Magazine article Sunset

Cider Rules

Magazine article Sunset

Cider Rules

Article excerpt

The West's latest brews are the basis for terrific fall cocktails.

JUST WHEN I've given myself permission not to sample every craft beer in the West, along comes a new small-batch beverage commanding the same level of boozy research-hard cider. Well, not new exactly. Popular across the East and Midwest in the 1880s, cider (including pear versions, called "perries") lost ground as people learned to love the beer European immigrants were introducing. Now, though, West Coast cideries from Seattle to Sonoma and beyond are crafting at warp speed, and the style spectrum is enormous. Ciders range from bone dry to quite sweet (the alcohol level can be a clue; limited by law to 7 percent, a level lower than that often means sweeter), and from still to sparkling (most are spritzy). Beyond that, brewers are playing with flavors from mild (ginger) to wild (jalapeño).

For sipping straight, Sunset's cider fans prefer drier versions. But we discovered that semisweet and sweet styles make great mixers; they really shine in this lineup of fall cocktails. One caution: Don't actually shake these drinks-cider's effervescence can turn your shaker into an MED (Mini Exploding Device). …

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