Cider for me is the best alcoholic beverage, from when I was sipping a shared bottle of white lightning in the local park (we’ve all done it) to enjoying a cold one at the pub during the summer months it always has had the same refreshing, relaxing and rejuvenating effect. My appreciation of this beverage has lasted year after year, so this article will hope to enlighten you just a bit more on what is cider, how cider is produced, and what is is the best cider. I hope it’s useful.
Cider is a renowned drink throughout the United Kingdom and Ireland; it comes in a range of forms from the traditional dry cider to the sweet cider, which allows it to be enjoyed by a whole range of individuals.
Most apples grown are suitable for cider making, though in a region like Kent cider-makers prefer to use a mixture of eating and cider apples or just cider apples if you are in the West Country.
On collection of these apples they are immediately grounded down in to what is known as a pomace or pommage. This process back in the day would of been undertaken at cider mills by hand or using either water or horse power. These days most cider presses are electrical, with the whole process looking to ensure the pomace is only exposed to air for a limited amount of time.
After this the all important fermentation process takes place, this is done at a temperature of 4-16 degrees C, which is low for most fermentations but is beneficial to cider at this temperature. Before the fermentation process consumes all the sugar, the cider is moved to a new vat, leaving dead yeast cells and any other undesirable materials at the bottom of the old vat.
Finally the last stage of fermentation creates a small amount of carbonation, which can be enhanced by adding some extra sugar. After a three month fermentation period the cider is ready to drink, but it is commonplace to leave it in vats for up to two years.
They are then removed from the vats and bottled. In some larger-scale cider production they have ciders produced from different varieties of apple, which in this case the cider may be blended to accord with market taste. When the cider is bottled usually some extra sugar is added for sparkle. Cider bottles are normally used but some home brewers use beer bottles, which work well and are inexpensive.
The West- Country is known as a leading cider producing region and one of the best (in my opinion). The majority of ciders in this part of the United Kingdom are known as Scrumpy which is a local term for small or withered apple. They are over 25 Cider produces in Somerset and then following is Cornwall who is another big Cider county for the West Country.
In Cornwall there is a range of traditional ciders such as the previous mentioned Scrumpy Cider which is a strong cyder that can be bought medium dry and medium sweet at 7.4% alcohol volume.
Recently a new Cider has started becoming popular across the UK. The beverage that I speak of is the Cornish Rattler. This cider was originally only available in draught format, but after requests from numerous customers they have now bottled it. Made to be different in taste and appearance, this cloudy Cornish cyder is 6% ABV and sparkling. It was voted Best Bottled Cider at ciderfestivals.co.uk 2008. If I was to recommend you try any Cider it would be the Cornish Rattler, I feel its taste retains the original Cider taste but then adds certain delicate sweetness which is not sickly and compliments the original cider taste well.
So with Rattler now available in your local retailers I would recommend you go and check it out, if you like cider you won’t be disappointed.