Tuesday, 25 August 2009


Having gone to school in the West Country, I encountered cider fairly early on, and I've often been willing to drink it over the years, though I haven't specialized in it. The problem is that the available ciders tend not to be good.

Over in England for a short time recently, I stayed at the Coach & Horses pub/hotel in Kew (which I can recommend, incidentally), and tried the draught Blackthorn cider they had at the bar. I liked it, and went on drinking it while I was there.

Now I look on the Web and find that apparently it's not a real cider made in the approved way, so I shouldn't really like it. Hm. Nevertheless, I found it preferable to the other ciders in the shops—which I suppose aren't real ciders either, by the same criteria.

Back home, I can find two Spanish ciders on sale within walking distance: El Gaitero, which looks like cheap champagne and is soft and bland and a bit sweet; and Zapiain, a Basque cider that tastes like apple vinegar. Neither is really what I'm after. In a spirit of experiment, I tried mixing the two. The mixture is perhaps an improvement on either one by itself, but still leaves something to be desired.

Is it really difficult to produce a cider that's neither sweet nor vinegary?