What Is Ice Cider and How Is It Made?

Have you heard of ice cider? Otherwise known as ‘cidre de glace’, ice cider is a popular version of hard cider that originated in Quebec in the early 1990s. As the name states, it’s made from sweet juice extracted from frozen cider, just like how ice wine is made from frozen grapes. This method also produces a higher alcohol content than traditional cider. 

This form of cider was coined by cider producer Christian Barthomeuf, owner of Clos Saragnat, who produced and established the first ice cider in Quebec, Canada. Producers of ice wine use the natural cold temperatures to freeze fermented apple juice to harvest its natural sugars.

The regular process of hard cider is simply fermenting fresh-pressed apple cider, whereas ice cider is fermented from the natural sugar within fresh apple juice that has been separated from the water in the juice by freezing it. 

How Ice Cider is Made:

The freezing process can be done in 2 ways:

1. Cryoextraction

This method is most common in areas that experience the colder seasons such as Quebec, Ontario, Vermont, and parts of Europe because it relies on the weather. In this method, apples are kept on the branch until they become frozen. Once they have dried out from the cold and sun, they are then picked. 

The downside to this method is that it requires lots of labour on short notice in addition to perfect temperatures. There is also the option to harvest the apples in the fall and then leave them outside until they freeze. 

Frozen applesWith this method, the separation of the water and juice happens within the fruit rather than afterwards. The apples are then pressed, the juice is frozen more, and the resulting cider is then harvested and fermented at a low temperature for 8 months. 

Making ice cider in this method requires more production and it can take 50-100 apples to make only one bottle of ice cider. With being so reliant on weather conditions, some years it may not be possible at all if temperatures are not low enough. 


2. Cryoconcentration

This process is the most common method as roughly 95% of all ice cider is made this way. This production of ice cider focuses on the harvesting of apples during the fall season and keeping them fresh until they can be pressed in the winter. 

Once the juice is pressed, it is then placed outdoors in containers to freeze during the winter for approximately 6 months. As the water freezes, the sugar separates from the ice which then becomes harvested for the fermentation process. The harvested juice is then fermented in vats for 7 months before being bottled.

This method allows for greater control and involvement rather than relying on the weather which makes this the most effective and popular way to produce ice cider.

Prince Edward County Ice Cider

a photo of County Cider's ice cider with a charcuterie board and two glasses of wine

At County Cider, our Prince Edward County Ice Cider is a medley of Northern Spy, Russet and Ida Red apples that is very sweet with notes of caramel and cinnamon. Following the Cryoextraction method, these varieties of apples do not fall when ripe but remain on the tree through freezing temperatures which are perfect for creating Ice Cider. Paired nicely with foie gras, aged cheese, or fresh desserts our Ice Cider is served best when chilled. 


After a long fermentation our 2017 barrel aged ice cider was racked into unique COACH barrels made by a local PEC cooper, for a period of at least 12 months. The County Oak, Ash, Cherry & Hickory imbued this cider with fabulous flavours, aromas, and a refined honeyed mouthfeel. This ice cider is sure to elevate any dinner party, make an elegant gift or souvenir, and will also make you a great host/hostess for providing an elegant taste. 

A unique product that is sure to elevate a dinner party, excellent gift or addition to any special occasion. Visit our website to try our Prince Edward County Ice Cider or a variety of our cider flavours: www.countycider.com