An Apple a Day - One Way or Another

Originally posted on 11/28/2012

I was never much of a beer drinker, though I have developed a taste for it of late. My new fave is Radler.

I am a real wine lover and I do enjoy a rather old school (yes, I'm a product of the '70s) rocks glass of Dubonnet Red on the rocks. But when I'm thirsty for bubbles and an ice cold refreshing something or other, cider is my go-to drink.

I don't think I've met a cider I didn't like, if only a little bit. I used to drink Strongbow; it was just my default cider. But then I read that they use apples grown and juiced in China - the juice shipped to the UK for fermentation - and I balked. Oh bloody hell, I hope I don't get sued! To be clear! This is unverified! But I read it and I'd rather not take any chances.

Last night around 11:30, I got a hankering for something cold and fizzy and Jon Stewart was interviewing some old, American politicos, so...

This is Magners Apple Cider. They make a tasty pear cider too. Which we can get over here. In Ireland, where it's made, they are blessed with seasonal specials - oh dear lord - they have a spiced apple and rhubarb. Anyhoo....this is from the website, and I like the sound of it....

The Method

We take a leaf out of William Magners' book when it comes to making cider.

We start simple enough, with traditional ingredients. Apples, to be specific. No surprise there. But we get them fresh, 17 different varieties of them, from eating apples to dessert apples to tough little cider apples – all sourced from Irish orchards and local farms. Plus we wait for them to fall from the tree, so they’re nice and ripe. We give them a good scrub, and they’re ready to press.

After pressing, we ferment the juice twice over in wooden vats using the yeast that occurs naturally in fruit. Adding a little sugar to stop it spoiling, we then let it mature in pitch-black darkness, without a trace of light, for 18 months. Finally we cold-filter it for clarity and a crisp refreshing taste. The last stage is easiest: pour it over ice and enjoy.

But what about our other ciders, you ask? Well, the only thing that changes is the fruit we use. For Magners Pear, we use only premium pears, ripened and ready for slow fermentation. If we’re making Magners Golden Draught, we simply use more of the smaller, harder Dabinett and Michelin apples – which create a crisper taste that can be enjoyed super-chilled from the tap, without ice.

As Jon and his guests droned on, I was able to sneak a bite of brie, pour my cider and fire off a couple of pics, all in time for "...your moment of zen..." ...and it was some Fox "news" moron lamenting the death of Twinkies. No longer will he have the "...unparalleled joy of jamming a straw into the center of the little, penile cake and sucking out the white, creamy, stuff." Um...Dude! Simmer down!

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