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We talked about juicing last time, so I thought I’d see about the new apple juice that Corey keeps talking about. Bernie’s Best Organic Apple Cider has been available in the GGO boxes for a few weeks now, so I ordered two bottles this past week to see what all the fuss is about.

Honestly, my first impression was that the bottles were pretty small (10 oz for $3), but then I opened a bottle of Bernie’s Autumn Blend and took a little sip:

Oh, wow.

Another sip.

Damn. That. Is. Good.

Sweet but not too sweet, complex but not confusing and with a strong nose of crisp apples, Bernie’s Autumn Blend reminded me of nothing so much as its namesake — autumn itself — just like the label says.
Duly impressed, I opened the bottle of Bernie’s Gravenstein Cider to compare flavors and was gobsmacked all over again. I knew immediately that I had never tasted Gravenstein juice before, and it was a delightful surprise. It was lighter than the Autumn Blend, with a sharper flavor and an almost citrusy finish. It was unmistakably rare and refreshing.

After several more small sips of each, I came to the conclusion that I can’t choose which of the two I like better. Bernie’s is far and away the best apple juice I have tasted since I was a grade schooler on a fieldtrip to “Apple Hill” (off Highway 50, East of Placerville), where we drank Dixie cups of cider straight out of a massive old press and delighted in the sound of our sneakers sticking to the juice coated floor.

It is hard to compete with romanticized childhood memories about Apple Hill, but honestly, Bernie’s cider is even better. This is clearly not juice to be gulped down by toddlers with a sippy cup (though they will love the Autumn Blend). This is grown-up juice to be savored and reveled in, a few sips at a time.

My two little bottles lasted me three days, and I found myself taking smaller and smaller sips each time in order to make the experience last as long as possible. If there had been a gallon of it, its preciousness would have given way to gluttony and it wouldn’t have seemed so special, so suddenly those bottles don’t seem too small at all.

Yes, I do believe that Bernie’s little bottles of cider may well be the perfect juice sippy cup for grown ups.

PS: The formal difference between apple cider and apple juice, I have just learned, is that cider is not filtered and is therefore highly perishable, while products labeled apple juice are simply cider that is filtered to make it last longer in stores.