Having established that Britain is the world capital of cider drinking, and Somerset is the finest producer of great cider in Britain it is time to see what other countries around the world produce and enjoy cider. Obviously the regions of the world that can grow cider apples can also make cider, but the production methods and the intricate nuances of making this old traditional drink are known only to the few.
When the Spanish love something they tend to make a big song and dance about it, perhaps it is their Latin heritage that makes the Spanish so flamboyant and passionate about certain things. And one thing is for certain in certain parts of Spain they are seriously emotional about cider.
To really experience a total Spanish cider experience you must travel to the Asturias on the northern coast of Spain. Here they take cider making and drinking as a national honor. Sidra is a local version of cider, and this bone-dry drink has a highly particular way that it must be served.
The Spanish flair for the dramatic has adopted a way of throwing the sidra into the small drinking glass that it is traditionally served. The sidre is poured from a great height, often directly from the barrel, to splash in the glass. The drink is aerated on route and it has almost a fizzy quality to it. It should then be drank down in one to savor the creamy champagne like quality.
Over two decades ago America saw what was happening in Europe and started their own highly successful craft brewing production. They took European brewing techniques and traditions and applied them to modern day American brewing practices.
Today America is doing the same with cider, with the greatest influences coming from Somerset in England. The difference between British cider and American is the apples. America does not grow an abundance of the bittersweet English apples so the American version of cider tends to be sparkling, and like all American drinks served ice cold. This almost champagne-like drink is becoming highly popular in Manhattan fancy dining restaurants as an alternative to wine.
Possibly the most famous beer producing country in the world is Germany, but the region of Hessen is proud of its long tradition of making apfelwein. One of the best places to sample apfelwein is in the Sachenhausen area of Frankfurt where the small cobbled streets are littered with cider houses devoted to serving this local favorite.
Apflewein is served still and can range from five to seven percent abv. The locals sometimes top their cider up with water, soda, and even orange juice to add a little sweetness. The Frankfurt cider houses are highly atmospheric and the beverage normally arrives in large jugs and then poured into blue and white ceramic mugs.
And to keep the German tradition of drinking and eating together, each cider house will serve authentic regional dishes that help to stave off the effects of the alcohol.
All of these countries produce their own local versions of cider, and there are never two brands that are exactly the same. And that is part of the attraction of this old traditional drink.