Magazine article The Spectator

Cider House Rules

Magazine article The Spectator

Cider House Rules

Article excerpt

Most of the best ciders come from the West Country and Herefordshire these days, but for me the real cider country is Somerset. This is where I had my first taste of the real thing: a half-pint of cloudy scrumpy in the pub at Monksilver, which has one of the nicest names of any English village. I was 13 and got sloshed. As Laurie Lee knew, cider is the drink for the young: wholesome yet lethal. If you want to set your children on the road towards serious grown-up drinking, give them this, but try not to go higher than 7.5 per cent. One reason there are so many psychos in the West Country is that flat, deadly scrumpy that will turn anyone violent by the fourth pint. Just look at Bath on a Friday night.

Most farmhouses in this soft, red-earthed part of the land used to have a cider press. On warm autumn days, you can hear the sizzle of apples fermenting in orchards. A sweet yeastiness floats on the air - none of the eggy stench from bottles of mass-produced ciders that pollutes London pubs in summer. …

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