British Cider is a classic drink representing centuries of tradition and regional diversity. It may range from bone-dry to lusciously sweet, made from a blend of carefully chosen apples, highlighting the terroir and history of the British countryside. Apple varieties from orchards all over the landscape produce a vast range of aromas and flavours. Cider has Roman origins and is now a staple of British culture. It is enjoyed at celebrations and festivals. Whether it is consumed in quaint pubs, orchards, or artisanal cider houses, British Cider offers an enthralling journey through flavour, history, and the artistry of apple fermentation.
Dry ciders can be said to be the pillar of the British cider tradition. These ciders are crisp and tart in taste, which highlights the inherent acidity of cider apples. They are quite energizing to the palate and have little residual sweetness. Since there are no added sugars, the pure apple flavours can shine through, which gives a clean and lively flavour to apples. Founded in 1728, Aspall Cyder House is known for its Premier Cru Dry, which offers a classic dry cider taste with citrus undertones and a prominent apple flavour.
Ciders that are medium-dry offer a well-balanced flavour and approachable taste because of the harmonious blending of sweetness and acidity.
Westons Cider, established in 1880, crafts medium-dry ciders that strike a harmonious balance between sweetness and acidity. Their Old Rosie perfectly captures the flavour of the Herefordshire orchards with fruity undertones. As a versatile option that pleases a variety of palates while straddling the line between dry and sweet, medium-dry ciders are a favourite among cider enthusiasts.
Medium-sweet ciders capture the spirit of traditional British cider-making by striking a lovely balance between sweetness and acidity. Founded in 1904, Thatchers Cider is known for its medium-sweet ciders, especially the Thatchers Gold, which is known to be made from sweet Somerset apples. Medium-sweet ciders offer a luscious and satisfying experience that appeals to those seeking a slightly sweeter but well-balanced cider option. They are sweeter than their medium-dry counterparts.
Sweet ciders are made from dessert apples and are a delightful treat for those who love to enjoy sweet ciders. These ciders have a velvety taste as they are made from naturally sweet apples. Sheppy's Cider, founded in 1816, crafts delicious sweet ciders. Vintage Reserve, from their collection of ciders, is a perfect example of sweet Cider.
Still ciders are intentionally created without effervescence. They do not lose their bubbles, but they have been crafted in a specific way so that they are still and not bubbly. Founded back in 1910, Wilkins Cider has mastered the art of creating some of the best still ciders in Britain. Traditional Still is one of their creations that perfectly captures the essence of traditional cider-making methods, showcasing the purity of the apples.
As opposed to still ciders, sparkling ciders go through a secondary fermentation process that naturally adds carbonation and gives them a delightful fizz. The bubbles enhance the drinking experience by stimulating the palate and bringing out the flavours and aromas of the Cider. Dabinett, Yarlington Mill, Kingston Black, and Ellis Bitter, along with a few other varieties, are popularly used in making sparkling ciders Hallets Real Cider, founded in 2008, crafts sparkling ciders that invigorate the palate with effervescence. Hallets Real Cider Dabinett delivers a lively and aromatic experience.
Oak ciders are nothing but a variety of cider apples that are blended together and aged in oak barrels to achieve a mellow, woody, and rich taste. The oak ageing gives the Cider unique flavours, aromas, and textures that make an interesting drinking experience. The wood and Cider interact to produce flavours like vanilla, spices, and occasionally even a faint smokiness. This process enhances complexity and depth by allowing the Cider to take on characteristics from the barrel itself in addition to adding to the natural flavours. The Black Fox variety from Dunkerton's Cider offers an infused taste of Cider, vanilla, and wood. Dunkerton's was founded in 1980 and has since produced fine-crafted ciders.
Farmhouse or Scrumpy Ciders
Farmhouse of Scrumpy ciders is crafted using traditional methods using local varieties of apples. The fact that they are typically unfiltered and may still have a cloudy appearance shows how authentically the process was carried out. Farmhouse ciders highlight the inherent apple flavours and have a robust, earthy flavour that reflects the terroir of the orchard. Farmhouse Dry Cider crafted by Ross-on-Wye Cider & Perry Co., is one of the finest examples of rustic ciders.
Fruits like berries, citrus, or even tropical fruits are mixed into the base cider during or after fermentation. The result is a dynamic and refreshing drinking experience brought about by the harmonious blending of apple and fruit flavours. Sandford Orchards, established in 2002, makes lovely fruit-infused ciders. Berry Lane is one of their best offerings, which offers a delightful fusion of apples and blackberries.
The apples used in crafting heritage ciders are known as heritage or old-fashioned apples. They have been grown for several years and bear a distinct flavour that sets them apart from regular dessert apples. Worley's Cider has been crafting heritage ciders since 2005. Special Reserve is one of their finest creations and the best example of this type of Cider.
The world of British Cider invites us to savour history, embrace creativity and celebrate the age-old union of apples and artistry. Whether you prefer the countryside charm of farmhouse ciders, the creativity of fruit-infused blends, or the depth of heritage variations, every Cider offers something new to your palette. Let us cheer to the timeless pleasures of British Cider!