1. It's good for you
Your doctor doesn’t recommend an apple a day for nothing! Like the apples it’s made from, cider is jam-packed with antioxidants – like red wine – which have long been applauded for fighting disease. In particular, antioxidants repair cellular damage that’s associated with cancer and cardiovascular illnesses, but they’re also known to help with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, type 2 diabetes and even cataracts.
2. It's (mostly) allergy friendly
If you’re gluten intolerant or react badly to beer (think runny nose, swollen eyes or difficulty breathing) you’ll be pleased to know most cider is made without wheat or hops. Cider is fermented with yeast though – either naturally occurring or added – so if you’re sensitive to fermented goods try a small amount and see how you go.
3. There are plenty of different kinds
Like beer and wine, there are many kinds of ciders. Although certain varietals of apples are popularly used for cider, it can be made from any of the 7500 types of apples around the world. Plus other fruit can be mixed in, like pear, pineapple or even cherry. Throw blends into the mix – and cloudy and clear styles – and your options are endless.
4. You can pick your flavour profile
Here are four categories of ciders to suit different palates: sweets, sharps, bittersweets and bittersharps. Once you know what kind you prefer, you can hone in that type.
5. Local is lekker
South Africa’s apples are not only delicious, but we have lots of different kinds (think Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady and more). And we produce excellent cider right here, so you can curb your carbon footprint and support local! You likely know Savanna and Hunters already, but there are plenty of interesting craft ciders that are pushing boundaries. Try Little Wolf
(hibiscus), Red Stone (cherry and pineapple), Sxollie (pear), Everson’s (mulled and brandy cask), Garagista (pomegranate), Windermere (rooibos) and Brewers Coop (negroni and orange bitters).
6. You can pair it with food
Cider pairs beautifully with food. A rule of thumb is to think about what ingredients go well with the fruit in the cider. For example, apples go well with pork, chicken, butternut, rosemary and sage. Another way to pair is with contrasting flavours, like drinking a sweet pear cider with a spicy curry. Experiment away!
7. You can cook with it
Like the food pairing, you can cook with cider too! Next time you’re making pork loin, use apple cider for the sauce, or poach your desert pears in pear cider.
8. You can use it to make cocktails
Finally, cider makes a great base for cocktails. Not convinced? Try this recipe and see for yourself:
Fresh mint leaves
One ripe pear
50ml good quality gin (like Hope of Hopkins)
Fresh lime juice
250ml Sxollie Packham Pear Perry
Using a pestle and mortar, muddle the mint and pear.
Add to a cocktail shaker with gin, limoncello and fresh lime juice and shake.
Pour over crushed ice and top with Sxollie Packham Pear Perry.
Garnish with a slice of pear and a mint leaf.
- Leah van Deventer