Oktoberfest may be beer season,
but why not try its apple cousin?
| BY CHRISTIAN T. DEBENEDETTI
If you think of hard cider—effervescent, apple-based alcohol that has
been a traditional drink for centuries—as the odd duck at the end of the
tap handle row, it’s time to reconsider. According to the book Cider:
Making, Using, & Enjoying Sweet & Hard Cider by Annie Proulx (yup,
the novelist) and American cidermaker Lew Nichols, it’s the fastest
growing segment of the liquor industry, and yet it is a drink with fascinating,
deep historical roots.
In the United States, cider’s history goes back to the Mayflower (the Puritans
weren’t completely square, it turns out, and packed it along for the trip); John
Adams, they tell us, drank a tankard “every morning before breakfast, and lived
to the age of 91.” Hemingway was a cider man, too.
Today, scores of artisan cideries are springing up in the United States,
modeled on Old World producers and using their time-tested methods and
equipment. Still more of those Old World libations are making it to these
shores, thanks to adventurous importers. But it’s a lesser-known drink, especially when it comes to the higher-end, artisanal products.