To prove their prowess, The Stable’s Cider Masters have completed the first ever Cider Exams, set for them by Gabe Cook, The Stable’s new Cider Ambassador. Now certifiable experts, the 23 “cider sommeliers” will now be on hand at The Stable’s 17 locations across the country to provide recommendations, pairings, tasting notes and cider experiences to the restaurant group’s patrons.

It was a tough test; one that the Cider Masters had been working towards taking for several months. They have been put through a rigorous training course with tastings and research done into every step of cider-making.

David Gough, The Stable Operations Director adds, “We are the only company who are dedicating time and effort into training our staff to this level of cider schooling; all so that we can provide an unprecedented level of knowledge to our customers. Our Cider Master journey is leading the current uprising of the Cider revolution and we want everyone to join.”

With questions including “describe the aroma, flavour and mouthfeel characteristics of a Dessert Apple style cider” and “why would a cider maker would use a wild yeast?” it was not a class full of aced tests. Befitting the occasion, the exams took place at Sandford Orchards on the traditional day of Wassail, the 17th of January, and were followed by a very cidery celebration.

With nods to the pagan ritual, the group welcomed in the new growing year and made wishes for a good apple harvest, before joining in traditional folk songs and apple-themed games and food.

The centrepiece of the Wassail celebrations was an apple tree over 100-years in age.

The exams were a truly momentous occasion for Gabe Cook, who joins The Stable team as their Cider Ambassador and comes with a wealth of experience in the field. A self-titled “Ciderologist”, Gabe’s proficiency on the subject comes from years of sheer devotion and passion for the product. With worldwide experience ranging from time as a cider maker, to Cider Communications Manager for Heineken UK and now as Cider Expert on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch, there really is nothing he does not know about fermented apple and/or pear juice. The Stable are excited by the expertise Gabe brings to the table and together they will be drastically enhancing the cider element of the restaurants’ offering. With events and programs planned for 2018, it is going to be a great year for this new partnership.

(Our mate Gabe)

With a range of Cider Experiences now available to book at all The Stable’s 17 locations, the Cider Masters are already being put to good use. Perfect for a party or as an educational practise, these events promise to provide insight into the complexity of this traditional tipple. Ranging in price from £15 to £30 per person, there is an experience to suit all levels of enthusiasm, and The Stable is thrilled to be able to offer a cutting-edge level of expertise.