6 Reasons You Should Consider Switching to Cider

Take a swig of good hard apple cider, and you’ll expe­ri­ence a vari­ety of com­plex fla­vors and, quite pos­si­bly, the over­whelm­ing feel­ing of refresh­ment. Cider isn’t for wimps any­more; once the hooch of choice for men of war and pol­i­tics, hard cider is final­ly get­ting back to its roots and regain­ing its well-deserved pop­u­lar­i­ty. Still need con­vinc­ing? Here are some of the many rea­sons you should switch to cider.

why-you-should-drink-cider-featuredFor History’s Sake
His­to­ry has a way of mak­ing tra­di­tion out of neces­si­ty, and that’s cer­tain­ly the case with cider. Amer­i­can colonists in the late 1700s lacked a water fil­tra­tion sys­tem that worked bet­ter than dis­tilled liq­uids, and accord­ing to his­to­ry, Eng­lish hops sim­ply didn’t grow well on Amer­i­can soil. Thus, accord­ing to this arti­cle pub­lished in Slate: “Dur­ing the 18th cen­tu­ry, Amer­i­cans real­ized that the pro­lif­ic, hardy apple tree—which arrived from Eng­land in 1623—offered a solu­tion to their drink­ing dilem­ma. In 1767, the aver­age Mass­a­chu­setts res­i­dent drank 35 gal­lons of cider. (That includes chil­dren, who sipped a slight­ly weak­er ver­sion called ciderkin.) John Adams drank a tankard of cider near­ly every morn­ing of his life.” Adding to that, it’s well known that Thomas Jef­fer­son plant­ed count­less apple trees on his estate, many of which were used for cider-mak­ing. There you have the drink that fueled our nation’s birth–even the least patri­ot­ic of us might feel inclined to cheers to that.

An Apple a Day
The axiom says, “An apple a day keeps the doc­tor away.” While the accu­ra­cy of this state­ment could stand to rea­son, it is true that cider has some research-backed health ben­e­fits. A PR Newswire arti­cle states: “Now sci­en­tists at Brew­ing Research Inter­na­tion­al have con­firmed high lev­els of health enhanc­ing antiox­i­dants in cider, on par with red wine, a drink long rec­og­nized has hav­ing health ben­e­fits. A half pint of cider deliv­ers the same amount of antiox­i­dants as a glass of red wine. Fur­ther tri­als on vol­un­teer cider drinkers at the Insti­tute of Food Research, Nor­wich, details of which are pub­lished in the lat­est edi­tion of the sci­en­tif­ic Jour­nal of Nutri­tion, also estab­lish­es the antiox­i­dants are rapid­ly absorbed into the blood­stream, enhanc­ing the health benefit.”

You Can DIY
As you may remem­ber from our 6 Ciders That Don’t Suck post, some ciders are aged in oak bar­rels, oth­ers are infused with molasses and still oth­ers are to be served at pre­cise­ly “44 degrees Fahren­heit.” These are the tasti­est, most com­plex of ciders, and also the most dif­fi­cult to make. But if you’re inter­est­ed in mak­ing cider at home, it can be very easy to do. You can find a myr­i­ad of How-To books in your local book­store, and there are count­less hard cider tuto­ri­als online. At its core, cider is easy to make — and can be enjoyed rel­a­tive­ly quick­ly after it’s been fer­ment­ed. The core ingre­di­ents you’ll need are: apples, a cider press, a cheese cloth, a large glass jug with a lid, brew­er’s yeast, an air­lock, ster­il­iz­ing pow­der or tablets, a siphon and bottles. 

Vari­ety of the Spice of Cider
There are over 7,500 vari­eties of apples around the world. That kind of vari­ety trans­lates into the many types of cider you have the pos­si­bil­i­ty to taste. Aside from the many types of apple that can be used for cider-mak­ing, fruits like pear, peach and apri­cot can also be added to cre­ate a dif­fer­ent take on the tra­di­tion­al bev­er­age. And as we’ve men­tioned before, some mak­ers are try­ing their hand at bour­bon-aged cider, which imparts and malty, smok­i­er fla­vor than crisp, dry cider aged most often in more neu­tral wood bar­rels. How­ev­er you slice it, apple cider has a robust and seem­ing­ly lim­it­less amount of poten­tial tastes and types. 

Say What? No Wheat?
For those with a sen­si­tiv­i­ty to gluten or celi­ac dis­ease, cider is one of the most deli­cious drink options out there. Because it’s made of apples, cider is nat­u­ral­ly gluten free, and tastes a lot more nat­ur­al than gluten-free beers. Just be sure to check the bot­tle you’re pick­ing out to con­firm it is, indeed, wheat free. Here’s a good list of gluten-free ciders. 

It’s Not Hope­less, it’s Hop­less
Most of your stan­dard apple hard ciders are made with­out the use of any hops, so if you’re sen­si­tive to the cone-like flow­ers of the hop plant, you can order cider with­out hav­ing to explain your admit­ted­ly oft-unheard-of-aller­gy to any­one. Peo­ple who have an aller­gic reac­tion to hops may expe­ri­ence symp­toms like “run­ny nose, swelling of the eye­lids, skin rash­es, and asth­ma,” accord­ing to MDHealth.com, tak­ing beer out of the equa­tion for obvi­ous rea­sons. Cider will sat­is­fy your spir­its crav­ing with­out giv­ing you any of the unpleas­ant symp­toms list­ed above.