What is cider? That’s a question lots of us have asked, whether in a pub or over brunch. On a basic level, cider is simply the juice of apples, fermented. But that misses so much! The best way to find out about cider is to drink it, but a little background knowledge can help.
The world of cider is a big tent. There are a bunch of different approaches to making it. And there are endless ciders with different flavors and tastes and aromas. How on earth do we make sense of all of that?
The one thing we know is true is that most folks don’t know how much complexity and nuance the world of cider offers.
If you have tasted only one cider, you may not be able to guess what else is out there. One truth about cider is that it can be so many different things. There are tastes and flavors that surprise you. No matter what your drink of choice usually is, chances are there’s a cider for you out there.
A good place to start is the apple. Apples are the heart and soul of cider. But not all apples are the same. Here’s the surprise. Many of the best apples for cider making aren’t in your grocery store. Even the fancy specialty store. You probably have never heard of these varieties. Some apples have been grown specifically for cider for centuries, and if you were to bite into them, the flavors would be shockingly bitter or sharp—hardly delicious! In fact, these apples are called “spitters” – because, that’s what you would do if you bit into one. But when made into cider, they have qualities that can contribute incredible nuance and structure to a cider, like a great mouthfeel or aroma. And every cider maker has their preferences and they often like to experiment. They select and blend varieties very carefully.
Cider makers have decided to group their ciders into two major groups: modern and heritage cider, and both are great. Modern cider mostly uses the sorts of apples we eat, like Honeycrisp and Gala. In contrast, heritage ciders focus on using traditional cider apples—think of those bittersharp “spitters” and old heirloom varieties. These cidermakers approach their task like winemakers bringing out only the complexity that cider apples provide.
What we love are these incredible, nuanced and delicious heritage ciders. They are often drier than a cider you may have sampled at a bar. They have depth and complexity. They offer up layers of flavor and a range of taste notes that are often unexpected. They surprise us, and they delight us. We love that they aren’t always simple – that each sip gives us something new to appreciate. We love the artistry behind the blend of cider apples in each glass. That’s why we call ourselves Cider in Love. Heritage ciders are what we love. And we have dedicated our site to them.