Cider with Penny

June 17, 2009

Which cider you on?

The Metro (London free morning newspaper) ran an article on Tuesday 15 August 2006 by Silvena Rowe narrating cider's rise from a drink solely for new age travellers to the beverage of choice for posh pub patrons.

Ridiculously, though, they interview a city boy who says: "It all started when Magners bought out pints wth ice". Ice! I ask you! It just waters down the taste and lets the landlord get away with not giving you a full pint. I blame Magners for the inexorable rise in the cost of cider over the last three to four years. Ice must be bloody expensive stuff.

To its credit, the article rapidly moves away from In Praise of Magners-type reporting to introduce readers to some of the more unusually named ciders out there - Slack My Girdle and Northern Spy being two of my favourites. I always thought Smack My Bitch Up was a good name for a cider, rather like an apple-based version of Wife Beater.

The variety of ciders in supermarkets is broadening, but sadly you won't find anything much more exotic than the occasional Stowford Press or Westons in most London pubs (although my local, the Cobden in Camden, does have Gaymers on tap - a vastly superior cider to Magners.)


A rival and a friend

... called lightweightmick

Dipping in and out of the news like a straw in a pint of scrumpy

When Gutenberg kindly set this blog up for me, my intentions were two-fold; first, publish my own musings, tasting notes and anecdotes relating to cider; second, track features published about cider in the press to look at how the public perception of the most English of drinks changes - from abhorrence to indulgence to ridicule and so forth.

But not having a computer/time/energy/inclination meant the cuttings all got piled up in a lever arch file and never got posted. But I still have them, and I'd like to share them now. And in the future.

What were you called, my lovely?

It's a tragedy that the drinking of cider makes one forget essential elements of that cider, such as its name. I was in the Coach and Horses, Farringdon, last night and had a flagon of a delicious cider, tried both medium and medium sweet varieties. It was heady but not musty, it had a delightful nose but wasn't overpowering, it was 7.5% and I drank far too much of it. Then fell off my bike on the way home.

I remember, distinctly, talking about Stowford Press and Thatchers Gold, drinks I enjoyed on a recent holiday in Hereford, but they certainly weren't what I was drinking.

Anyway, this post is exacerbating my hangover so I'll sign off.