Cider (the hard stuff) is finally making a home for itself in the United States — and on the Thanksgiving table. Beyond tasting great, dry cider satisfies the trio of Thanksgiving drink requirements: it's inexpensive; it's low-alcohol; and it pairs magically with everything from marshmallow sweet potatoes to cornbread stuffing.
A Brief Introduction to Dry Cider
Although it's having something of a renaissance, dry cider isn't anything new. Originally a way to preserve excess apples and pears, cider slowly evolved into a culture and industry. Based on local fruit varieties and fermentation techniques, a range of flavors and styles emerged — from cloudy and blindingly tart Spanish bottles, to delicately sweet ciders from Normandy, to dry English sips.
While apple is the most common cider, bubbly and still versions can be made from any fruit. It's just like that time your non-alcoholic cider or OJ got left in the fridge for three months. Well, sort of.
Why Cider Is Great for Thanksgiving
Vibrant, lively, and light, ciders combine the complexity of good wine and the mouthfeel of beer in a combination that's easy to love. They're great for any occasion, but especially Thanksgiving.
For starters, they're made for all-day drinking, thanks to their low alcohol content. It's easy to enjoy cider from noon until night without tipping over, or burning the Brussels sprouts.
Another plus? Affordability. Six-packs of 12-ounce bottles typically go for around $8, and most large bottles clock in under $15.
Then there's the fact that they go so well with just about everything. Tart, sassy, and a little bit honeyed, they bring out the sweetness in Thanksgiving sides like roasted squash and sweet potatoes. Meanwhile, the tartness and effervescence are the perfect counterpoint to the holiday's more decadent elements, like rich gravy and buttery stuffing.
5 Ciders to Try for Under $20
What are you planning to serve or drink with your turkey this year?