a barrel to begin the winemaking process. 960 1280

  

Stomping Grapes

Stomping Grapes

After winning a crucial arm-wrestling match, the champ, Nikita, earns the right to smash the grapes first. 960 1280

  

Flying Over the Vorotan River

Flying Over the Vorotan River

Jack checks out the view as he travels over the Vorotan River in an aerial tramway. 960 1280

  

Dancin' in the Streets

Dancin' in the Streets

Jack dances with a few local women during the Goris mulberry festival. 960 1280

  

Dining With Locals

Dining With Locals

Jack indulges in a glass of oghi as he dines with Igor Ghazarian, who has been brewing the classic Armenian beverage for more than 25 years. 960 1280

  

History of Brandy

History of Brandy

Marina Badalyan and Jack discuss the history of Ararat brandy as they try a glass. 960 1280

  

Puréed Frog (Peru Is Magic)

Puréed Frog (Peru Is Magic)

The “energy drink” Jack encounters in Peru (after his interpreter asks him to choose a live frog from a box) isn’t suitable for vegetarians—or anyone who can’t stand to see their beverage-to-be killed, skinned, and blended—but “because I ordered it, I had to drink it,” Jack told Digital Spy. Lesson learned: in Peruvian markets, you point at your peril (the authorities do not take kindly to the sale of rare species for food).   960 1280

  

Airag (Mongolian Road Trip)

Airag (Mongolian Road Trip)

When you’re at the foot of the Khangai Mountains in Mongolia, doing as the locals do means milking a horse, straining the milk through a cloth, hanging it outside your yurt in a leather sack and quaffing it once it ferments. Offering your visitors a bowl of airag is a mandatory element of Mongolian hospitality—and rejecting it would be an horrific breach of etiquette. 960 1280

  

Perique liqueur (Dead in New Orleans)

Perique liqueur (Dead in New Orleans)

Perique, a spicy, barrel-fermented tobacco that hails from St. James Parish, LA, doesn’t turn up in too many pipes or bags of chew, as it’s both rare and pretty hard to handle straight. That said, an adventurous distiller is lobbying the FDA to approve it as a food additive—and, naturally, Jack had a taste of his perique-infused booze (which is said to lack the toxic risks associated with home-made tobacco infusions). 960 1280

  

Umqombothi (South Africa: Hidden Gems)

Umqombothi (South Africa: Hidden Gems)

Jack joins members of the Zulu tribe in a ceremony to honor their ancestors after trying umqombothi, their traditional beer. Made with maize, sorghum, yeast, and water, umqombothi is high in Vitamin B, low in alcohol and thought by some to be responsible for the high rate of esophageal cancer in South Africa, thanks to a fungus that’s known to contaminate the crops used to produce it. Yikes. 960 1280

  

Mampoer (South Africa: Hidden Gems)

Mampoer (South Africa: Hidden Gems)

If that potential cancer link scares you away from Zulu beer, know that mampoer (a popular South African spirit double-distilled from fruit) doesn’t have a similar risk. It doesn’t have a similar ABV, either: It’s so high in alcohol that Hakkiesdraad, the most famous brand, is sold with barbed wire wrapped around the bottle as a warning. 960 1280

  

Seaweed smoothie (Belize: Paradise Found)

Seaweed smoothie (Belize: Paradise Found)

Seaweed turns up on plates, in soap, as medicine, and—on Belize’s Little Water Caye Island—in mixed drinks. It’s blended up with condensed milk and honey, then spiked with brandy. Given that the weed itself tastes like a pickle, as Jack observes, that sounds...interesting. 960 1280

  

Brennivín (Iceland’s Warm Fire)

Brennivín (Iceland’s Warm Fire)

“Brennivín” literally means “burned wine,” but Iceland’s signature beverage is more commonly known in English as Black Death (because the Icelandic government placed a white skull on its label). Looks aside, Brennivín’s herbal flavor isn’t especially lethal unless it’s served with Iceland’s equally notorious signature dish: hákarl, or cured rotten shark.  960 1280

  

Walk Me Down (Tennessee: Red, White, and Booze)

Walk Me Down (Tennessee: Red, White, and Booze)

When does a mixed drink need its own neck strap? When it’s Blues City Café’s Walk Me Down, a hundred-ounce, yard-long quaff made with gin, rum, vodka, tequila, blue curaçao, and sweet and sour mix. Best of luck with that walk.  960 1280

  

Toaka Gasy (The Force of Madagascar)

Toaka Gasy (The Force of Madagascar)

The local drink in Madagascar, toaka gasy, doesn’t sound all that intimidating; it’s just rum, which is reliably delicious when made of and combined with all sorts of things. When the sort of thing in question is snake venom, however, it’s not for the faint of heart.  960 1280

  

Cow urine (India)

Cow urine (India)

Laid up with a hangover in India? As David Foster Wallace would say, urine luck: The locals are ready to provide you with the most memorable cure of all time.   960 1280

  

Tarantula Wine (Drink in the Zen)

Tarantula Wine (Drink in the Zen)

Travelers in Europe are fond of joining their hosts in beverage prep; who isn’t up for a rollicking afternoon of, say, stomping wine grapes with your bare feet? Similarly, in Cambodia’s Kampong Thom Province, you can help catch tarantulas for your booze. Bucket-list material, right?  960 1280

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Masato (Peru is Magic)

Masato (Peru is Magic)

In his adventures on the Amazon, Jack eats pirahna, learns to shoot darts out of a blow gun, and accepts a tribal king’s offer of a drink—which turns out to be ‘spit beer,’ a concoction of tubers that are masticated, spit out, and fermented (and tastes pretty much the way it sounds like it would). He’s grateful for the experience, though: A warm welcome is a warm welcome.  960 1280

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Prairie Oyster (69 Colebrook Row, London)

Prairie Oyster (69 Colebrook Row, London)

If you’re not quite ready for India’s hangover cure, you could try Islington’s: At 69 Colebrook Row, Tony Conigliaro bends molecular gastronomy to his will and creates a deconstructed Bloody Mary that looks for all the world like a Prairie Oyster (the post-bender remedy made with a raw egg, Worcestershire sauce, tomato juice, vinegar, hot sauce, and salt and pepper). Tony’s version features an alginated tomato-juice “yolk,” lab-made horseradish vodka with green tea, spice mix, and herbs. 960 1280

Addie Chinn  

Flaming Ferrari (Nam Long, London)

Flaming Ferrari (Nam Long, London)

Pyrophobics would do well to steer clear of Nam Long’s Flaming Ferrari (which the Daily Mail listed among the “world’s most dangerous cocktails” in 2014), but everyone else clamors for it. Royals, Rolling Stones, and A-listers from around the world have visited the Knightsbridge bar, where mixologists blend dark rum, Grand Marnier, and green and yellow chartreuse, then set the resulting concoction alight and invite patrons to drink up through a straw.   960 1280

  

King Louie’s Downfall (Bootlegger Tiki, Palm Springs)

King Louie’s Downfall (Bootlegger Tiki, Palm Springs)

If you’re looking to overcome a fear of fire on this side of the Atlantic, pay a visit to Bootlegger Tiki in Palm Springs and request King Louie’s Downfall (a blend of Cuban-style rums, mezcal, maraschino liqueur, vanilla syrup, banana butter cordial, and bitters). Unlike the Flaming Ferrari, co-owner Jamie Kowal says, “we do tell our guests to wait until the fire goes out (or they blow it out) before drinking.” Like some of Jack Maxwell’s foreign finds, this cocktail packs a punch: “There isn’t a warning per se on how many people can drink—however, they find out soon enough.”  960 1280

  

Bamboo Shroom (Vie, Chicago)

Bamboo Shroom (Vie, Chicago)

Fancy some fungus in your glass? In Western Springs, Illinois, bar manager Julius White prepares a tincture of locally-foraged morels for the Bamboo Shroom, Vie’s savory amalgamation of Lustau amontillado sherry, Carpano dry vermouth, Grand Marnier, and orange bitters.  960 1280

  

Fiesta Punch (The Punch Room, Charlotte, NC)

Fiesta Punch (The Punch Room, Charlotte, NC)

If you fear kombucha (the fermented-tea drink that’s all the rage with new-age digestive-health types), you’re not alone. You might soon be alone, however. At The Punch Room, Bob Peters’s Fiesta Punch (made with tequila, cilantro, jalapeno, lemon, lime, and locally-produced Lenny Boy beet ginger kombucha) is so popular that he’s put it on tap.  960 1280

  

Black Tie White Noise (Beauty & Essex, NYC)

Black Tie White Noise (Beauty & Essex, NYC)

If you’re in the market for a murky drink that doesn’t contain endangered frog, New York City’s Beauty & Essex—a restaurant, bar, & lounge hidden behind a pawn shop—is the place for you. Like Jack’s sketchy Peruvian ‘health’ drink, the Black Tie White Noise has an interesting mouthfeel—but in this case, it comes from a capsule of activated charcoal (blended with ½ oz. simple syrup, ¾ oz. lemon zest, ½ oz. yellow chartreuse, 1½ oz. Gentleman Jack, and ¼ oz Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Scotch).  960 1280

  

Black Mamba Margarita (The Carbon Bar, Toronto)

Black Mamba Margarita (The Carbon Bar, Toronto)

Our neighbors to the north offer immersion therapy for fear of fire and fear of the dark in margarita form, which is a handy way to address many concerns, really. The Carbon Bar’s Black Mamba Margarita features 1½ oz. charcoal-infused Olmeca Altos tequila, 1 oz. St. Germain, 1 oz. lime juice, 2 dashes Angostura bitters, 3 spritzes of Bowmore scotch, a salt rim, and a lime wheel; it’s flamed with Bacardi 151. “It’s been fun letting people know about the health benefits of the activated charcoal,” restaurant manager Sam Lamonde says. “It also whitens your teeth!” We can get behind that kind of personal improvement. 960 1280

  

'Jack asks about the traditiion of bhang' 960 1280

  

'Jack participates in spiritual chant' 960 1280

  

'Jack looks as ferementing grains' 960 1280

  

'Jack jokes with Nepali raski brewers' 960 1280

  

'Jack meets a buddhist monk' 960 1280

  

'Jack learns how to say cheers in speakeasy' 960 1280

  

'Sherpas start fire at campsite' 960 1280

  

'Jack gives the training a try' 960 1280

  

'Jack walking through Kathmandu' 960 1280

  

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