An ode to cider from across the Pond
When I was a young 21-year-old (sometime roughly last year) I ventured across the pond to do a legal internship in London. Now I know what you’re thinking- legal internship = solicitor, which means that I must have a black heart. Before you read on I must assure you that I do have a heart and sometimes even emotions, but it’s a complicated situation.
I say complicated because I’ve only ever loved two things in my life – my family, and cider. Once I read Sam Hill’s article on cider, I decided to profess my love publicly. Being blonde, I’ve always preferred drinks that taste like candy apples and fairy dust, even though I wish I could guzzle Guinness with the best of them. So don’t give me Irish stouts, or even liberty- just give me cider. I’ll pay for it, beg for it – heck, I’ll eventually have to start brewing it just to keep up with demand (my own demand, that is).
It’s your fault though – United Kingdom as a whole – for giving me these feelings for a drink I didn’t even know existed until last year. I remember the first day I had cider – 19 May, 2012. I wandered into a pub with my three friends, waited at the door to solidify our tourist status, and sat down only once the barman took mercy on us and waved us toward a table.
Upon realizing that you must actually go up to the bar in order to place a drink order, I asked the barman what he would recommend. Sizing me up in a single glance he told me, “Well, all the American girls like to drink cider.” Not wanting to be a tourist (which I so obviously was) I almost hesitated. He then added this little statement that made cider the obvious choice – “It comes with ice.” SOLD, GOOD SIR.
He handed me a strawberry-lime Rekorderlig, which was much more pleasing to the palate than the usual beer or boxed wine I attempted to chug in college. The cider was even better than the virgin Piña coladas my family used to give me on holiday that I thought contained alcohol.
From that moment on, I rotated between ciders after work at my local Gloucester pub. Setting aside my legal briefs and worries for the day, I either had Rekorderlig, Kopparberg, Stella’s new Cidre, or Magners. After a trip to Dublin I added Bulmers to my vocabulary, only to find out that it was actually the same thing as Magners.
When it came time for my departure back to the states, I found myself faced with an overwhelming sadness. Not only was I leaving my adopted homeland behind, but I was also leaving behind the only drink that didn’t completely make me ill, and sometimes made me dance. On the plane I was distraught with the thought of going home and uttering that dreaded sentence, “I’ll just take a Bud Light.”
But my dear family was more prepared for my return than I thought they were. When I arrived home, my mother was quick to point out that the fridge was stocked with Woodchuck and Angry Orchard – drinks I also didn’t know existed. And even though I had to drink them somewhere other than the UK, they’re actually quite good.
So my advice to you this summer is go out – be brave! Discover new drinks! And when you find something you like send those recommendations to me. I’ll be here typing away on my computer, just waiting for my family to stage a cider intervention (which is fine with me, as long as they bring the ice).
(Full disclosure- I’m not sponsored by any of the companies mentioned above. However, if they would like me to be their spokesperson, I’ll be waiting by the phone).
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