Apple Cider Quest 2011′

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the Apple Cider Margarita (recipe here), and by “introduced” I mean “we got drunk at a holiday party.” It’s a pretty awesome drink, warm, festive, rimmed with cinnamon sugar and containing tequila. What more could you ask for this holiday season?

I immediately decided that I would thus introduce everyone in my little world to this magnanimous drank (my mom, booze hound that she is, was particularly excited about it). Friday I was attending another holiday party with some childhood friends and decided to bring along tequila, grand marnier and apple cider and “introduce” my friends to the delicious concoction. One problem – I couldn’t find Apple Cider anywhere.

In October, I swear there was cider coming out of the streets signs in my town but evidently they’ve stopped stocking run of the mill super markets with the real deal. I ventured forth to the Super Stop and Shop located near my parents house (the closer alternative being a mere Stop & Shop) and was horribly disappointed by the lack of cider. I asked 4 different store clerks where I’d be able to find apple cider, real apple cider, and each on sent me to aisle 3. I walked up and down aisle 3 about ten different times and was only able to find a Stop & Shop brand low-sugar apple cider that looked suspiciously like apple juice. I bought two bottles because there was a 2 for $3 sale and returned home highly uncomfortable with my purchase and highly disappointed when I tried the “cider” only to discover it was juice concentrate. I penned a rather nasty letter to Stop & Shop on an extra family Christmas card and then spent 10 minutes explaining to my dad the difference between juice and cider and why juice would not be an adequate replacement for cider or taste very good mixed with tequila. I then spent another 30 minutes trying to turn my store bought juice into cider (*note cider is not made by pouring seltzer into apple juice).

Eventually, when I realized in no way would I be able to press enough apples to create my own cider, I took off in my car desperate to find cider. I drove all over, tried out the King Kullen, Shop Rite, Path Mark and Trader Joes but unfortunately not one store had apple cider. Eventually I turned haphazardly into a Dairy Barn, the drive-thru grocery store of my childhood that I’d all but forgotten. I pulled up to the window and cried to the attendant that all I wanted was an apple cider margarita and to impress my friends with my superior drink concocting. He looked at me oddly and returned with a gallon of cider that cost less than the discounted juice/cider I’d been swindled by earlier in the day. I said thank you a little too fervently to the attendant whom I’d named Klaus, Santa Klaus hee hee and was able to act super cool and cultured when I made my festive drink for the girls who’d known me since the time I still peed my pants and slept with glow in the dark stars on my ceiling.

At the end of the day it seemed fitting that Dairy Barn, a small chain that has always managed to retain the “store-next-door” feeling saved me on a day when I was spending time with my oldest childhood friends.

So if anyone reads this post and decides to make apple cider margaritas, don’t go to Stop & Shop.

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