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?'s about hard cider

Would hard cider be closest to wine, beer, or spirits?
Is it acidic enough to use as a marinade to tenderize? Definite apple flavor?
Any nationwide (US) brands you could recommend?

It is for a pork roast recipe, but hard apple cider has always sounded good to me, I'd like to taste it as a drink, too! Thanks very much.

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  1. Most hard cider I've seen is closer to beer in alcohol %. The Dry Blackthorn is 6% which seems pretty typical. To tenderize go with one of the dry vs. the sweet varieties. The flavor totally depends on the brand of course. My current fav is the Woodchuck Granny Smith, just tart enough to be interesting.

    1. Hard cider is closest to beers, unless you get intrepid and freeze some of the water off (an old way to make applejack). It would be a fine marinade for a pork roast and as a braising liquid. English ciders tend to be less sweet (in my opinion) than the U.S. varieties. Strongbow is another good label.

      3 Replies
      1. re: zebcook

        Do tell me more about freezing the water off please. TIA.

        1. re: bryan

          Not recommended because it concentrates methanol as well as ethanol and ... methanol is bad, mkay?

        1. re: Chinon00

          Agreed! Famile Dupont produces great cider -- and they're my favorite Calvados producer, too.

        2. Hard Cider is closest to beer in terms of alcohol, it's true, but it's actually a naturally sparkling wine . . .

          Fermented fruit juice -- be it from grapes, apples, pears, etc. -- is wine. (Even though most people think "beer.")

          French cider is generally quite different (less sweet) than ciders made here in the US. Aside from the aforementioned cider from Dupont, look for the ciders from Eric Bordelet.

          1 Reply
          1. Not to hijack your thread, but I've always been curious about hard cider... If I don't like beer, will I most likely not like cider? Or are they completely different animals?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Katie Nell

              They are completely different animals.

              Beer = no fruit (except as flavoring -- think Lambics)

              Hard Cider = fruit is essential (without it, you cannot make cider), and the best possess a pure taste of the fruit from which they are produced . . . with added complexity, based upon location (cider from Normandy, France will inherently taste different than cider made from apples grown in England, in New England, or from the Pacific Northwest), AND based on the style of the producer -- just as one Napa Valley Cabernet will taste different from another Napa Valley Cabernet . . .

              Depending upon where you live, many wine bars and/or restaurants serve cider by the glass -- either from bottles (like wine) or from a keg (think pressurized beer tap).

              1. re: zin1953

                Thanks for the informative answer... I live in Kansas, and I've never seen hard cider anywhere, but I haven't exactly sought it out either though. I'll have to check next time I'm at a liquor store or a good wine bar.

                1. re: Katie Nell

                  You should be able to find a hard cider anywhere that there is a good selection of beers and microbrews, and I've found that a lot of the larger supermarkets that sell beer have a small section of shelf dedicated to cider all over the country. Woodchuck Cider is not a bad place to start if you're cureious enough to give it a try. I find it really refreshing and thirst quenching in the summer time, and I always bring a couple of six packs to BBQs and picnics.

            2. Yes hard cider is more like beer than anything else you've listed. My favorite that is readily available is the Woodchuck brand, and I like all their ciders. I agree with hungrydyke that the Granny Smith is good. The pear cider is also good. Anyone had the raspberry yet? I think the Dark & Dry AND the Amber versions would be good to cook with also. And to the OP, some ciders have more of a definite apple flavor than others.

              1. personally I don't care for the pear or the granny smith... the Raspberry is VERY sweet, almost wine-cooler sweet. I have to be in the right mood for it. I love the dark and dry, and there is a new variety called dark and dry 802, it's a little sweeter, it's awesome.
                Love it when I can find cider draft not bottled (rare!).

                1. Let's start this with 'I'm English', I use cider (the alcoholic one - as this side of the pond non-alcoholic cider is called apple juice) to marinade and in sauces for pork and chicken (and lighter meat game birds). Some recipes for the above meats will call for white wine, I will happily substitute cider in most cases - a different dish but just as good. I like my cider (and perry - the pear version) dry which means drier than any I've ever had in Canada (can't comment on the US as I never made it south of the border).
                  On the wine front - over here the distinction between cider and apple wine is (I am told by my cider man) 13% alcohol by volume, as in below is cider, above is apple wine.

                  1. Cider is closer to beer.
                    My personal favorite is Hardcore followed shortly by Woodchuck.

                    If you want something sweeter I recently tried something called Hornsbyce or something around that spelling. It tasted less like hard cider and more like sweet apple cider with some alcohol carefully placed in it; not as good as Hardcore or Woodchuck, but not bad at all, and it may be good for cooking with.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: hungry_fox

                      I've heard folks mention Woodchuck as their favorite cider many time on the site. I've had it once and it tastes like a mixture of air and water to me (and pretty tasteles air and water at that). Is there only one Woodchuck cider or is there another that I'm not aware of which you guys are refering to?

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        There are three or four regularly available. There is one that I don't like either, and I believe it's the Amber. The Dark & Dry is better, but I always reach for the Granny Smith when it's an option. Woodchuck is actually not my favorite cider (there's a stall in the Union Square farmers' market in NYC that makes a great artisinally produced cider I prefer), but it's my favorite readily available cider.

                        Not to be confused with WoodPECKER cider, which is an English brand. In a bottle Woodpecker can be pretty skunky bad, but from a good tap it can be good. Actually a fresh bottle isn't bad either. It is a little bland though.

                        1. re: Chinon00

                          I believe there is only 1 Woodchuck brand. it is much milder that the ciders I had in England, but it is the only brand available locally. The Amber is pretty mild, the dark and dries more robust.