Autumn is the bite of the harvest apple. — Christina Petrowsky
One of these days in your travels, a guy is going to come up to you and show you a nice brand-new deck of cards on which the seal is not yet broken, and this guy is going to offer to bet you that he can make the Jack of Spades jump out of the deck and squirt cider in your ear. But, son, do not bet this man, for as sure as you are standing there, you are going to end up with an earful of cider. — Damon Runyon
The second quote above really has little to do with our column today — I just like Damon Runyon. That said, it’s October! The temperature is bearable! Let’s talk about something other than beer this month. Let’s talk about hard cider — the tipple that some say allowed William of Normandy to successfully invade Saxon England, Charlemagne’s favorite beverage, the stuff that presumably allowed Johnny Appleseed to walk as far as he did.
There are many good reasons to drink cider, be it hard cider (fermented) or soft (unfermented). A half-pint of unfiltered cider is as full of antioxidants as a glass of red wine . Cider is gluten free, and most small-batch ciders contain some iron and vitamin C . Apple pectin can lower your cholesterol, according to some sources . In short, cider is good, good for you, and everyone should drink more of it.
(Have you figured out yet I like cider? Very perceptive of you.)
Austin and Twin Liquors are all about supporting local businesses, so let’s start by giving a shout out to the folks at Argus Cidery, just down the road from me in far south-west Austin. Their Bandera Brut is bone-dry, delightfully effervescent, and made with champagne yeast. Try it instead of sparkling wine in your mimosas or bellinis, and you’ll see — and taste — what quality-crafted dry sparkling cider can be.
The English make and drink a lot of cider. The best that we can get here on the other side of the Big Pond is Samuel Smith’s Organic Cider. Crisp and delicious with a little bitter-sweetness, it goes with everything from tailgating to treacle pudding. I sell 500ml bottles for $4.29 out at the Galleria, and most of our stores can get it for your autumnal consumption. (Say that five times fast.)
While the English may be pros, we colonials don’t do too badly. My favorite American cider, by far, is JK’s Scrumpy Orchard Gold from Michigan. American ciders tend to forgo the touch of bitterness for full-on fruit, and the JK’s is an amazing burst of honeyed apple goodness. I like to pour a pint then toss in a shot of Laird’s 100-Proof Apple Brandy, another American classic.
Until next month, keep your head up, your lace delicate, your malt toasty, and your hops snappy.