Ciders, Apples, Drinks

Apple cider and hard cider…What’s the difference?

Hard ciders, dry ciders, apple ciders, apple cider vinegar…The word cider is sometimes thrown with little real explanation. Apple cider is great with breakfast and hard cider is great as an after-work drink. But what are the differences between these alcoholic ciders and the breakfast-friendly ones?

Apple Cider vs Hard Cider

Simply put, the difference between apple cider and hard cider is the alcohol content (or the lack thereof).

Apple cider is apple juice that has not been filtered and still contains all the apple pieces, pulp, and sediment. It is the raw, purer version of apple juice. To make an alcoholic cider, yeast is added which converts the sugar into alcohol.

Simple right?

Hard cider is the adult version of apple cider. Although apples and pears are the most common fruit to use, ciders can also be made from strawberries, peaches, plums, etc.

Interestingly, if apple cider is left unpasteurized and unrefrigerated, the cider will start to ferment naturally and turn itself into hard cider.

The different types of hard cider

These hard ciders can be made in several styles, which are differentiated by the alcohol and sugar levels in the cider.

Dry cider has the lowest sugar level, but the highest alcohol content. All the sugar is converted into alcohol. Therefore, you can expect about 0.5% residual sugar with up to 7% alcohol. Like our seriously dry Hail Mary Rosé Cider.

Offdry cider is slightly sweeter than dry cider. It has about 1-2% residual sugar which creates a richer flavor too.

Semisweet ciders are the sweetest versions. It can have anything between 2% – 4% residual sugar and have luscious intense apple flavors.

These ciders are either made to be sparkling or still – both of which offer a delicious experience.

Enjoying the alcoholic cider

Hard ciders are a delicate and flavorsome drink that should be served and savored correctly. Although they don’t have to be stored in cool temperatures, they should be served at a cool temperature to truly get the full experience. Hard ciders should be enjoyed like a chilled glass of white wine. Let all the aromas to come forward without freezing all the flavors. And just like a good red wine, the glassware is vital. To truly enjoy everything these hard ciders can offer, a large bowl-like glass with a stem is preferred.

Understanding these differences in the types of ciders will enhance your next experience with any one of these ciders. Now that you’ve learned to distinguish them, check out our ciders page to see what dry ciders we have on our shelves!

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