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Fall — in other parts of the country — brings to mind cozy sweaters, colorful leaves and hot apple cider.
But Arizona doesn’t quite lend itself to many of those things.
Considering the not-so-sweater-friendly temps, might we suggest a frozen slushie made with locally-made hard apple cider instead?
Arizona’s first hard cidery
Brothers Jason and Josh Duren opened Cider Corps in downtown Mesa on Veterans Day in 2017. Jason served in Afghanistan, and the cider taproom was built as a place to bring the community together, both those who’d served and those who hadn’t.
Cider Corps was the first cidery and taproom to open in Arizona, and since starting, the beverage maker’s fruit flavored creations have taken off in popularity. Customers now drive from all over the Valley to the modern yet cozy space to enjoy a variety of locally-made hard ciders.
But from the very beginning, the brothers have been thinking about ways to draw customers to the taproom.
“We thought, how do we stir up a level of interest that people want to give it a shot?” Josh asked, noting that spring training, during which the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics baseball teams play, is a big draw for Mesa.
Duren wanted to create something cool and refreshing for baseball fans who had been sitting out in the sun to watch a game. With that came the idea for one of their top sellers: Cider Corps’ Cider Slushies.
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What’s in a cider slushie?
Each cider slushie starts with a base batch of plain hard apple cider. Fresh fruit is then blended in and the whole mixture is frozen.
Adding fresh fruit instead of freezing fruit-flavored ciders, which Cider Corps also makes, boosts the flavor of the slushies, Duren says. The drinks come in at around 6% alcohol.
At any given time, Cider Corps has three different flavors of slushies spinning around in the mixers. Customers can pick a flavor or mix and match.
Spicy mango, served with tajin and chamoy, has been one of the biggest hits, Duren says.
“If we take it off the menu we get all kinds of Facebook messages,” Duren says with a laugh. “I have to turn off my notifications.”
Green apple, pina colada and watermelon also have been extremely popular this summer, Duren says, estimating they’ve made between 35 and 40 different flavors since getting the machines. Many of the flavors come from recommendations from the community.
“The slushies have become way more than what we ever thought it would be,” Duren says.” It’s definitely got a mind of its own.”
Fall flavors start in October
While refreshing during the summer, cider slushies are on tap year round at Cider Corps with seasonal flavors rotating throughout the year.
“It can be January and we still go through a lot of cider slushies,” Duren says. “As soon as people walk up to the bar and see the machine they want to know what that is.”
Last fall chai, coffee and cranberry slushies garnished with cinnamon sugar were on the menu. Look for fall flavors this year starting in October.
Once the weather finally starts to cool down, Cider Corps will have non-frozen fall flavored offerings as well. The cidery’s pie flavored series continues into the fall with pumpkin pie, black cherry crisp and peach cobbler ciders on tap.
Cider Corps also will host its second annual Southwest Cider Festival on October 19 and then celebrate its second anniversary with a party in early November, including the unveiling of specialty collaborations.
Details: Cider Corps, 31 S. Robson #103, Mesa. 480-993-3164, cidercorpsaz.com.
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