Keen to steer clear of sickly sweet ciders this summer? Here are some drier bevvies to grab off the shelves
When it comes to the flavour scale, you’re either a sweet tooth, or you’re not. So it’s no surprise that sweet cider has fans and foes, plus a handful of people on the fence about the drink’s sugar-hitting character.
This summer, however, we’re bypassing the sweet and diving straight into the dry. These drier styles are more complex, less syrupy and sure to quench thirst without compromising on taste.
The dry cider category has skyrocketed over the past couple of years as cider makers find delicious ways to unlock the essence of the fruit they use while keeping the sugar to a minimum.
And if you’re fond of beer or dry wines and had written off cider as too sweet, you may just be tempted to nominate these carbonated, astringent ciders as your go-to summer tipple. We take a look at the best of the bunch.
One of the head honchos of the dry cider category in New Zealand, Zeffer takes an all-natural approach to their cider making. Comprising of Sam, Hannah, Josh and Greg, this quartet is responsible for everything that Zeffer churns out – from scouring the country for New Zealand’s best apples, to fermenting, maturing and bottling their cider creations. None of their ciders contains any cane sugar, just the natural fruit sugars.
Zeffer’s Crisp Apple Cider (5% ABV) marks the beginning of their journey. It’s a simple, honest cider with a crisp, green apple tang and a balanced dry finish. Zesty Citrus Cider (5% ABV) is for those looking for a lively beverage to help them through the hot summer days.
And if you’re after something fancy, their Slack Ma Girdle (6.6% ABV) is a Kiwi take on the famous British West Country cider style. A combination of over 50 different cider apple varieties, many of which feature inedibly bitter tannins and sharp flavours on the tree, are magically transformed in the bottle. This one is released annually with a limited supply.
42 Below Apple Jack’s Cider
This New Zealand born vodka-cider hybrid is the new kid on the block and the perfect summer companion. Made from locally sourced apples, Apple Jacks (5.4% ABV is cut with 42 Below vodka to neutralise the sweet punch cider tends to pack.
With two flavours to choose from – Ginger Jive and Pippin Dry – this drink is designed to deliver a bold crispness and smooth vodka mouth-feel.Ginger-spiked Ginger Jive is mellow and easy while Pippin Dry hits the right balance sweet between and sour – a win in our books.
Mac’s Cider Range
Macs have stepped away from the traditional and conjured up some weird and wonderful ciders. The gang includes Cranberry & Ginger, Chilli & Lime, Blood Orange & Cardamom, and the old faithful Cloudy Apple – which clock in between 4.2 and 4.7 per cent ABV.
Cranberry & Ginger is an intriguing marriage of flavours, with the ginger and cinnamon working in unison with the cranberry’s tartness. As the boldest of the bunch, Chilli & Lime gets the tastebuds firing with a warming hit of chilli, mellowed by the lime. The pale-blush Blood Orange & Cardamom uses a cloudy apple base cut with the bite of blood orange and warmth of cardamom. All Macs ciders are best served at a nippy 4 degrees.
Monteith’s Cider Range
All of Monteith’s ciders are drier than most (we’re betting this might have something to do with their staunch West Coast heritage), and there are three delicious varieties: Crushed Pear, Crushed Apple and lower-alcohol Light Crushed Cider.
If you’re new to the world of cider then Monteith’s Crushed Pear is a good place to start. Made from 100 per cent freshly crushed New Zealand pears, it’s a perfect match with ginger-spiced food, blue cheese or cheddar. Their Crushed Apple Cider is refreshing and dry with a modest sweet balance and a fruity oomph. Sitting at 2.8 per cent ABV, Lightly Crushed Cider is an ideal post-beach day pick-me-up before the ride home.
Old Mout Hard Cider
According to DB, one in three Kiwis have never tried cider. Old Mout Hard Cider sets out to change the perception of cider as lolly water. It’s the new style of cider New Zealanders are looking for – dry, subtle on the sweet, and golden, much like the lagers Kiwis love to enjoy. At 5 per cent ABV and crafted from the best Nelson apples, Old Mout Cider is the perfect refreshment to partner an afternoon barbecue, game of cricket, or any other summer occasion.