Way back when, in the 1700s, hard cider was the quintessential early American drink, something that graced almost every table. (Founding Father and President John Adams famously drank a tankard of the stuff every morning.) Though American cider production eventually dissipated, craft cider is now back in full force — still and sparkling, dry and sweet, fermented for a few weeks before bottling and generally lower in alcohol than wine. On Long Island, spots to find and enjoy locally produced hard cider are mostly clustered on the East End — though keep in mind that a few use apples from upstate, where orchards are more plentiful.
Lieb Cellars (13050 Oregon Rd., Cutchogue): North Fork apples are the base for this winery's Rumor Mill hard cider; sip some on the patio (at least in warmer weather) paired with a cheese or charcuterie plate. Reservations recommended. No limos, buses or outside food are permitted, but leashed pets are allowed on the patio. Tastings: $20 for five wines. More info: 631-734-1100, liebcellars.com.
Po’Boy Brewery (200 Wilson St., Unit E3, Port Jefferson Station): The cider menu changes often, but expect to encounter offbeat takes such as the Tandy Man Can (a cider made with tangerine, mango and orange) or Death St-our (a sour cider flavored with blackberry and lemonade). Tastings: $2.50 for each four-ounce pour, $6-$7 for tulips, pints and cans. More info: 631-828-1131, poboybrewery.com
The Riverhead Ciderhouse (2711 Sound Ave., Calverton): This cavernous cidery caters to those who love seasonal ciders flavored with raspberries, cranberries and peaches, but there are also a few traditional ciders as well as beer and wine on tap. Order and pickup curbside or try for a spot in the first-come, first served tasting room. Tastings: Cider and beer flights $12 for four two-ounce glasses. More info: 631-591-0217, riverheadcider.com
Wölffer Estate Vineyard (139 Sagg Rd., Sagaponack): This winery is well-known for rosé but its cider range is growing every year, too, from a rosé cider and LoRo, a low-alcohol, low-calorie version. The terrace is a picturesque place to kick back with a glass, a flatbread and a view of the vineyard. Reservations required, and curbside pickup available from a wine stand out front. Tastings: $25 per flight; glass prices vary. More info: 631-537-5106, wolffer.com
Woodside Orchards (729 Main Rd. (Route 25), Aquebogue): 631-722-5770, woodsideorchards.com. This family-owned orchard has operated in Jamesport since 1982, and the homey Aquebogue tasting room has hard cider on tap. They come either flavored with fruit such as berries or in a more traditional style, both sweet or dry. Taste a flight or grab a glass or growler. Seating at picnic tables is first-come, first-served. Tastings: $8 for a tasting flight; $8 to $11 per glass.