A lot of my friends are cider puritanists- the type that have a favourite local cider and think that anything that is mass produced loses its charm and is not a good cider- I’m certainly not one of those. One of the first ciders I ever had was Bulmers and I will still defend it to day!
Bulmers has quite a wide range of ciders- that is, they have ciders that have different tastes. The bottles look incredible too- in fact, the bottles were what made me buy this cider in the first place. Two bottles of Bulmers Pear Cider later, there was no going back. Since then, I have tried every one of their flavours, and I still have a hard time choosing between my favourites. Bulmers is quite cheap and a wonderful substitute for hard liquor if I am not in the mood for vodka, of course. It is strong enough to create a buzz, and it tastes absolutely stunning.
The wide range of tastes ensure that people have their own choice of cider- buy one of each flavour before you head to a party, and there will be absolutely no discontent there, I promise!
So, do you like Bulmers? And if you do, what is your favourite flavour?
Now I’ve had Icewine before, that delicious late harvest wine picked only when the grapes have been exposed to frost, perfect as a dessert wine. But, Ice Cider I have only just come across in a recent trip to Canada. Following the same principles as Icewine, late harvest apples picked after the cold has had its way with them. First produced in the 1990s it displays the same sort of characteristics as Icewine, in that it has a lovely rich honeyed flavour.
I came back from Canada armed with a few bottles of this to make great gifts, and friends were blown away by the flavour, definitely unique for cider drinkers, rich syrup like consistency and full of apple flavour with hints of crisp acidity that you expect from a cider. This is one to serve chilled on a special occasion, more like a wine with cheeses or dessert. Having been happy with the reception it received, I had a look on Amazon and found a few good examples available, definitely not cheap, but ideal as an alternative present for a cider lover, given they are packaged more like a desert wine. I have tried the Leduc-Piedimonte Ice Cider, and can say it is superb, rich and warm and very decadent.
We talk a lot about new world wines, but some of these countries have now truly jumped on the cider wagon!
For years Australia relied on their own version of Strongbow, just as sweet and commercial as you can imagine. Since the late 90’s however that has changed. Tasmania and Victoria have a great climate for apple production, and are producing some fabulous ciders, Australia even has its own cider organisation Cider Australia – mind you at their recent award show top honours went to the UK with Thatchers Gold, so they still have some catching up to do! Just like new world wines, new world ciders aren’t limited by century old traditions, so makers are free to play around and produce excellent English style ciders alongside European Cidre. An excellent example of this is Willie Smiths who are producing an excellent Normandy style cidre in Tasmania – a complex, dry thing aged for three months in French oak barrels.
Not surprisingly Australia has also embraced ginger beer, given they have a large supply of fresh grown ginger to hand. Long known for their excellent non-alcoholic Bundaberg Ginger Beer, local brewers are now embracing the alcoholic version. Possibly one of the best around and certainly most intriguingly named is East 9th Brewery with their Lick Pier Ginger Beer.