The Art of Cider Making: A Step-by-Step Guide and Tips for Storing and Serving Cider
Cider, a popular alcoholic beverage, is made from fermented apple juice. The drink has a rich history, and its origins can be traced back to ancient times. The beverage is popular worldwide and is enjoyed by people of all ages. In this article, we’ll look at how cider is made, its different types, its alcohol content, the fact that it’s gluten-free, and the foods that go well with it.
The most attentive of you will remember that this delicious drink is not only famous for its unique taste, but also because it is from this magical liquid that Calvados, the famous French distillate, is obtained by distillation. Not by chance, either! Indeed, cider shares many characteristics with all of the bases used to make great distillates: excellent acidity, low alcohol content, and astringent flavor.
How is cider made?
Cider production begins with the selection of the right apples. The best apples for cider-making are those that are high in tannins and acidity. These apples have a bitter taste, which gives the cider its characteristic tangy flavor. The ideal apples for cider are known as “cider apples” and are generally not fit for eating due to their astringent taste.
Once the apples have been selected, they are washed, sorted, and then crushed to produce a pulp. This pulp is then pressed to extract the juice, which is then left to ferment. During fermentation, the sugars in the apple juice are turned into alcohol by the yeasts that are already in the juice. The length of fermentation determines the alcohol content of the cider, while the temperature determines the organoleptic characteristic of the final product.
What is the difference between hard cider and regular cider?
Cider comes in two main varieties: hard cider and regular cider. Regular cider is a non-alcoholic drink that is made from fresh apple juice. It has a sweet taste and is enjoyed by people of all ages. Hard cider, on the other hand, is an alcoholic drink that is made by fermenting apple juice. Hard cider has an alcohol level of between 4% and 8% and tastes a little bit sour.
Is cider gluten-free?
Cider is gluten-free, making it an ideal beverage for people with gluten sensitivities. The drink is made from apples, which are naturally gluten-free. However, it is important to note that some ciders may contain added ingredients that could contain gluten. It is therefore important to check the label carefully before consuming cider.
What are the different types of cider?
There are various types of cider, each with its own unique taste and aroma. The most common types of cider include dry cider, sweet cider, still cider, sparkling cider, and fruit-flavored cider. Dry cider has a tart, crisp taste, while sweet cider has a mellow, fruity taste. Still cider is a flat, uncarbonated drink, while sparkling cider has a bubbly texture. Fruit-flavored cider is infused with fruit flavors, giving it a fruity taste.
What is the alcohol content of cider?
The alcohol content of cider varies depending on the length of fermentation. The average alcohol content of cider is around 5% to 6%. However, some ciders may have a higher alcohol content, ranging from 8% to 10%.
Cider pairs well with a variety of foods, including pork, poultry, cheese, and seafood. The tartness of the drink complements the savory taste of meat, while its sweetness brings out the flavors of cheese and seafood. The carbonation in sparkling cider helps to cut through the richness of fatty foods.
Cider has a relatively long shelf life, with some ciders lasting up to 5 years if stored properly. To extend the shelf life of cider, it is important to store it in a cool, dark place. Unopened bottles of cider should be stored on their sides to prevent the cork from drying out.
It is possible to make cider at home using apples and simple equipment. Homemade cider can be made by crushing apples, fermenting the juice, and then bottling it. However, it is important to follow the correct procedures to ensure that the cider is safe for consumption.
What are some popular cider brands?
There are various popular cider brands, including Angry Orchard, Strongbow, and Woodchuck. The best zones for cider production include the United Kingdom, France, and Spain, where cider has a long history and is deeply rooted in the culture. Some of the most popular cider brands from Normandy include Domaine Dupont, Manoir de Grandouet, and La Ferme de Billy.
Normandy, located in the northwest of France, is a region that has a long-standing history of cider production. In fact, Normandy is one of the largest producers of cider in France, and its ciders are known for their exceptional quality and distinct taste.
Cider production in Normandy dates back to the 8th century, when monks brought the art of cider-making to the region. The monks grew apple trees and made cider from the apples. Cider was an important part of their diet.
The soil in Normandy is rich in minerals, which gives the apples grown in the region a distinctive taste. Also, the area’s climate, which has mild winters and cool summers, is perfect for growing apples.
Normandy ciders are made using traditional methods, which involve using a blend of bitter, sweet, and tart apples. The apples are carefully selected and sorted before being crushed to extract the juice. The juice is then fermented using natural yeasts, which are present on the apple skins. This process gives the cider its distinct taste and aroma.
Normandy ciders come in various types, including dry cider, sweet cider, sparkling cider, and still cider. Dry cider, which is the most popular type of cider in Normandy, has a tart and crisp taste. Sweet cider, on the other hand, has a mellow, fruity taste and is often enjoyed as a dessert drink. Sparkling cider is bubbly and effervescent, while still cider is a flat, uncarbonated drink.
Normandy ciders are often enjoyed with traditional Normandy dishes such as galettes, crêpes, and Camembert cheese. The tartness of the cider complements the rich and savory flavors of the dishes, creating a perfect balance of flavors.
Now, let’s delve into the production method to better understand every nuance of this splendid fermented drink.
- When they have reached their peak maturity, the apples will drop to the ground.
- The fruit that is picked from trees or that falls from the trees can be tumped, which means it can be piled up to allow for maturation.
- Ripe fruit is essential to producing a cider of high quality; without it, the beverage will have a bitter taste.
Milling and pressing
- Whole apples are difficult to press in order to extract their juice.
- In order to create a pulp from them, a process known as milling or scratting must be carried out.
- After that, the pulp is put through a pressing process, which involves applying pressure across a fabric in order to separate the apple solids from the liquid juice. pomace
- The action of yeasts on the naturally occurring fermentable sugars within the juice results in the production of alcohol.
- The cider maker has the option of employing a cultured wine yeast, which is most frequently a champagne-style yeast, or allowing a ‘wild’ fermentation, which makes use of the natural flora.
- Under typical conditions, fermentation happens rather quickly; however, certain types of fermentation, known as “wild fermentations,” can drag on for many months. In the end, however, all of the sugar will be converted to alcohol, resulting in a dry cider.
- After the fermentation process is complete, this “young” cider is put away for some time so that it can mature and develop a wide variety of nuanced flavors and aromas.
- This procedure can be completed in as little as a few weeks or as much as a couple of years!
- A malolactic fermentation could be a part of it.
That’s where the little alchemist in you gets to work!
- Smaller producers will try to make unique blends that have a good balance of acidity, tannin, and sweetness. Larger producers, on the other hand, will have to blend their products to create a brand that people will recognize.
- Sugar or apple juice may be added in order to achieve the desired level of sweetness.
- If you want to make a cider with different flavors, you can add fruits and other additives at this stage.
- The vast majority of ciders will be filtered to make them completely transparent.
- Unfiltered ciders may give the impression of being less refined than filtered ciders, but with proper attention and consideration, a light haze can improve mouth texture and enhance the cider’s natural flavors.
The aging process
Cider is different from its better-known alcoholic cousins because it is made in the same way that wine is, but it is usually drunk in the same way that beer is.
Importantly, cider is just as versatile as either of these other drinks because it can be enjoyed in many different situations and made in many different ways, depending on the event.
Like wine, cider is usually a still drink, which means that it doesn’t have any bubbles. On the other hand, this style is almost always used for traditional English ciders that can only be bought at farm gates.
Most customers know that their ciders should be bubbly and expect that this can be done either by adding carbon dioxide or by letting the cider sit in the bottle for a while.
It is essential to keep in mind that the amount of carbonation that is present is crucial. When serving cider, one must take care to ensure that the level of carbonation is not excessively high.
This is because an excessively high level of carbonation can obscure the taste buds and throw off the flavor balance due to the effect of the carbonic acid.
The measures used to serve draught cider are comparable to those used for serving beer: halves, handles, and pints.
However, when drinking cider from a bottle, depending on the type and quality of the cider, a tulip glass will be better suited to present the drink and allow the full breath of flavors and aromas to be showcased. This is because tulips have a narrower opening than other types of glasses.
The appropriate temperature at which to serve cider is of critical importance. If cider is served at a temperature that is too cold, the drink’s complex array of aromas, many of which are very subtle, may be obscured or lost entirely.
Cider served at room temperature, on the other hand, would not be appealing to taste for the vast majority of customers and would not deliver the expected level of refreshment.
When serving cider at home, one should do so in a manner that is analogous to that of serving aromatic white wines like Moscato or Malvasia, so 8-10 degrees.
Despite the fact that cider has a level of complexity that is comparable to wine, it does not contain much or any alcohol. Because it usually has between 4.5 and 7.5% alcohol by volume, cider is usually drunk in the same way as beer.
This lower level of alcohol also has implications for the aging process in cellars. A high percentage of alcohol in wine provides a protective barrier, which is one of the primary reasons why it is able to retain its quality after being aged.
The majority of ciders will become oxidized after only a few years if they are not protected from the air in this way. However, ciders that are full-bodied, robust, and highly tannic have the ability to age in a cellar for up to five years, and the passage of time will allow these beverages to become smoother and more approachable.