The Toronto Cider Festival: The Top 10 Ciders You should Be Drinking Right Now

Cider Fest Photo 1

Photo credit Tied Photography – Kristie Woods

This year marks the first ever Toronto Cider Festival and it all happen Saturday September 26 as everything boozy apple converges on Yonge-Dundas Square. Now all those beer drinkers who scoff at their slightly more delicate cider preferring friends should take heed, this isn’t your grandmothers apple juice.  With some ciders so dry they make your lips smack and others sweet and spicy there is a flavour for everyone.  Get your tickets to one of two sessions before it’s too late and let my following choices be your guide.

Cider Fest Photo 2

1,Angry Orchard Hard Cider

Launched in 2011, Angry Orchard is the number 1 selling brand of hard cider in the United States.  Lucky for us they have crossed the border to let us sample their crisp apple sip made from blends of sweet and bittersweet European Apples. Varieties of their cider included flavour infused, apple specific and hops and apple combinations.

Cider Fest Photo 3

2.Waupoos Cider/Country Cider Company

The mighty town of Picton produces this robust artisanal cider made with fruit that is 100% locally sourced.  Those who don’t like apples can definitely get on board with County Ciders pear, peach and blood orange flavours. Their flagship cider is a dry sparkling apple.

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3.Okanagan Premium Cider

Our friends on the other side of the country will be making their first time visit to Ontario at this year’s Cider Festival. Local B.C apples are the perfect choice for their hard cider while other flavours like white grape, pear, peach and summer berries take advantage of the west coast’s bounty.

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4.Ironwood Hard Cider

This regional cider comes up the QEW from Sunnybrook Farm Estate Winery in Niagara-on-the-Lake.  Offering small batched one offs and seasonals this cidery is a perfect diversion from all the wine drinking.

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5.Magnotta Small Batch Cider

Recently launched this month in the LCBO Magnotta Small Batch Cider is the newbie of the group.  Using 100% Ontario McIntosh Apples this hard cider is crisp and refreshing.

Photo credit Tied Photography - Kristie Woods

Photo credit Tied Photography – Kristie Woods

6.The Duxbury Cider Company

Unfortunately you can only currently get Duxbury Cider at local restaurants and pubs so plan a date soon to Wvsrt or Bar Hop. Fortunately at the Toronto Cider Fest you can try their small batch vintages made from heritage and organic apples from Georgian Bay.

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7.Coffin Ridge Forbidden Dry Cider

Don’t let the name spook you, Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery has created a robust and refreshing hard cider also using local Ontario apples.

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8.Revel Cider

Thanks to the brain of one young Guelph entrepreneur and his love of fermented apples, Revel Cider uses the finest local ingredients to create a lighter dryer liquid that will appear to the reluctant beer drinker. These are also only available in select Toronto restaurants and bars.

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9.Spirit Tree Estate Cidery

Using apples from their own orchard and sourcing other local ingredients Spirit Tree is one of the few brands that offer both a sweet, non alcoholic cider and a hard cider.  Those concerned can rest assured, the  one with kick will be present at the festival.

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10.Brickworks Cider House

Last but certainly not least is Toronto’s own contribution to the cider world. Sourcing their apples no further than 300 miles the folks at Brickworks believe in supporting their community with 5% of all profits being donate to Evergreen, an organization focusing on environmental issues. If you haven’t seen them in the LCBO or on tap at any Toronto establishment you haven’t been getting out much.

Mini Apple Galette’s with Brown Sugar Cider Sauce + The Niagara Craft Beer Festival

Right now at this very moment my house smells like booze. If the step kids were here, probably not a good idea but since I’m all alone with the house to myself things just got real.

It also smells like apples and cinnamon and pie crust but really what’s most important here?  And why, you ask, does my house smell this way.  Because of these.

Apple Galettes

Kicked up, boozy adults-only apple galettes.  Now you get it!

I’ve been wanting for a while to create something using the currently popular alcoholic ciders on the market and after talking with the owner of the Brickworks Ciderhouse and trying his refreshing product back in the Spring at an event I knew this was the drink for me. There are a lot of brands of cider on the market and it may be hard to choose which one to purchase but trust me when I say you can’t go wrong here.  Small batch, hand crafted cider from a company hoping to repurpose the old orchard around the Evergreen Brickworks for their own apple source.  But until then apples used in each of their batches never travel more than 300 kilometers meaning local and sustainable.

Apple Galettes

Craft is a word you hear loosely thrown around beer drinkers and you may be completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume of brewers out there. It is a term generally used to describe beers made by a small, independant brewers using traditional means to create great tasting beer.  Simple.  And the best way to navigate through all the varieties?  Attend a beer event like The Niagara Craft Beer Festival being held at Montebello Park in St. Catherines August 22-24. With more than 20 vendors on site you can taste to your hearts content and I can 100% guarantee you will find at least one new beer you will absolutely love.  I’ve been to many beer events like this one and thanks to cheap and small sample sizes I have stocked my fridge with an abundant variety to drink over the summer.

Another great thing about Craft Beer Festivals is it usually brings out some stellar food vendors that offer up eats that always pair well with a cold one.  And to top everything else you can enjoy live music from artists like The Trews and USS while enjoying all this great food and drink.

This is how recipes like this happen.  By attending beer festivals and sampling new and sometimes eccentric flavors my taste buds begin conversations with the recipe developer in me and before you know it my house smells like booze.

And one last thing.  My rule when cooking with alcohol: always serve it with the dish for maximum taste.  If it’s good enough to go in the dish, it’s good enough to serve along side it.

Yields 6

Mini Apple Galette's with Brown Sugar Cider Sauce + The Niagara Craft Beer Festival

Frozen pastry shells can be substituted if you are not comfortable with making you own dough.

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  • For the Galettes
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup cold butter, cubed
  • 5-6 tbsp cold water
  • 4 apples, peeled, cored and sliced ( I used Granny Smiths)
  • 1/4 cup Brickworks Cider
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • For the Cider Sauce
  • 2 cups Brickworks Cider
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar


  1. To make the Galettes
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and sugar.
  3. Using a pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until flour resembles coarse crumbs.
  4. Adding a tablespoonful at time stir in the water until the dough begin to come together and form a rough ball of dough. Store in fridge until ready to use.
  5. In another bowl stir together the apples, cider, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  7. To make the mini galettes separate the dough into 6 even sized pieces.
  8. Using a rolling pin roll out the dough into 6" round circle. (you can use a bowl to get the shape and size you want.
  9. Arrange the apples in a pretty spiral in the center of the dough, or simply pile them in the middle making sure a 1" edge is maintained. Fold the edges up and on to the apples leaving the center open faced. Repeat with remaining dough and apples.
  10. Brush the edges with the egg white and bake in preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. They are ready when the crust is golden brown. Remove from oven.
  11. While the galettes are baking, make the Cider Sauce.
  12. In a saucepan over med-high heat bring the cider to a boil until reduced by half.
  13. Quickly whisk in the cornstarch, butter and brown sugar and bring everything to a boil, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes and the sauce has thickened.
  14. You can serve the galettes warm or cold and drizzled with the warm sauce.
Recipe Type: Dessert

*Disclaimer- This is a sponsored post.  I was asked to create a recipe using any of the beer vendors participating during the Niagara Craft Beer Festival. Had I not been asked I still would have created this eventually!

Hot Mulled Cider

Serves 1/8

Hot Mulled Cider
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  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp whole allspice
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • dash of ground nutmeg
  • 3" cinnamon stick
  • 2 qts. apple juice


  1. In crock pot add sugar, allspice, cloves, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon stick and apple juice.
  2. Cook on low for 4 hours to steep the cider well.
Recipe Type: Drinks