It’s like juice… just a little more grown up.
A staple in the United Kingdom since the Romans ruled, cider remains a prominent part of British society. The fruity, fresh flavour combined with the bubbly satisfaction of the drink– let’s just say we hope it counts as one of our five a day!
Here’s the in-cider scoop about the production and history of this beloved beverage. We’ve also thrown in a few of our favourite ciders, all available on Drinkly for super fast delivery!
Blast from cider’s past
Cider started out as a Roman treat, with apple and pear trees following close behind soldiers. They grew the fruit wherever they stayed, namely here in Britain, making ‘apple alcohol’ (basically ancient cider). Caesar and his invading soldiers witnessed the Celts drinking a crab apple brew in 55 BCE and went on to pick up the habit and introduce fellow Romans to it. The drink was served with sweeteners such as honey and became so significant that it was even sometimes buried with the dead in small cups. When the Greeks and Romans ruled cider production, apples of all sorts were used. Generally, these were the apples in the orchard that weren’t sweet enough to eat.
Apples used as a dessert, for cooking, and for cider were all eventually prepared separately and continue to be differentiated from one another today. To ensure a fruitful crop for their cider, the English would engage in the tradition of wassailing, or drinking and singing the health of their trees. This was done to ward off evil and ensure a plentiful harvest.
Did you know that cider was often used to baptise children in the 14th century? It was more sanitary than water, and let’s be honest, is divine! The water’s cleanliness problem attributed to the general population’s consumption of cider as well, with people drinking a pint or more per day. This mildly alcoholic drink was a perfect alternative to water as it wasn’t a host to any bacteria and was not too strong to drink regularly.
The making of the magic
The process of cider making varies. Cider can be sweet or dry, cloudy or clear, and coloured anywhere between amber to brown. Nowadays, most traditional brands tend to be darker and cloudier in contrast to mass-produced ciders that resemble sparkling wine. White cider, a sweeter variety, has the same amount of apple juice content but is harder to produce due to its clear appearance.
Almost all ciders follow a general production process, though. This starts with the picking of apples to be scratted, or ground down, into pomace. The juice strained from this pomace is put into closed casks or open vats, with the solids going to farm animals as food or to liqueur production. The juice is then left to ferment, and this is where producers can get creative. Some add sugar to the fermentation process, increasing the ethanol content, while others add different fruits. The fermenting can last anywhere between three months to a couple of years. Following its fermentation, the cider is finally ready to be bottled and sold!
Kopparberg’s Mixed Fruit
- This delicious berry cider is light with a fruity punch. There is no better summer flavour than Kopparberg. It also holds a special place in British cider history, pioneering as the first brand of fruit cider in the UK, and the bestselling one today. It is sourced in Kopparberg, Sweden, and is made from the fermentation of apples and pears there.
Strongbow’s Original Cider
- If you’re looking for a cider closer to home, Strongbow is the way to go. It is grown, pressed, and fermented in Herefordshire, England, from bittersweet cider apples. The flavour is more dry, but just as crisp and accessible. Strongbow stands strong as the global cider leader– for a good reason, we think!
- Pour some Magners over ice, sit back, relax, and enjoy! This cider is Irish, crafted from the finest blend of 17 different apple varieties. Its original apple flavour has remained the same, made following a secret recipe created by William Magner himself in 1935. Magners delivers a great, simple apple cider taste.
You should be all set to board the cider train yourself now! Go on and pop in your postcode above, fill your boots, and enjoy the drink you now know all about. As you enjoy, you’ll be sure to remember to always look on the brighter cider life!