Cider is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented juice of apples.  Its is popular in the United Kingdom and Ireland, especially in the West Country, and widely available.  The UK has the world’s highest per capita consumption, as well as its largest cider-producing companies.

It is also popular in many Commonwealth countries, such as India, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  Aside from the UK and its former colonies, cider is popular in other European countries including Portugal (mainly in Minho and Madeira), France (particularly Brittany and Normandy), northern Italy (Piedmont and Friuli), and Spain (especially Asturias and the Basque Country).

Central Europe also has its own types of ciders with Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse producing a particularly tart version known as Apfelwein.  In the U.S. and parts of Canada, varieties of fermented ciders are often called hard ciders to distinguish alcoholic cider from non-alcoholic “ciders” or “sweet cider”, also made from apples.

The juice of any variety of apple can be used to make ciders, but cider-apples are best.  The addition of sugar or extra fruit before a second fermentation increases the ethanol content of the resulting beverage.

The alcohol content varies from 1.2% to 8.5% ABVor more in traditional English ciders, and 3.5% to 12% in continental ciders.  In UK law, it must contain at least 35% apple juice (fresh or from concentrate), although CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) says that “real ciders” must be at least 90% fresh apple juice.  In the US, there is a 50% minimum.  In France, du cidre must be made solely from apples.

Perry is a similar product to ciders, but it is made from fermented pear juice.

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