Discover the Delicious Diversity of Cider

Cider offers a surprisingly diverse range of flavors – sweet to dry, still to fizzy, and even unexpected colors. Put aside the sugary stuff and explore the delicious complexity of artisanal ciders.

Discover the Delicious Diversity of Cider
A hand pouring a golden, slightly fizzy cider into a stemmed glass.

They say an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but what if they've been lying to us all along? What if the true prescription for good health is a tall glass of bubbly, golden cider? Alright, maybe not quite good health, but certainly good cheer.

Cider, that long-neglected cousin of beer, is finally getting its moment in the spotlight. Like your favorite craft beer, cider has an intriguing depth often masked by its easy drinkability. So, let's go beyond those basic facts you might find on a bottle label. We're going to dive into the colorful world of ciders – the bubbly, the funky, and the occasionally downright strange.

First, a reality check: cider isn't just adult apple juice, no matter how pale it might look. Just like its beer counterpart, cider boasts a spectrum of alcohol content. A standard Canadian drop might sit around 6-7%, but it can be as mellow as 3% or climb all the way to a head-spinning 13% for those seeking a bolder adventure.

Then there's the flow of sweetness. “Dry” ciders leave your tongue with little to no hint of sugar, like a crisp white wine. Feeling playful? “Medium” offers a cheeky touch of sweetness, also known as “semi-sweet” or “off-dry”. If you've got a true sweet tooth, well, then “sweet” ciders deliver with generous amounts of residual sugar.

Ever heard of a still cider? Chances are, not often. Much like sparkling wine enjoys its bubbly reign, ciders seem happiest when they've got a bit of fizz about them. You might hear folks describe these as “pétillant” – charmingly effervescent with a delicate tingle. Need more oomph? “Sparkling” is your go-to, with a carbonation level that rivals some Champagnes. Some ciders come by their bubbles naturally, while others receive a little helping hand from some added CO2.

A diverse flight of ciders with colors ranging from pale straw to bright pink.
A flight of ciders showcasing different colors, from pale yellow to vibrant pink.

The Colors of the Cider Rainbow

Forget that 'pee yellow' image stuck in your head. True apple and pear ciders, the old-school originals, are either nearly colorless or have a very subtle straw-like hue. However, fear not fans of vibrant beverages. Today, most non-traditional ciders get a generous splash of artificial color to match their funky fruit flavors. Think cranberry red, blueberry blue, and every wacky shade in between.

Cider, much like your slightly eccentric great-aunt, is full of fascinating surprises. Beyond the basics of alcohol, sweetness, and bubbles, there's a whole orchard of other factors that create distinct experiences. Some ciders use specific apple varieties, blending the tart and the sweet for a harmonious balance of taste. Others experiment with aging techniques, borrowing barrels from whiskey or brandy to impart unique flavors. We're not even going to go down the rabbit hole of wild yeasts and funky fermentations.

See, cider's got layers and discovering those layers can be a delightful adventure. In other words, next time you're scanning those shelves, don't just grab the first recognizable name. Take a risk. Try the strange one with the unpronounceable apple blend. Seek out a local cidery and sample the wild stuff. You might just be surprised by the vibrant, sometimes quirky, and always delicious world that opens up before you. Just remember, if you end up liking cider a little too much… well, an apple a day never hurt anyone, right?

In-text Citation: (Nuttall, 2012, p. 25)