Why you should be drinking hard apple cider

Hard cider sangria

Whether you call it apple beer, apple wine, afpelwein or hard apple cider, Martha Stewart says you should be drinking it. The alcoholic beverage made by fermenting fresh apple juice has different names depending on where it's produced, but "all you need to know is this apple-based drink is the absolute perfect beverage to transition from late summer into early autumn."

Hard apple cider is booming alongside the craft beer movement in the US. Sales tripled between 2007 and 2012, and then doubled from that lofty perch in 2013. There are many reasons for hard cider's popularity: it is gluten-free, it pairs well with food, and it is available in a range of styles to please any palate. You can find sweet and dry versions, with ABV ranging from 3 to 7 percent. While wines are labeled according to their grape variety (merlot, chardonnay, pinot noir), ciders are generally categorized by region. Cider is quite affordable, so it's easy to sample several offerings to find one that you enjoy. 

Although it's called by various names, the beverage is technically a wine because it's made in the same way wines are made: the fruit is crushed and pressed, and yeast turns the natural sugars into alcohol through fermentation. And just like wine, it's  useful to cook with, in addition to being a wonderful beverage to pair with food. You can find over 200 recipes featuring hard apple cider in the EYB Library. 

Photo of Hard cider sangria from Food & Wine Annual Cookbook 2013


  • hillsboroks  on  10/12/2015 at 6:07 PM

    It is also a great alternative beverage for those who don't like beer, like me. Travelling in Ireland several years ago I often found that cider was my only option in the small pubs if I didn't feel like coffee or tea. The past few years the cider options have mushroomed here in the Pacific Northwest. We frequently see cider lists just like beer and wine lists in our local restaurants and some might have 15-20 ciders to choose from. You can find anything from sweet to dry and often the ciders are made from or are mixed with other fruits. The local beer and wine festivals now often have cider tastings along with the beer and wine tastings.

  • ellabee  on  10/12/2015 at 6:31 PM

    Virginia's way ahead of Martha on this; we've had a statewide Cider Week for several years now, Nov. 13-22 in 2015. I'll be attending a tasting of VA & NC ciders at an orchard/cidery not far away on the 21st, and would recommend anyone in or near Virginia check out events near you: http://ciderweekva.com/events/. Wherever you live, see if Foggy Ridge cider is available: truly excellent stuff.

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