Maybe I’m just now starting to pay attention, but lately I’ve been noticing cider offerings on cocktail menus. Not apple cider — hard cider. I think it’s a thing. One of my friends from the West Coast is a cider girl — she loves the stuff — and Vancouver Island is where I visited my first cider house, Sea Cider Farm & Ciderhouse.
But Calgary has always struck me as a firmly-entrenched beer city, so it’s refreshing to see ciders sneaking their way into more bars. And now, into my home. A new arrival on the cider-scene is Savanna Dry, a cider from South Africa that’s made from the fermented juice of crushed Elgin apples (Elgin is a region on the country’s Western Cape). Savanna Dry is not as sweet as a traditional cider (hence the “dry”), which I really like for summer sipping. Another selling point is it’s GMO- and gluten-free.
Savanna Dry comes in a stubby bottle and you’re supposed to drink it with a lemon wedge, a la Grasshopper or other wheat ale. I tried it first without the lemon and then with it squeezed in, and I have to say I much preferred it after the citrus was added. Kind of like how a lime turns Corona from weak pee-pee into an elixir you can drink all day poolside or at the beach. Not that this cider tastes weak on its own — it’s like a crisp, light, dry white wine — but the citrus just elevates it thanks to the tartness, and also lends it a certain beer guzzle-ability factor. I’ve always thought of ciders as a sort of white wine-beer hybrid and this one proves me right. You can alternate between sipping and chugging. Really.