If you like your drinks sweet…and I mean sugary sweet, then cider is for you. But if you like your drink to exhibit nuance and layers of flavors and to be interesting, then you are going to need to be relentless in your search if you want to stick to cider.
It’s no secret that Americans fall into the first category. Most of the wine that is drunk today retains residual sugar. Most of the non-alcoholic drinks Americans consume contain sugar or sweetener. A large percent of the cocktails we order are sweet. And of course, most cider is sweet.
Sweet is fine…as far as it goes. But it does do one thing that more discerning drinkers should understand. It masks authentic flavor and aroma. The juice of apples, once fermented, possesses the ability to deliver amazing complexity and layers of flavors that will make us perk up and take notice, not to mention compliment a host of foods. But when the fermented juice of apples is left too sweet or when sweeteners are added to cider, these most interesting flavors and aromas are flattened and masked.
In fact, the prominence of sweetness in cider has become so ubiquitous that oftentimes bottles of small batch ciders will read “Dry” when in fact what’s in them is just a little less sugary than what you find in the commercial, grocery store-sold, sweet apple concoctions that go by the name “cider”. Too many small cider makers are training American drinkers to believe that dry is really sweet. And it’s a shame.
In the reviews here at The Cider Journal, we try to be very specific about the amount of sugar you’ll find in a cider. For those folks looking for the real deal, for something that truly showcases the apple without lathering it up with sweet sugar flavors, we try to give you guideposts in our reviews.
If you are looking for a list of those ciders that treat the apple with respect and deliver on the promise of the apple without relying on sugar for flavor, take a look at our 5 Star, 4.5 Star and 4 Star reviews. This is where you’ll like find such ciders.
And for the growing number of cidermakers reading this, please…please don’t write “Dry” on your label if the cider is in fact not dry.