It’s cider season. Here’s how to drink it – Lowell Sun
Fall is here and, despite the aggressive push for pumpkin spice, it’s unequivocally apple and cider season.
In its most basic definition, cider is fermented apple juice. But like wine, it can skew tangy, sour, dry, bitter, sweet, wild, herbaceous, sour, sparkling with large bubbles or fine sparkling bubbles, or not at all sparkling. Some ciders aren’t even made from apples, but from pears or other pome fruits.
Cider has a long history. Records of cider making date back to the Roman Empire, and many historians believe the Romans discovered it when they invaded what is now modern England. After the Norman conquest of England in 1066, the drink spread throughout Europe, with regions developing different production methods and traditions influenced by the land, apple varieties and local customs.
To this end, traditional English ciders are often dry and tannic; French cider tends to be sweeter, low in alcohol, and slightly sparkling; and the Spanish sidra is often funky, tangy and unfiltered. Although closely related, the northern regions of Basque and Asturias – the two main cider-making regions in Spain – produce different styles: Basque cider is generally more acidic and salty; More fruity Asturian cider.
In North America, cider was extremely popular in the 17th century, but the once invigorating drink fell out of favor due to a growing preference for beer and a move towards urban development in the mid to late 19th century. .
Since the late 1990s, American cider has moved from post-Prohibition sweet iterations to serious bottles that use age-old and contemporary techniques and artisanal ciders ranging from bone dry to juicy and deliciously funky.
Simply start and mix equal parts cider and vermouth over ice. For another easy low ABV (alcohol by volume) option, substitute the wine for cider in a Kir cocktail and call it a Kir Breton. Or, if you’re looking for something with more spirits, garnish a base of gin, sherry and orange liqueur with a good dose of sparkling dry cider.
The best way to determine which cider is the most balanced is to taste a bunch and experiment. Johnson suggests using a richer cider to counteract a more fruity base. Pair a sweeter base with a drier cider, or vice versa.
Once you find a cider you love, you can continue serving it year round: if history is any indication, the apple, the quintessential fall fruit, has a long shelf life. .
By Rebekah Peppler
Bright, botanical, and slightly sparkling, this cocktail is a great entry point to drink in fall – and one that can easily carry you into spring. Look for a cider that’s dry, light, and not too strong in acid or funk here: you want the herbs in the gin and the salinity in the sherry to play an equal role in the balance of the drink.
Yield: 1 glass
- 3/4 ounce of gin
- 3/4 ounce fino sherry
- 1/2 ounce of orange liqueur
- 1/2 ounce of fresh lime juice
- 2 dashes of bitter orange
- 2 ounces of light, dry cider, chilled
1. In a shaker, combine the gin, sherry, orange liqueur, lime juice and bitters. Add ice, cover and shake vigorously until the drink is cooled, about 15 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with cider.
By Rebekah Peppler
The equal proportions of vermouth and cider make this cocktail particularly easy to pour or prepare. Choose a cider with a bit of acidity and funk, and go for a quality red vermouth. Soft and slightly viscous, it resists and softens the personality of the cider. Finally, don’t skimp on the garnish. Orange, olives, and peppers should be rolled out in a way that looks less like a decoration and more like a snack. Drop the skewer directly into your cocktail for citrus and brine notes – or set it on top for snacking and sipping as you wish.
Yield: 1 glass
- 1 1/2 ounces of sweet vermouth
- 1 1/2 ounce Basque or Basque-style cider
Orange half wheels, green olives (such as Manzanilla), guindilla peppers (also called piparras), for garnish
1. Fill a lowball glass with ice cubes. Add the sweet vermouth and cider, stir gently to combine. Thread a skewer with half an orange wheel, a few olives and a guindilla pepper, and decorate.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.