How Strong is a Typical Cider?

  • The Strength of a Cider is governed by the amount of sugar in the juice which is converted by yeasts into alcohol and carbon dioxide

  • This is typically around 5-8.5% ABV ( unlike wine which will be around 11-15%)

  • Cider can be sweetened by adding juice (Back sweetening) which will lower ABV to 4-5% ABV

  • Try to consider Cider as a wine with a low ABV, not a beer with a high ABV, as the comparisons are far more justified

Not sure about Typical Styles to Look for when choosing a Cider? Read On!

What is an East Cost Style Cider?

  •  Often made with dessert and culinary fruit

  • Gives it a much lighter profile more like a white wine than the bigger, bolder tannic red wine style of the West Coast

  • Look for Ciders from Suffolk, Kent and Sussex

  • Give these a try if you are looking for something light and bright like a prosecco, cava or bright alcoholic apple juice

What is a West Coast Style Cider?

  • Traditionally made with specific Cider varieties of fruit 

  • Two main types of apples; Bittersweet and Bittersharp

  • Ciders tend to have a fuller flavour with tannins and richness more akin to bigger white wines and red wines

  • More notable regions include Herefordshire and Somerset, but look out for Devon, Cornwall, and surrounding counties

  • Can be still or sparkling

What is a Champagne Method Cider?

  • French Monk Dom Perignon used English Cider making methods when he discovered Champagne in the 1700s

  • Cider is left to re-ferment in the bottle with the natural Carbon Dioxide from fermentation trapped in the bottle by the cork and cage

  • This gives the Cider (Champagne/ Prosecco or Cava) its natural fizz

  • Bottles are thicker and heavier to withstand the natural pressure from the fizz

What do I need to Know about French Cider/ Cidre?

  • Two big regions to look for Normandy and Brittany ( Norman and Breton) both on the North Coast of France

  • Normandy (Norman) Cider tends to drink much like a British West Coast Cider, big in flavour and tannins ( think red wine)

  • Brittany (Breton) Cider often uses a process called keeving which gives a warmer, slightly sweeter, richer, rustic Cider, ( think honey, butter and toffee)

  • French Ciders are traditionally NOT still, and enjoyed with Crepes

What do I need to know about Spanish Cider/ Sidra?

  • Produced in the North of Spain in the Basque and Isturian Regions.

  • Distinctly sharp, fresh, zingy and acidic, it needs to be aired by pouring it from at least 50cm so that it lands with a splash into a flat bottomed Glass, little by little

  • Give these a try if you like a sharper wine such as a Picpoul De Pinet or NZ Sauvignon Blanc 

  • A great match with Spanish  Food, Seafood and Fish & Chips

What is Hard Cider?

  • Term comes from the US era of Prohibition in the 1920s.

  • During Prohibition ( ban on alcohol)  apple juice became known as Cider, Alcoholic ”Cider” became known as “Hard Cider”

  • After Prohibition, the term stuck in the US, hence USA “Cider” is known as “Hard Cider”

What is Keeved Cider?

  • Rather than being pressed, apples are mashed ( macerated)

  • Bits float to the top and the natural pectins form a gel across the top known as a brown cap which suffocates the natural yeasts so they ferment slower 

  • Yeasts ferment slower and die early meaning that the resulting Cider is richer, sweeter, funkier and a bit more rustic

  • Give it a try if you like honey, buttery, warm and rustic tones

What is Pear Cider/ Perry?

  • Made from specific “Perry Pears”, which are often short, fat and bitter

  • Known as “spitters” s they are too bitter and tannic to eat, they make bad food but great Cider, like fantastic white wine , full of complexity and flavour

  • Trees take many years to mature, it is often said that Perry trees are planted for your children

  • Give these a try if you like something like a nice white wine, great with salads and seafood. 

What is Ice Cider?

  • Originally made by allowing apples to freeze and thaw over the Canadian winter, removing excess water 

  • It can also be made by freezing juice straight after pressing, and allowing it to thaw naturally so that water is left behind

  • Leaves a sweeter, more complex and higher alcoholic juice which is then made into Cider which is richer more complex

  • Perfect with dessert or a cheese board to round off a meal with friends