Most people think Cider is a quintessential English drink although it must be said it is highly popular in Ireland, France, and Spain too. It is the perfect thirst quencher on a hot summer’s day, as it is packed with flavor and highly refreshing. However, some people are under the misapprehension about cider and its qualities and ingredients so here we discover more about apple cider.
Apple Juice & Cider
You are probably used to pouring a chilled glass of apple juice for your kids, but don’t attempt to do this with cider. Apple Juice is made from the same ingredient as cider, namely apples and comes in two forms, raw apple juice and pasteurized which has a much longer shelf life.
Cider has gone through a brewing process to produce alcohol, and in some cases many ciders have more alcohol than beer. This is because of the natural sugars that are found in apples, which is not the case with barley or malt that beer is traditionally made from.
Where is the Best Cider?
Cider is an ancient drink that has been made for thousands of years, it became particularly popular in England, northern France and in some regions of Spain. And it was the pilgrims who took cider making to America, where some of the very best ciders can be found in New England, California, and Georgia. Quite often the terminology for apple juice and cider in America is just cider, but almost everywhere else in the world if you order a cider then expect an alcoholic drink.
Origins of Cider
Cider is believed to have first been made as early as 55 BC when the Romans started to plant orchards in continental Europe. And its roots in Normandy date back to the Dark Ages where it was easier to grow apples and then grapes, and so cider was more common to wine.
The same went for New England where the newly landed pilgrims found it hard to grow barley in the local soil for their beer. They found it was much easier to grow apples, so cider became the drink of choice. By the mid-18th Century it was estimated that the average resident of Massachusetts consumed thirty-five gallons of cider each and every year.
Scrumpy, Applejack and Other Ciders
Cider making in England really started off down in the West Country possibly due the proximity to northern France. The first ciders were called scrumpy which is still brewed today and is an unfiltered version of cider. Scrumpy is very alcoholic and as it is normally brewed by farmers there are no controls over the alcohol levels, or what it is made from. In America applejack is the equivalent to scrumpy and when it is made a process of freeze-distilling is used. This increases the levels of alcohol to the original hard cider.
There are many liqueurs that are related to cider and the most famous one is Calvados, which is the cider version of a good brandy and is highly regarded by many brandy connoisseurs. So, pick your cider carefully as you may find yourself drinking something much stronger than you originally thought, but savor it and enjoy its unique taste.