CHICAGO (WLS) --Chicago finally has its first cider bar. The drink, a result of fermenting apple juice into an alcoholic beverage, has been enjoyed around the world for centuries.
Cider comes from multiple sources at The Northman, the city's first dedicated cider bar in the North Center neighborhood. From the tap as well as the bottle, it's become an obsession with the bar's owners.
"Cider is fermented apple juice. It's really similar to wine, made from apples and typically lower in alcohol," said owner Aaron Zacharias.
That means food-friendly, of course, but also immense variety.
"The range goes from something you could easily mistake for champagne and can go as low as maybe 3.5 percent alcohol to 10 percent alcohol - very rich, robust sweet ciders - and then you have all kinds of flavored ciders as well," said Zacharias.
A Spanish cider is poured from high above, aerating it to force bubbles since there is no carbonation. A cider from Normandy, on the other hand, is served with a cork and cage, since it has tons of bubbles in a secondary fermentation.
The kitchen works hard to match appropriate dishes: a platter of silky-smooth chicken liver, pickled onions and crusty bread is a start, as is a ploughman's platter of assorted cured meats and cheeses.
Mussels are topped with celery apples and chives, cooked in a dry cider from Seattle. Doner kebabs are made fresh, from both lamb and chicken, seasoned with cumin and turmeric. And for dessert? Elegant doughnuts drizzled with icing and a scoop of ice cream, paired with a sweeter cider containing apples, pears and quince.
"There's great acidity in these good ciders, so they work really well with food," Zacharias said.
So with 100 ciders for sale, 20 of which are on draught, the experts here behind the bar at The Northman aren't going to have too much trouble finding something that suits your taste.
4337 N Lincoln Ave
EXTRA COURSE: Rare finds at The Northman