It’s been more than five years since the latest rebirth of hard cider, and it should come as no surprise, especially to apple-loving New Englanders, that the industry continues to grow. Craft cideries are popping up throughout the country, with entrepreneurs putting their own twist on the gluten-free beverage, blending all kinds of apples to create a sip that’s crisp, light, and refreshing.
In ye olde New England, both taverns and homes often had bottles of rum on the shelves, a popular ingredient in Colonial cocktails. A “stone fence” mixed rum and hard cider and a “flip” contained rum, beer, molasses, and eggs, stirred with a poker glowing red from the hearth fire. Some of those old recipes are back, thanks to a resurgence in pre-Prohibition concoctions and our nerdy interest in sipping historical libations.
In Mexico, premium tequilas have been produced and enjoyed for generations, but today their popularity reaches beyond the borders. "According to the Tequila Regulatory Council, tequila has seen the largest incremental rise in consumption among spirits, both in the U.S. and worldwide," says Sergio Ramos, business partner at Mixteca in Durham, New Hampshire, and Zapoteca in Portland, Maine.
Gluten free, lighter than most craft beer, and lower in alcohol and calories than wine, hard cider is fast becoming America’s new brew. Not since the young, passionate days of the craft beer industry have we seen such breathlessness to get into the game. Research firm IRI recently reported sales of cider increased more than 65 percent from October 2011 to October 2012, compared with wine sales increasing 5.6 percent and craft beer 13 percent during that time period.