The hills surrounding San Sebastian-Donostia are filled with apple trees. Come fall, green, red, and yellow fruits litter the deep green fields. Basque country is verdant and lush. It is known for the quality of its apples and the cider that they produce.
Basque cider, however, isn’t at all like the British or American. It’s sour, not sweet, and is much more akin to wine than Strongbow. But it isn’t only cider that can be made from apples. There are also a variety of Basque Cider Spirits that are great on their own or as part of cocktails.
The Zapiain surname has been connected to cider since before 1595. Under their umbrella, those interested can find Sagardoz, who produce three unique Basque cider spirits: Txuria “Le Blanc”, Goxoa liqueur, and Haritza oak aged. All three provide unique ways to taste the Basque terroir through their most famous product.
Txuria “Le Blanc”
Sagardoz “Le Blanc” captures the traditional essence of Basque Country cider. Sagardoz’s selects the best cider from their wine cellar to be distilled and then sets aside the purest and most aromatic parts of the process. It is a fruity and dry fortifying spirits that warm the soul without overdoing it.
Sagardoz Liqueur is made by fortifying the Le Blanc distillate with juice extracted from the most aromatic native apple varieties. There are fresh apple juice, caramel and honey aromas, and warmth, spices and juicy sweetness fill in the mouth. It plays the perfect partner to blue cheese or chocolate.
Haritza oak aged
Small batches of the Le Blanc distillate are selected to mature in oak barrels alongside the Urumea river valley. After many years, the wood passes on a delicate taste, with spicy and intense aromas. It’s a fiery, warming spirit that is great for cool nights spent outdoors next to an open fire with a pleasant meal.