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