A visit to the Ralston Cider Mill includes a guided tour outlining the history of the mill from a grist mill to a cider mill and applejack distillery and the historic importance of apples to America, especially in New Jersey.
Knowledgeable docents and millers will tour the building with you to explain the interesting history and complex construction of New Jersey’s last remaining cider mill. They will demonstrate the step-by-step process of apple cider production and tell the fascinating story of how this former gristmill for grinding grains into flour and cornmeal became a cider mill producing millions of gallons of apple cider, applejack and bootleg “Jersey Lightning”.
If you are interested, you might also ask about our resident ghosts, for the Ralston Cider Mill has not always been kind to its owners!
In the former “still” shed, a video explains the step-by-step process of apple cider production using the restored historic equipment seen in the mill and a miller reviews the process of producing hard cider and applejack.
Waterpower, formerly used to drive the mill equipment, is reviewed in the lower level of the mill, where the water turbine and former wooden water wheel is discussed. Large cider vats are visible at this level as well as the “peach elevator.”
On the upper production level of the mill, millers review the very interesting process of making cider and demonstrate the operation of the historic presses driven by a system of belts, pulleys and gears from the water turbine below. This power had a mighty impact. The Jerseyman newspaper noted in 1884: “Morris is said to be the greatest applejack producing county in the United States and Mendham is the leading township in the county.”
Visit Morris County
The Ralston Cider Mill is a wonderful reason to visit beautiful Mendham, New Jersey. Surrounded by parks, woodland preserves, country fields, steams and picking farms, the mill is located in some of the loveliest and most historic countryside of New Jersey. The Ralston Cider Mill is an easy day trip from Northern and Central New Jersey, all New York City boroughs, and the surrounding areas. There are also many other attractions in Morris County to please history buffs, picnickers, hikers, runners, bikers and families of all ages. Visit the Morris County Visitors Center to learn more.