Guide to Hard Cider
You already know hard cider is booming. It’s shoving its way onto shelves and seducing leagues of drinkers from both the beer and wine worlds. Face it, when it comes to ordering a drink, you now have four choices: wine, beer, liquor or cider.
This apple elixir is here to stay—and it’s just getting started. New producers are joining the cider rush in droves. From winemaking and brewing vets, to young guns with newly minted wine and viticulture degrees, these pomme prospectors are churning out complex pours as fast as they can harvest the apples. They’re not only raising the bar on quality, they’re building an entire world from scratch—free to try anything they dream up. Much like the early days of craft beer, there’s only one rule these cowboys follow: Make it taste good. Cider is the Wild West of the drinking world.
To help you wrap your head around this exhilarating and ever-changing landscape, we’ve created the ultimate guide to drinking down the best of this boom. But, before you turn the page to begin your cider pilgrimage, you may be wondering why we’re talking autumnal apples in July? This brings up lesson No. 1: Most apples are indeed picked in the fall, but ciders are often best enjoyed in the heat of summer.
—Mike Dawson and Alexander Peartree