The only offerings have been at supermarkets and the once-yearly craft festival I attended yesterday at Reelfoot Lake. Still packed with people, this year the festival was not-so-packed with vendors. Lots of empty spaces, especially in the buildings. Several vendors that I wanted to buy from simply weren't there. No strawberry cider, and only one guy selling apple cider in wine bottles. (The cost of using wine bottles instead of plastic jugs inevitably raises the price -- the strawberry cider I had bought before in bottles was $12 a bottle. I believe I can buy authentic local strawberry WINE cheaper.)
I finally found a brand of apple cider at Wal-Mart that tastes authentic -- it's tangy, stings the throat a little, thick and cloudy, and has to be kept refrigerated. And it's $5 a gallon. Yikes. Other brands I'd tried tasted and looked like apple juice. I've been buying my favorite apple cider for years, after many unsuccessful attempts to find good cider.
I thought it was strange that this year the jugs of cider were in the middle of the produce department, out of the refrigerated fruit case. Uh oh. If it's shelf-stable, it's not going to be any good, I was thinking.
So I bought a jug anyway. And then I drank a glass. Instead of the real apple cider taste, what I got was a syrupy sweet glass of overly-sweetened apple juice. :(. So I'm really sad that now there's no real apple cider to drink, because I really enjoyed the stuff, and the new version is too sugary for me to drink unless I've become hypoglycemic.
I mixed it with my bottled smoothie yesterday, to cut the sweetness, and hopefully I can finish it off that way. It's kind of gross, but I can't just pour it out and waste it. I just can't enjoy it in this form. :(