Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Incy Wincy Cider; Crawling Closer to the Cider Season

Cider or Cyder (pron.: SY-dər); a fermented alcoholic beverage made from fruit juice, most commonly and traditionally apple juice, but also the juice of peaches or other fruit.

For a long time cider has been associated with the farmers of the West Country (insert vague memories of Scrumpy Jack in Cornwall!) but this fruity tipple has seemingly revolutionised sunny afternoons spent in pub gardens, and bridged the gap between beer, wine and alcopops. No longer just Strongbow on tap, "regular, draught or sweet?", cider has become a fashion statement for trendy, young drinkers nationwide, and I am pleased to proclaim I am part of this continued craze.

Cider, for me, evokes memories of warm summers days, blue sky, green grass, a slightly wonky picnic table out the back of a pub. A checked blanket sprawled by a river, more food than anyone dares to eat, a British picnic. Covered in mud, soaked through and having a bloody good time at a festival!

Normally a wine drinker, I surprise myself by asking for a cider "over ice please" when out and about as soon as our friend Mother Nature shows any glimmer of hope for a sun filled summer. We are still not quite there, but with two (yay!) bank holidays in May, I am hoping for at least some sunhine. To get into the spirit of things I conducted a very scientific tasting experiment (?!) of five of the most appealing ciders on my local supermarket shelf, and rated them out of 5. At 3 for £5 on selected ciders at Tesco, it would have been rude not to try more than one!

Official results...

Rekorderlig Peach & Apricot 3/5
In all honesty, this tasted like peach iced tea - which I love. As a cider, it was lacking slightly on the fizz front, a little flat and it simply did not taste alcoholic at all. Not necessarily a bad thing, but far too easy to drink of an afternoon. Next time, I will stick to their Strawberry & Lime combo, far more innovative and refreshing.

Bulmers Bold Black Cherry 2.5/5
Incredibly aromatic as soon as it hits the glass. Deep purple colour (most likely artificial!) makes it look like a big glug of Robinson's blackcurrant squash has been added to a glass of cider, but nonetheless, quite enticing. Tastes a little like Halls soothers, very sweet, but no hiding that it's black cherry. More than one and your teeth will be purple (which some people may like.... ?).

Aspall Classic Organic Suffolk Cyder 5/5
Lighter in colour and fuller bodied in style, this really is a classic. Strong, robust, sophisticated and dry, this definitely is more complex than the others I tasted. Perhaps there is no sense in jazzing up something which already works - certainly the case with this one. Delicious and tastes of apples - as it should.

Thatchers Rose Medium Sparkling Apple Cider 4/5
Pretty prink in colour, this looks more like a sparkling rose than a cider, but is somewhat appealing when scanning shelves of dark green and brown glass and overbearing labels. Dry, crisp and refreshing, with a perfect balance of crushed red apple sweetness, this is the summeriest of them all!

Kopparberg with Elderflower & Lime 3/5

The delicate, sweet floral aroma of this was enticing, but for me, the elderflower was far more prominent than lime. As a lime lover, this disappoints me! With a nice fizz, and a tasty finish, this was perfectly drinkable, but I wasn't wowed.

So many ciders, so little time! This time around (there will be more experimenting!) the Aspall Classic was by far my favourite and I will definitely be purchasing more.

Cheers everybody, happy bank holidays!

Have you tried a cider you think is worth sharing? Let us know!

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