A tale of 2 apple ciders.
What is a cider? Typically, an unfermented drink made by crushing fruit. Generally sold unfiltered, cloudy in appearance, richer in fruit flavor and less sweet than a juice. A fermented cider has an alcoholic content, and is a very different animal. It’s a sparkling drink – the effervescence makes it pleasingly sharp, and the light, fruity flavor makes for a perfect transition to the summer – a great accompaniment to a sandwich or a light lunch made with springtime ingredients.
A good cider can easily stand in for a good beer or a sparkling wine, and below is one example of each kind. The Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché is from France – the batch I tasted is from 2008, and is super dry. Not terribly fruity or sweet, it is the perfect accompaniment to that springtime meal, and I imagine the gentle yet persistent flavors will complement each other well. The bottle is very much in keeping with the flavor – winelike, with a proper cork, and suitably celebratory. Eric Asimov lists this as first among his favorites in this NYT article.
More robustly flavored foods will be better served by a more robust cider, such as the Samuel Smith Organic. In step with their India Ale, this cider is a very comfortable fit with food from the Indian subcontinent. It is not as dry as the Dupont, and is much sweeter and fruitier but without as much complexity – more 2D than 3D. There’s really nothing wrong with that – if you’ve had opportunity to watch a poorly made 3D movie, which pretty much covers everything produced thus far, a well made 2D is much more preferable. Perfect with that burger, fried chicken and the next hollywood summertime blockbuster.