Forget beer. Forget wine. Forget spirits and spritzes and mixers. Because this summer, cider should be the apple of your eyes.
But not just any old ciders. You won’t find these in three-litre plastic bottles or sold by the slab in supermarkets. These ciders are not so much garden-variety as they are orchard-variety; artisanally grown and small-batch bottled to create lip-smacking, mouth-watering treats for summer — as easily enjoyed from the bottle on a beach as they are to decant into flutes at dinner.
Here are the eight best luxury ciders to try this summer…
Maison Sassy Cidre Rosé
Let’s start with a spin on the traditional. Maison Sassy — a French brand set to flood Britain with crisp, sweet cider this summer — has brought classic ‘cidre’ into the wine world with this rosé offering. Made from 18 varieties of sweet & acidulous apples grown in Normandy, it’s a bottle best enjoyed alongside sorbets or pastries.
Maison Sassy Cidre Rosé 12 x 33cl
Sorre Cidre Le Guillevic Breton
Shiny of label and sweet of taste, Sorre Cidre’s ‘Le Guillevic Breton’ wears its stripes with Gallic pride. ‘Guillevic’ is the name of the exceedingly rare apple variety from which this cider is made; a tangy type of the French fruit with a rich, unctuous flavour. It’s the brand’s best bottle; a special cuvée with special aromas.
Sorre Cidre Le Guillevic Breton 75cl
Sxollie Packham’s Triumph Pear
From South African craft cidery Sxollie, ‘Packham’s Triumph Pear’ may not be made with apples — but, with elderflower, rose and almond notes, it doesn’t fall far from the tree. Expect a creamy, full perry brimming with honey, caramel and (unsurprisingly) pear. It works particularly well with jams, preserves and marmalades.
Sxollie Packham’s Triumph Pear 8 x 33cl
In a stubby, summery bottle, the ripe, righteous ‘Biologique’ from Galipette would look perfectly at home in a poolside bucket of ice. Make from 100% pure fermented apple juice — never from concentrate — Galipette’s sweet cidre is gluten-free and has no added sugar. That means you can enjoy bottle-after-bottle free from any guilt at all.
Galipette Biologique 6 x 33cl
Hallets Real Cider
Hearty and honest, Hallets Real Cider is handmade at Blaengawney Farm in South Wales. Beautifully simple — but with shades of complex flavour combinations — it’s whipped up using aged Dabinett apples for a mouth-watering mix of tart-sweet notes. It tastes no better than when poured alongside a slab of strong, savoury cheese.
Hallets Real Cider 12 x 50cl
Little Pomona Col Fondo
There’s a retro feel to Little Pomona’s ‘Col Fondo’ cider. At 8.4%, it’s one of the strongest on this list — but is sustainable created and vegan friendly. On the nose, you’ll smell russet apples, honeydew melon and blossom. On the eyes, it’s got a lovely green-tinged haze and, on the palate, expect kiwi and lime zest.
Little Pomona Col Fondo 75cl
Christian Drouin Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie
Christian Drouin’s Cidre Bouche has a particular Champagne charm — labelled with a curlicued script as smooth as the French cider itself. This is perhaps the best option on this list to serve at a dinner party; the bottle has the pomp and ceremony, and the flavours will stand up to even strong meats and barbecued food.
Christian Drouin Cidre Bouche Brut de Normandie 75cl
BlakStoc Ginger For My Honey
And, finally, a lower-alcohol offering. At just 3%, you’d be forgiven for thinking that BlakStoc’s ‘Ginger For My Honey’ cider may lack punch. But, as its name suggests, this black-bottled offering is infused with prickly ginger. Created at the BlakStoc Cidery in Austria, the sharp edges are knocked off the spice with the addition of smooth honey.
BlakStoc Ginger For My Honey 33cl