With all the different cider styles available across the globe, let alone what is being developed here in Australia – it is now, more than ever, so easy to host an enjoyable, interesting and informative cider tasting at home.
Words by James Kendall
This is probably the most difficult part to be honest, as there are so many to choose from. My advice is to pick a theme or style that you would like to focus on, or learn more about.
These days there are a variety of ciders available from around the globe, which can be purchased here in Australia – so creating a country focused theme may add some fun to the evening. You could team this with preparing some canapés and other food based on the selected country. The key nations with a long cultural cider history are the United Kingdom, France, Spain and Germany.
PLANNING THE EVENING
The next thing to do is actually purchase some cider. The Internet is a wonderful thing these days, and initially, you can do some research on your chosen subject and identify some producers and retailers of your selected products. A local liquor store may be able to help, or you could ask each guest to bring along examples they have also found that will fit in with your event.
Tasting ten to twelve ciders throughout the evening is probably enough, pallet fatigue and also the social aspect of the evening might take over if there are too many ciders to taste.
Make sure to chill each cider beforehand and cover the label, so each one is tasted without anybody being able to recognise the brand. This way each product gets a fair tasting.
All guests should have a clean glass to taste from, not one that has been sitting in a cardboard box for months, as this will disadvantage the tasting of the first cider poured. Wash glasses and allow to air dry before the evening. I would suggest a wine tasting glass be used, as this allows the drinker to fully appreciate the appearance, aroma and flavour of each cider consumed.
On hand should be a good supply of bread and crackers – not as a substitute for dinner, but to be used between tastings in order to cleanse the pallet ready for the next pouring. Also on hand should be plenty of water and a separate water glass for each one of your guests.
A spittoon or a milkshake stainless steel cup is also a handy thing to have, allowing those that are driving to not consume. Lastly, a pen for each guest, in case they like to write notes.
OTHER HANDY THINGS
Depending on how in depth you want to get – the below may be used, or you could simply enjoy each cider and have a discussion about each one as you taste.
APPEARANCE – note its colour and clarity.
AROMA – note what it smells like.
FLAVOUR – note what it tastes like.
OVERALL IMPRESSION – did you like it, would you purchase it again?
For a bit of fun, you can give each a score and help decide which cider was the most enjoyable of the evening.