12 Annotations

First Reading

Terry F  •  Link

Pedro on Sun 1 Jan 2006, 9:00 pm

"syder…for tonight we merry be."

“What follows is the true tale of this mythic beverage, loved by millions of Englishmen, which explains why, for over a decade, I have dreamed about introducing it to Americans…dreams have power.”


Glyn  •  Link

I'm a little surprised that Pepys and friends are drinking cider in the winter, because I think of it as mainly a summertime drink. I have friends who make their own and for one thing it takes several months to ferment, just as does wine.

Apparently in North America the word is used for apple-juice non-alcoholic drinks, but in Britain it is ALWAYS alcoholic. In fact, it's normally significantly stronger than beer. Do not think about giving it to your children if you're in a British pub.

in Aqua Scripto  •  Link

Cider as a thirst quencher , as teen-ager, used to drink cider when stookin', threshin', 'oin' and other gynastique exercises when down on the olde farm before the days of Combines. Never suffered a hangover, just worked a little faster.
That not be 'scrumpy' that be another story. see Devon & scrumpy for the press of juice from apples.

Terry F  •  Link

Cider in North America is indeed more often than not (by quantity) a non-alcoholic beverage, distinct from apple-juice by having mixed in some fruit solids.

There is, however, also what is called "hard" (= alcoholic) cider.

Both tend to be associated with autumn and winter.

Grahamt  •  Link

In the UK cider is always "hard" (else it is apple juice - clear or cloudy)
It was originally apple wine with a high alcholic content, but was made weaker to avoid paying high excise duties. Now supermarket cider is between 2% and 5% alcholol, but West Country "Scrumpy" is much stronger. It was said the West Country pubs wouldn't sell "foreigners" (anyone without a west country accent) more than two pints.

John N  •  Link

In the English county of Somerset, where I grew up, some farmers fermented rough cider (scrumpy) in huge oak barrels. They sold it very cheaply, and you could 'taste' the cider from several barrels before buying. The cider apples came from their own orchards. To 'feed' the cider portions of raw meat were sometimes thrown in the barrels (rumour has it rats were sometimes used) - these disappeared without trace in a few days. Unlike beer, you can work hard after drinking cider - perhaps that's why it was very much a farmworker's drink for centuries in the West Country of England. It can also make you do some very silly things.....please don't ask.....I'm still trying to forget.

Second Reading

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

1662 Somerset farmer presents to the Royal Society a way to make alcoholic sparkling cider -- which leads to Champagne ...

Pardon Messieurs, but champagne was a BRITISH invention, claims new research
By James Tozer
UPDATED: 21:01 EST, 26 September 2008
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/a…
It is the most quintessentially French drink, and the pride of a whole nation. But there could be consternation across the Channel after a claim that champagne was invented by an Englishman.
Born in 1614, self-taught West Country scientist Christopher Merrett came from an area better known for producing cider.
However, records show Christopher Merrett devised two techniques that were fundamental to making champagne decades before Benedictine monk Dom Perignon, who is usually associated with the invention of the ultimate luxury drink.
Christopher Merrett used techniques from the cider industry to control the second fermentation which makes wine fizzy and - crucially - invented the stronger glass needed to prevent the bottle exploding.
Christopher Merrett, also spelled Merret, gave a paper to the Royal Society in 1662 describing how adding 'vast quantities of sugar and molasses' to French wine made it taste 'brisk and sparkling'. That was more than 30 years before Dom Perignon's work at the Abbey of Hautvillers at Epernay marked the 'official' beginning of a multi-million-pound industry which the French have jealously protected ever since.
Christopher Merrett also carried out experiments which led to his masterwork, The Art of Glass, explaining how stronger bottles could be blown by adding iron, manganese or carbon to the molten mixture.
Tough glass was essential to prevent the pressure created by the fermenting wine causing the bottles to explode. Early French accounts of champagne production describe the revolutionary bottles as being made of 'verre anglais', or English glass.
Christopher Merrett's crucial contribution to the history of both champagne and cider is recounted by author James Crowden in his new book, Ciderland.
Crowden said yesterday: 'The French will no doubt guard their rights to the methode champenoise to the last cork and rigorously prevent anyone using the champagne name outside their tightly-controlled region. But they cannot claim, however ingenious they are, to have invented the method for the simple reason they did not have the new stronger English bottles.
It is the invention and manufacture of these bottles that is the key to the whole enigma as much as the addition of the extra sugar.'

Bill  •  Link

To make Cyder
PULL your fruit before it is too ripe, and let it lie but one or two days, to have one good sweat; your apples must be pippins, pearmains, or harveys (if you mix winter and summer fruit together it is never good); grind your apples, and press it; and when your fruit is all press'd, put it immediately into a hogshead where it may have some room to work, but no vent, but a little hole near the hoops but close bung'd; put three or four pound of raisins into a hogshead, and two pound of sugar, it will make it work better; often racking it off is the best way to fine it, and always rack it into small vessels keeping them close bung'd and only a small vent hole; if it should work after racking, put into your vessel some raisins for it to feed on; and bottle it in March.
---The Compleat Housewife. E. Smith, 1739.

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

Pepys seems to like French Syder:

We know the Hebrews drank "Shekar" and the Greeks "Sikera" (a drink obtained by cooking apples with fermented juice).
Before the Christian era, the peoples of Europe produced drinks similar to cider from a variety of fruit.
STABON, the Greek geographer, described the abundance of apple and pear trees in Gaul and mentioned the "Phitarra" in the Basque country, which was a drink made by boiling apples in water with honey.
In the 4th century PALLADIUS tells us the Romans prepared pear wine.
At the end of the 4th century, St. Gerome mentioned perry (Piracium) and was the first to introduce the word into Latin. He also introduced "Sicera" for Cider (in English) or Sidre and Cidre (in French).
Progress in apple and pear tree husbandry, and the care in Merovingian times included a Salic law: those who damage fruit trees were to be severely punished.
In the 9th century, Charlemagne ordered skilled brewers (the Sicetores) be kept on his estates to prepare ale, "pommé" (pomacium), perry, and all the liquors liable to be used as drinks.
In 1163, Enjuger de Bodon granted the Abbey of Moutiers, Normandy, the tythe from the apples, orchards and woods. Other similar acts can be found throughout the century. Normandy vineyards acquired their highest degree of prosperity in the 11th and 12th centuries.
In the 13th century: THE INVENTION OF THE PRESS.
At the end of the 13th century, wine and cider brokers named by municipal officers were established in the city of Caen.
Religious houses in High Normandy were given cider in the 14th century. In 1371, about as much cider as wine was sold in Caen.
The Hundred Years War was for Normandy a time of desolation during which agriculture suffered and cider was submitted to heavy levies.
In the 15th century, cider was the usual beverage in High and Low Normandy.
From the 15th century, progress was made in its presentation.
GUILLAUME DURSUS settled near Valognes in the Cotentin. He improved apple species, planting and popularising the varieties .
SIRE DE GAUBERVILLE also improved apple trees, and fermentation of cider in Cotentin, producing his first vintage in 1553.
At the time, fruit-growing specialists recommended the use of sour-sweet apples to press a delicate tasting cider, adding a few acid apples to avoid blackening. They classified ciders by their colour and flavour.
In 1588, Julien LE PAULMIER, a Norman and Charles IX's physician, published "De Vino et pomaco" which made cider recognized as a healthy drink, and praised for its medicinal properties.
Under Louis XIII, because of wine taxes, Normandy vineyards were largely pulled up, and cultivation of apples spread to neighbouring areas. The consumption of cider grew, but was halted several times by war, crippling levies and the poverty of the population.
In 1720, the state became interested in fruit growing and set up nurseries.

cyclops  •  Link

Trans-atlantic translations can be tricky ... I grew up on Colonial cider, so after 3 glasses at the student union at the University of Sussex in 1967, me legs went into business for themselves, a memorable experience; since then I have favored the expression "legless"

San Diego Sarah  •  Link

The History of Apple Cider

Historians largely agree that apple trees existed along the Nile River Delta as early as 1300 BC, but it is unclear whether cider was ever produced from the fruit.

When the Romans arrived in England in 55 BC, they were reported to have found the local Kentish villagers drinking a delicious cider-like beverage made from apples.

According to ancient records, the Romans and their leader, Julius Caesar, embraced the pleasant pursuit with enthusiasm. How long the locals had been making this apple drink prior to the arrival of the Romans is anybody's guess.

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