Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
There was a time, not that long ago, when it seemed like hard cider was consigned either to Rip Van Winkle-like New Englanders, long of beard and weird of brain, or the English. Well, that’s changed. In just the past few years, cider has become bizarrely popular: sales were up 62.6% in 2012. Woodchuck, the most popular brand, sold over two and a half million cases last year, and others weren’t far behind.
But cider and America have a long association. In fact, cider was far more popular than beer in Colonial times, largely due to the fact that it was a lot easier to grow apples than barley in New England. In the 1700s, we glugged cider like nobody’s business - about 35 gallons per year per person, on average. As a comparison, per person wine consumption in the US today is about 2.5 gallons per person, and beer is about 28 gallons per person.
Cider consumption may be minimal now compared to what it once was, but as I mentioned, it’s on the upswing. And there are some mighty good ciders out there. Here are a few, some from the U.S. and some from overseas, and all of them ideal for drinking icy-cold at a July 4th picnic - or any time, really.
Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
A couple of weeks ago, I asked burger kingpin Josh Ozersky for his top 10 burger spots around the country. Josh focused like a laser on places that served up American cheeseburgers on squishy buns, from Keller’s Drive-In in Dallas to Mar’sel in California.
In honor of Independence Day, Josh is making an exception to his ironclad rules about buns and cheese and broadening his - and everyone’s - burger horizons.
Tell it, Josh.
While you're frying up some eggs and bacon, we're cooking up something else: a way to celebrate today's food holiday.
Hot diggity dog! July is National Hot Dog Month and July 23 is National Hot Dog Day.
During hot dog season (Memorial Day to Labor Day), 818 hotdogs are eaten every second. And on the Fourth of July, Americans devour approximately 150 million hot dogs; that's enough to stretch from coast to coast five times.
Depending on where you are, hot dogs can look and taste completely different. From slaw dogs in the South to Chicago dogs in the Second City to Detroit’s Coney dogs, cities take their hot dogs very seriously.