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Cider (also spelled: cyder) refers to a beverage containing the juice of apples. In Europe and Oceania, the term refers to fermented apple juice, but in North America cider is normally unfermented, but when fermented it is known as "hard cider".
In Europe and Oceania cider is an alcoholic drink made from fermented apple juice. It is often stronger than beer, and is frequently over 6% alcohol by volume. The common eating apples are unsuitable for cidermaking, being low in tannins; specific apple cultivars bred especially for cidermaking are preferred.
Cider comes in a variety of tastes, from sweet to dry. Sweet cider tends to be popular with young people.
Modern, mass-produced ciders are generally heavily processed and resemble sparkling wine in appearance. More-traditional brands, often known as scrumpy, tend to be darker and more cloudy, as less of the apple is filtered out. They are often stronger than processed varieties.
"White cider" is a made by processing cider after the traditional brewing process is complete, resulting in a nearly white product. This processing allows the manufacturer to produce strong (typically 7-8% ABV) cider cheaply, quickly, and on an industrial scale, often from poor raw materials.
Applejack is a strong alcoholic beverage made in North America by concentrating cider, either by the traditional method of "freeze distillation", or by true evaporative distillation. In traditional freeze distillation, a barrel of cider is left outside during the winter. When the temperature is low enough, the water in the cider starts to freeze. If the ice is removed, the (now more concentrated) alcoholic solution is left behind in the barrel. If the process is repeated often enough, and the temperature is low enough, the alcohol concentration is raised to 30-40% alcohol. In freeze distillation, hazardous concentrations of methanol and fusel oil may develop. These toxins can be separated when regular, heat distillation is performed. Home production of applejack is illegal in most countries.
Cocktails may include cider. Besides kir and snakebite, an example is Black velvet in a version of which cider may replace champagne.
Other alcoholic beverages are also made from apples, such as apple wine and the distilled spirits apple brandy and calvados. A popular aperitif in Normandy is pommeau a drink produced by blending unfermented cider and apple brandy in the barrel (the high alcoholic content of the spirit stops the fermentation process of the cider and the blend takes on the character of the aged barrel).
Other fruits can be used to make cider-like drinks. The most popular is perry, known in France as poir and produced mostly in Normandy, which is made from fermented pear-juice. A branded sweet perry known as Babycham, marketed principally as a women's drink and sold in miniature Champagne-style bottles, was once popular but has now become unfashionable. Fermented peach juice can be made into "peachy".
Another related related drink is cyser (cider fermented with honey).
A few producers in Quebec have developed cidre de glace (literally "ice cider", sometimes called "apple ice wine"), inspired from ice wines, where the apples are naturally frozen either before or after harvest. The alcohol concentration of cidre de glace is 9-13%.
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