Gabe Cook - The Ciderologist

Cider sits in a unique space between its more heralded alcoholic siblings – it is made like a wine but served (mostly) like a beer. Crucially, cider is equally as versatile as both of these drinks, with a multitude of different formats, styles and occasions to consume this product. 

Naturally, like a wine, cider is a still (non-bubbly) drink.  However, this form is predominantly reserved for traditional ciders made in England, purchased from the farm gate.  The vast majority of consumers understand and expect their ciders to be sparkling, either through a carbonation process, or through bottle conditioning. 

It is important to note that the level of carbonation is important.  One needs to make sure that when serving cider the carbonation level isn’t too high, as this can mask the palate and upset the flavour balance due to the impact of the carbonic acid.

Draught cider is served in typical beer measures: halves, handles and pints. However, when consuming bottled cider, depending on the style and quality, a tulip glass will be better suited to present the drink and allow the full breath of flavours and aromas to be showcased.

Crucial to cider’s presentation is the serving temperature.  There is a great array of highly subtle aromas within cider which can be lost or obfuscated if the drink is overly-chilled.  A room temperature cider, however, would be unpalatable to most consumers and would not provide the adequate levels of refreshment expected.

One should treat serving cider at home much like a white wine, such as Pinot Gris or Gewurztraminer: take the cider out of the fridge and put on the table, open and then keep going back to it.

For all of cider’s comparable complexity to wine, relatively speaking it lacks alcohol. Sitting at an average of 4.5 – 7.5% abv, this is why cider is normally consumed like a beer.  This lower level of alcohol also has cellaring implications.  One of the major reasons why wine has the ability to age well is due to the protection afforded by a high alcohol content.  Without such protection afforded, most ciders become oxidised after a short number of years.  However rich, robust and highly tannic ciders have the potential for cellaring for up to 5 years, with the benefit of time allowing these drinks to soften and mellow.

 

Take a look at The Ciderologist for more.