Is Cider A Drink for Everyone?
Cider has a long and somewhat stereotypical past of Country folk and old men enjoying a glass of something murky and strong. Let’s not forget about the Pagans and Wassail… But are we starting to see a change? Beautiful crisp or bone-dry artisan ciders are starting to pop up, making people thing about what they are drinking.
Wassailing is one of those wonderful British traditions that has just about managed to hang on. Still critical to the cider making calendar. Wassail is celebrated on Twelfth Night of the pagan New Years Eve, commonly held to be 6 January. In the deepest and darkest parts of the cider world it happens on 17 January, also known as “Old Twelvey” the true pagan New Year. It’s in the orchard that the wassail has really retained its significance and mythical status. The event begins with a torchlit procession around the cider orchard, with revellers banging pots and pans to scare off insidious forces. The evening is often led by a Wassail King and Queen. The Butler leads the crowd in singing songs appealing to Pomona the apple goddess for a healthy harvest.
A traditional orchard known as a standard orchard. The traditional style of orchard would have been present on every farm in the West of England to make cider for the family and the labour force. The canopy was deliberately held high so livestock could be allowed to roam underneath. The apples would have been largely picked by hand.
So what is Cider?
Cider is an alcoholic drink the product of fermented apple juice. With hundreds of different cider apple varieties available to the cider maker there is an almost limitless potential to produce drinks of different styles. Traditional West Country style ciders are made from specific varieties of apple that have been grown for centuries solely for the purpose of making cider.
The list below shows the names of apples used in cider making from sweet to bittershap apples
· Morgan Sweet
· Sweet Coppin
· Crimson King
· Stoke Red
· Kingston Black
With a little planning why not offer cider with your next meal instead of wine. The world of cider is just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. So I do think there is a cider for
everyone. As in the world of wine sometimes people need to be pushed outside of their comfort zone to find something they enjoy. Maybe look out for an iced cider made from frozen apples or Local Fox cider its made from 100% rescued fruit, otherwise destined for compost. they press in small batches, using the traditional rack-and-cloth method leaving the juice too naturally ferment over winter. Or why not help out with The orchard Project.
So who would have thought the humble Apple could have been so versatile…….