“Cider? That’s a girl’s drink.”
“You need to grow up and discover adult drinks.”
“It’s just fruit juice.”
“I guess you can’t handle alcohol?”
“Oh, that sweet, fruity drink?”
Just some of the reactions I’ve received when I tell people about my new found love for ciders. I usually just shrug and let people continue with their silly misconceptions. Cider isn’t fruit juice, even though it’s primarily made from apples, just like wine isn’t fruit juice! And thus, just like wine, it isn’t just a sweet, fruity drink for girls. I’ve also had several ciders with more alcohol content than most beers, so that should debunk the absurd notion that it isn’t an alcoholic beverage!
Cider was first made by Romans in 55 BC, becoming a popular drink in Europe in the 13th century, when water wasn’t considered potable in most places, because of lack of hygiene. A fermented drink known for its digestive properties, cider was also popular as a preventive measure against various ailments (it is made from apples, after all), the drink regained its popularity in the early 20th century, with the growth of apple orchards in Europe and North America. Craft ciders have seen an exponential growth in popularity over the last five years, with exclusive cideries and cider bars opening up to accommodate this new interest in this historic beverage.
I first discovered cider in the summer of 2007 in the street side cafés of Montpellier, where pitchers of this lovely, refreshing drink were a standard accompaniment to any meal of crêpes. That rather limited perception of ciders changed earlier this year when I discovered the world of craft ciders. From my first can of the fruity Tempt 9 with hints of strawberry and vanilla to Funk Odyssey, the bourbon barrel aged cider by Troy, it’s been an exciting journey of flavours!
I want to talk about all the ciders I’ve tasted, some good and some bad, but I think I’ll settle for the delightful Hot Mully Magoos, that I had at Her Father’s Cider Bar & Kitchen.
I’ve been following HF Cider Bar for months, so I was delighted when we finally made a plan to go there and was salivating about their very extensive cider menu all the way to the historic Harbord Village, where the bar is located. When I entered and saw that they offer flights, I was really delighted, having been introduced to the concept of cider flights at Wvrst, earlier this year. But then, I saw their brunch menu, with the hot mulled apple cider and I knew what I’d be having. It might not be very cold yet for the Canadians, but 12° Celsius is pretty damn cold for me. Hell, in India, it’s that’s winter for me. So the idea of a hot cider was more than welcome, even if I was inside and the restaurant was heated! A lovely hot apple cider with hints of Calvados, spiced rum and lots of cinnamon, this is one mulled cider that I will remember for a long time.