Encyclopedia > Cider

  Article Content


Cider has different meanings in the United Kingdom and the United States. Both meanings refer to a product containing the juice of apples.

Table of contents

Unfermented Cider

In the US, cider is a non-alcoholic beverage; a sub-category of apple juice, made from early-harvest apples which have a lower sugar content and are more acidic, thus cider has a more tart, tangy taste than apple juice. It is generally (though not always) unfiltered (giving it an opaque appearance from suspended solids), and is traditionally unpasteurized (It is occasionally still sold unpasteurized which is considered to have a better flavor, but the possibility of salmonella and E. coli infection means that most apple cider is pasteurized). Apple ciders are sometimes made from blends of several different apples to give a balanced taste. Some businesses may try to pass off standard apple juice as cider.

"Hot cider" or "mulled cider" is a popular fall and winter beverage, consisting of (nonalcoholic) cider, heated to a temperature just below boiling, with cinnamon, orange peel, nutmeg, cloves and other spices added. Another cider available in the US is "sparkling cider", a carbonated non-alcoholic beverage made from filtered apple cider or apple juice. The alcoholic apple drink (see below) is referred to as "hard cider" in North America.

Alcoholic ciders

In the UK, cider is an alcoholic drink brewed from apple juice. It is predominantly (but by no means exclusively) brewed in the south-west and west of England. Cider is often stronger than beer, and will frequently be over 6% alcohol by volume. The common eating apples are unsuitable for cider brewing, being low in tannins: specific apple varieties[?] bred specially for cider brewing are preferred.

As with other drinks, ciders comes in a variety of tastes, from sweet to dry. As with other sweet drinks, sweet cider tends to be popular with young people. As such, cider is often the drink of choice for teenagers in the UK (along with alcopops). This is aided by preferentially low duty (= tax) rates for cider compared to beer, which reduces its cost.

Modern ciders are generally heavily processed, and resemble sparkling wine in appearance. These are called hard cider in the U.S. More traditional brands, often known as scrumpy, tend to be darker and more cloudy, as less of the apple is filtered out. They are often stronger than processed varieties. In very large quantities (in excess of 2 gallons per day) scrumpy can cause temporary blindness due to trace amounts of arsenic found in apple seeds. Such consumption is extremely rare. Abdominal pains known as "Devon colic" have been attributed to mild lead poisoning: the acidic juice dissolving lead from the traditional cider presses used in that region.

An old practice with cider is the making of applejack, where a barrel of cider is left outside during the winter. When the temperature is low enough the water in the cider will start to freeze. If the ice is removed, the (now more concentrated) alcoholic solution is left behind in the barrel. If the process is repeated often enough, and the temperature is low enough, you can make some very strong spirit indeed.

Famous brands of cider

In Australia, 'cider' can be either an alcoholic drink as described above, or a sparkling non-alcoholic beverage made from apples. Alcoholic cider is sold in bottleshops, while the non-alcoholic version is stocked in the soft-drink lanes of the supermarket.

French cidre is an alcoholic drink produced predominantly in Normandy. It varies in strength from below 4% to considerably more. Some is carbonated and sold in Champagne-style bottles.

Other alcoholic beverages besides cider are also made from apples, such as apple wine[?], and the distilled spirits apple brandy[?], and calvados.

How to make cider -- from the 1881 Household Cyclopedia

After the apples are gathered from the trees they are ground into what is called pommage, either by means of a common pressing stone, with a circular trough, or by a cider mill, which is either driven by the hand, or by horse-power. When the pulp is thus reduced to a great degree of fineness, it is conveyed to the cider press, where it is formed by pressure into a kind of cake, which is called the cheese.

This is effected by placing clear, sweet straw, or hair cloths between the layers of pommage till there is a pile of 10 or 12 layers. This pile is then subjected to different degrees of pressure in succession, till all the must or juice is squeezed from the pommage. This juice, after being strained in a coarse hair-sieve, is then put either into open vats or close casks, and the pressed pulp is either thrown away or made to yield a weak liquor called washings.

After the liquor has undergone the proper fermentation in these close vessels, which may be best effected in a temperature of from 40 to 60 Fahrenheit, and which may be known by its appearing tolerably clear, and having a vinous sharpness upon the tongue, any further fermentation must be stopped by racking off the pure part into open vessels exposed for a day or two in a cool situation. After this the liquor must again be put into casks and kept in a cool place during winter. The proper time for racking may always be known by the brightness of the liquor, the discharge of the fixed air, and the appearance of a thick crust formed of fragments of the reduced pulp. The liquor should always be racked off anew, as often as a hissing noise is heard, or as it extinguishes a candle held to the bung-hole.

When a favorable vinous fermentation has been obtained, nothing more is required than to fill up the vessels every 2 or 3 weeks, to supply the waste by fermentation. On the beginning of March the liquor will be bright and pure and fit for final racking, which should be done in fair weather. When the bottles are filled they should be set by uncorked till morning, when the corks must be driven in tightly, secured by wire or twine and melted rosin, or any similar substance.

All Wikipedia text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License

  Search Encyclopedia

Search over one million articles, find something about almost anything!
  Featured Article

... in 2001 - to less than 2% - because of a slowdown in major markets and the hiking of interest rates by the Central Bank to combat inflationary pressures. Investor ...

This page was created in 24.3 ms