Thursday, 2 June 2011

It's not 'Cider' It's 'Horsepiss'

As Dick Puddlecote warns, the days of the poster advertising alcohol are numbered, so if your telephone takes pictures you may wish to snap one of the current saturation-advertising posters from the makers of Wifebeater selling an apple-flavoured alcohol product. This may be the last time we see a public twenty-foot poster extolling the virtues of an alcoholic beverage (think of the children!) so it's a double shame that what's being advertised is, frankly, horsepiss.

It's not 'Cidre' in my book if it contains only 50% by volume of fermented apple juice at 3% ABV and 50% by volume of water, industrial ethanol and apple flavouring to bring the whole up to 4.5% ABV. And the fatuous claim by Wifebeater that it 'contains 70% hand picked apples' means only that 30% of the apples used in making the 50% of the drink that's cider were machine-picked. And given the surplus of East European apple-pickers not much of a claim, frankly. The product's main rival for the Summer, Magners, also 4.5%, is little better - 75% of each bottle is made from commercial apple juice concentrate, sugar and water.

The only real cider is one made wholly of crushed apples and nothing else, fermented with the natural fruit yeasts and matured for, ooh, at least a week in an oak barrel. At £2 a litre and sod the Revenue. And just as the miserablists' anti-tobacco campaign has seen a growing trend for people to grow their own (and yes I was ahead of my time here when I grew a full crop of Nicotiana Tabaccum from seed in the garden of my cottage in Needham Market in 1978, though my ignorance of the curing process left me with 4kg of snuff ) so I suspect will the advance of the joyless Drink Stasi on the alcohol industry see the rediscovery of small-scale neighbourhood production. 


Anonymous said...

Rough cider... lovely tipple Raedwald, but the only drink that makes me sleepwalk.

Barnacle Bill said...

I remember buying real scrumpy from the farms around where I went to boarding school for 1s a Corona bottleful.
You couldn't see thru it, nor remember what you'd done the following day.
It's a wonder I'm still here!

Anonymous said...

Let the drink stasi get on with it. If we can rid the shops and pubs of the complete rubbish that passes (geddit?) for alcoholic beverages, then all the better.

It's Interbrew, coupled with the drink stasi, that have given rise to the 340-odd micro-brewers in Britain today. And more power to their elbow.

Coney Island

Blue Eyes said...

The only real cider for me is the stuff that comes from Brittany.

F***W*T TW****R said...

9lb of snuff! Jesus, what the hell is your nose made of?

Late Forty Something said...

"Fifty something..." coupled with:

" the garden of my cottage in Needham Market in 1978..."

You did remarkably well at a tender age Radders!!!

Raedwald said...

Haha! Believe me, 20 was not an unusual age to buy a cottage in those days; it cost £4,950, a flint-rubble 2up 2down with a lean-on, an orchard with half a dozen apples where the hens were also penned, and an allotment-sized growing patch. Remember, these were the days when Richard Mabey had just published 'Food for Free' and we were all gathering samphire and puffballs like madmen.

The biggest mistake I've made in my life was not marrying my girl at the time, all velvet trews and cheesecloth shirts with a winsome grin and a Morris 1100.

Anonymous said...

Back in the 50s I remember that rough cider was said to get its special taste from the dead rats that came with the crushed apples from Italy.
Good stuff and cheap.