1. Awesome post, as always! I too am annoyed by all the claims of dryness which are false. My preferred range is semi-dry to semi-sweet. Although dry ciders can have a lot of complexity, on average, I find them to not be as full flavored as sweeter ciders.

  2. Darlene Hayes

    It all depends on what you’re looking for, I guess. There’s a cider for every taste, which is a beautiful thing.

  3. Todd Hutchens

    A very young industry that has not set standards. It will happen. If people would read the labels. They will tell you everything you need to know.

  4. Darlene Hayes

    True for sugar content as long as it’s under 7% ABV. Over that the only stat allowed is ABV. That’s why the graphics on Redbyrd and Seattle Cider can be so helpful. Ah for a world where dry on the label meant dry in the bottle….

  5. A big point to consider is people don’t actually do what they say. Consumers say they want dry, yet snap up sweeter beverages. This goes for wine as well as cider. Makers are designing products that are marketed as “dry” yet have well hidden sweetness.

  6. Pete

    Great post, I’m glad we are having this conversation. I feel like we should discuss the limits of balance in regards to sweetness. Cider is rather unique as a genre in that it can be balanced across a wide range of sugar levels, though each cider will have it’s own narrower range where it will shine. At some point though, these high sugar levels go beyond balance completely and enter the realm of soda. Sweet for sweetness’ sake. You are correct that there is nothing inherently wrong with this, but to me these drinks do a disservice to the genre because they miss the point. They misrepresent the very essence, the sublime balance, that cider can have. We can debate just where this line is, but to me, I would be very happy if there was a different name for it much like how Smirnoff Ice and Boones Farm are malt beverages, but we don’t call them beer.

  7. Darlene Hayes

    I get your point, but in practice names are tricky. Think about the squishiness of “craft” and “artisanal” as applied to cider, for example. When it comes to sweetness and balance you’ve then also got to address the fact that those attributes are to some degree subjective regardless of what the total acidity or residual sugar or ABV numbers say. The first goal might better be to be able to talk about cider on it’s own terms rather than as the stepchild of the beer, or wine, category.

  8. Some people detest the term “hard cider”, but it could certainly be used to refer to the lower-quality products. Save the term “cider” for everything else.

  9. Hi Darlene –

    We are interested in selling your Cider Cocktails book in the Millstone Cellars tasting room. Would you be kind enough to contact me –

    (Curt says hi!)

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