Cider, hard apple cider, or hard cider is an alcoholic drink made from fermented apple juice.
Cider is popular and widely available in the United Kingdom. It is also popular in many Commonwealth countries, such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Aside from the UK and its former colonies, cider is popular in other European countries including Ireland, Portugal, France, Italy and Spain.
Historically, the earliest record of the fermentation of apples can be traced back to the Romans in 55 BC when they reached Kent, England and noticed villagers drinking an alchoholic drink made from apples.
Soon enough, cider spread throughout the Roman Empire and across Europe, becoming popular with people from the Germanic tribes to the Normans, whose conquest of England in the 9th century brought apple orchards and the very word “cider” into the English language.
From the 13th to the 17th centuries in Europe drinking cider was safer than water with 1/4 of the peoples wages were actually paid in cider. It is believed that babies were even baptized in it because the water since it was often more sanitary than water.
The history of cider in the United States is very closely tied to the history of apple growing in the country. Apples were one of the earliest known crops in the English-speaking New World; Most of the 17th- and 18th-century emigrants to America from the British Isles drank hard cider and its variants: water was not a trusted source of hydration and so beer, ale, fruit brandy, and cider were used as more sanitary substitutes.
The juice of any variety of apple can be used to make cider, but cider apples are best.
Cider is made from apple juice which has undergone two different kinds of fermentation:
• The first fermentation is carried out by yeasts which have either been added deliberately or which are naturally present on the apple skins. This fermentation converts sugars to ethanol and the higher alcohols (fusel alcohols).
• The second fermentation, the malo-lactic fermentation converts L(-)-malic acid to L(+)-lactic acid and carbon dioxide. This fermentation is carried out by lactic acid bacteria which are present in the apple juice and also in the area in which the fermentation is carried out. The addition of sugar or extra fruit before a second fermentation increases the ethanol content of the resulting beverage.
The cider is ready to drink after a three-month fermentation period, though more often it is matured in the vats for up to three years.
If the cider is to be bottled, usually some extra sugar is added for sparkle. Higher quality ciders can be made using the champagne method, but this is expensive in time and money and requires special corks, bottles, and other equipment. Some home brewers use beer bottles, which work perfectly well, and are inexpensive.
Cider alcohol content varies from 1.2% to 8.5% ABV or more in traditional English ciders, and 3.5% to 12% ABV incontinental ciders.
The flavor of cider varies. Ciders can be classified from dry to sweet. Their appearance ranges from cloudy with sediment to completely clear, and their colour ranges from almost colourless to amber to brown.
In the 19th Century cider was advertised as a cure for the gout and other illnesses.
John Adams lived to be 90 years old making him the third longest living president. What was his secret? Adams drank a tankard of cider every morning. He believed it promoted good health, and would cure him of his ailments.
Cider is relatively low in content of protein, fat, vitamin C, and vitamin A and contains a moderate amount of carbohydrates. However, about 75 percent of the carbohydrates consists of sugars that are readily assimilated by humans.
In 2014, a study found that a pint of mass-market cider contained five teaspoons (20.5 g / 0.72 oz) of sugar, nearly the amount the WHO recommends as an adult’s daily allowance of added sugar, and 5–10 times the amount of sugar in lager or ale.
The Oast House pub in Manchester, UK hosted the world’s Largest cider tasting event. An impressive 255 people turned up to try a selection of the establishment’s beverages: three ciders produced by Aspall, for an event instructing cider sippers on the different brewing styles and flavours of the drinks available for tasting.
In the United States, the definition of “cider” is usually broader than in Europe and specifically Ireland and the UK. There are two types, one being traditional alcoholic hard cider and the other sweet or soft cider, often simply called apple cider.
In Japan, “cider” refers to a soft drink similar to Sprite or lemonade.
Perry is a similar product to cider made from fermented pear juice.