If you’re on a mission to try every type of alcoholic drink there is, don’t leave out ciders. Some people consider them better than beers.

What is it made of?
Cider, sometimes called hard cider or alcoholic cider, is made from fermented apple juice. Apple cider is different because it’s not alcoholic. Apple cider comes from raw apple juice that is not filtered. Apple juice doesn’t have sediments or pulp like apple cider. Sometimes apple-based juice is used for creating alcoholic cider and fruit purees are also added.

Pressing: The making of an apple cider begins by grounding down the apples in a process called scratting. The result is called a pommage or pomace. This is taken to a cider press to create layers of blocks called cheeses. These blocks are squeezed to get the juice from the pomace. The pressed juice is strained then placed in casks or vats. Sometimes the remaining pulp is made into liqueurs, another type of alcoholic beverage.

Fermenting: The juice is fermented at a temperature between 40 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or 4 to 16 degrees Celsius. Sometimes yeast is added to start the fermentation. Ciders should go through a slow fermentation process to retain its aroma. The liquor is transferred to an air-tight vat leaving behind the yeast and other materials in the old vat. Lack of air contact and a second fermentation will form carbon dioxide on the surface so that the drink becomes carbonated. The process is repeated until the liquid is no longer cloudy. Extra sugar is sometimes added depending on the type of cider to be produced.

Ciders can be aged but commercial types only have a shelf-life of two years. The result could be cider vinegar instead. Other types of ciders contain other ingredients such as hops, while others are used in cocktails because of its acid content.

What are the types of ciders?
1. Applejack is made by concentrating cider by evaporative distillation or freeze distillation.
2. Apple Wine has more than 12% ABV.
3. Calvados is a double-distilled cider. It has at least 40% ABV.
4. Cyser contains honey. Sometimes it’s called mead.
5. Draft Cider is made from still cider with less than 6% ABV.
6. Farmhouse Style or Real Cider has 5% to 12% ABV.
7. French Style has 2% to 5% ABV.
8. Ice Cider or Cidre de Glace are made from apples that were frozen before or after harvest.
9. Perry is made from fermented pear juice or a mix of apple and pear juice.
10. Pommeau is a mix of apple brandy fermented in a barrel and unfermented apple juice.
11. Scrumpy is made from cider apples with no yeast and additives.
12. Sparkling Cider is fermented and carbonated then stored under pressure.
13. Still Cider is fermented apple juice that isn’t carbonated.

What are the best ciders?
1. ACE Premium Hard Ciders
2. Aspall Perronelle’s Blush English Draft Cider
3. Crispin the Saint
4. Foggy Ridge Cider
5. Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider
6. Stella Artois Cidre
7. Strongbow Hard Apple Cider (Gold Apple)
8. Thistly Cross Scottish
9. Westcott Bay Traditional Cider
10. Woodchuck Gumption Hard Cider