Drinking Cider, Eating Food
Hmm. We’re not sure rules increase pleasure. Yes, certain persons may still use wine lore to impress (or embarrass.) But wine-lovers, as distinct from wine snobs, are over all that. Here’s Ntsiki Biyela, a celebrated young South African wine-maker: “Wine is never the same today as it is tomorrow. It even depends on where you drink it and who you are with and what mood you are in. It’s a very, very nice thing.” (NY Times, 8.23.2011.)
Ciderwise, we agree. So here’s the mission statement:
SERVE CIDER to GLADDEN THE MOMENT
Some principles of gladdening:
Serving temperature: The more chilled-down the drink, the less full and vivid its flavors will seem. So decide for yourself whether you crave a nice chilling ‘mouthfeel’ over the utmost nuance of flavor. We like Farnum Hill Ciders, with their tannic structure and bouquet of subtle delights, at red-wine temperatures, 55-ish degrees Fahrenheit. (The recommended “room temperature” for red wines was set before central heating.) On the flip side, when a label says “SERVE ICE COLD,” you have been warned.
Presentation: For the fullest sensory effect, a basic wine-tasting glass or something similar looks nice and works well. That incurved shape focuses aromas, which then ‘become’ flavor on the palate.
We like nice glasses, period. Love crystal stemware at times! Love those French-style bistro tumblers at other times! Love your grandmother’s set of etched whatevers! Before Prohibition, elegant New Jersey ciders were unethically but successfully labeled Champagne, and doubtless sparkled in swanky crystal. We like our XD in flutes.
The English have a history of special mugs for cider. Customary in pubs nowadays are pint and half-pint glasses, though we’d take a look at the percent alcohol before filling that big glass with FHC.
Old cider regions sport various habits and customs: check out the high-risk ‘sidra’ pours of northern Spain! Over there they speed-aerate their super-dry, super-tannic local sidras by holding the glass several feet below the bottle. It’s a skill. In Norman restaurants, local cidres often arrive in variously-shaped glasses, all pretty small, as aperitifs.
TO BE CONTINUED. SUGGESTIONS WELCOME!