Today is a time to kick back with a mug of apple cider and celebrate. In North America, this means the non-alcoholic beverage (unfiltered apple juice) versus the traditional kind, which is called hard cider. To the rest of the world, it’s just the fermented concoction with anywhere from 1-12% alcohol content. So the choice is yours really.
I find it interesting that the type of apple best suited for cider and brandy is what’s called a “spitter.” This is a fruit so bitter and tannic that one’s first instinct is to spit it out and frantically look for something sweet to lick. But ferment those bad boys and you’ve got yourself a wonderful beverage with low alcohol that was perfect for early world dwellers who wanted a refreshing drink without all the cholera.
Now the good news about American apple cider is that it can be made into an array of alcoholic beverages, so you’re not stuck with one kind. And, of course, you can also just drink it straight, without the alcohol, but then you should really start calling it by a more world-friendly name. Something more accurate like I used as a kid when I referred to it as “cloudy apple juice.”
Cider is sort of doomed to be low in alcohol content because the apples themselves are so low in sugar. I’m not a big fan of cider as it sort of just tastes like a cheap version of a real drink. Like a sparkling wine with less sparkle and a strange apple-y aftertaste that wasn’t supposed to be there. And in all honestly, at the end of the day, I think I’d rather just eat an apple and be done with it.
Beyond the “cloudy apple juice” I had as a child, my mom always had a hot spice tea mix during the colder months, which was a concoction of packets of other mixes, from Lipton, KoolAid, and Tang. The only ingredient not engineered in a laboratory was sugar, but adding it made one feel like they were more involved. Like “baking” with pre-made cookie dough… that’s also been pre-sliced. Though perhaps this was even more ridiculous as this mix was something your cat, running across the kitchen counter, could have created entirely by accident.
But for today, it’s time to pour a glass of whatever you call cider and enjoy! These celebration days can be a bit ridiculous, so feel free to mold them and reinvent into something that works for you. Or, if you’re like me and have trouble following rules entirely, pour yourself a nice glass of wine and call it cider. Really, nobody is going to know.