Cider

Hard cider is one of the most delicious ways to drink alcohol—or at least we think so. It’s great anytime of year, but apple cider is one of those things that are perfect in the fall, whether added to sparkling sangria or used as a sauce for smoked sausage. One of our favorite recipes showcasing hard cider is this pork chop dish, which gets amazing fall flavor with just a handful of ingredients. The boozy cider is transformed into a sauce with leeks, fennel, sage and apple, and then poured over seared pork chops. Serve it with a hard-cider cocktailor a boozy dessert for a perfectly autumnal supper.

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30 Best Ciders

Throughout the United States and in Europe, ciders are the alcoholic beverage world’s secret you may not be as familiar with as you think. As complex as wine and as drinkable as beer, ciders also have a unique quality all their own—which, believe it or not, doesn’t have anything to do with tasting like apple juice. (You wouldn't want a wine that tastes like grape juice, would you?)Forget the six-packs (mostly), Here are 30 ciders that will help any American instantly step up their appreciation of the world of handcrafted cider.

Best Places to Drink Cider

The American cider industry got its first break on the Mayflower, which carried a cider press and apple seeds to the new world. Though Americans have consumed cider for centuries, the market has grown substantially in the last few decades thanks to great producers as well as consumer interest in gluten-free alternatives to beer. With a growing variety of styles made around the country, it's worth tasting a wide selection to better understand the difference between a French-style sparkling cidre brut and a Massachusetts heirloom hybrid recipe. Tasting notes can range from “funky forest floor” for those modeled after traditional Basque ciders, to “clear crisp grapefruit” for heavily filtered offerings from the American Northeast. Since so much of the unique character that distinguishes one cider from the next depends on the apples used to make it, cider is often one of the most local drinks you can order on a menu in places not known for their Cabernet Sauvignon or Bavarian Hops. Cider apples tend to taste bitter when eaten raw, but it’s all about the juice, and particularly, the sugar they yield when pressed. Though distinct varieties like Newton Pippin, Yarlington Mill and Esopus Spitzenburg may be prized for their flavors when pressed into pomace, you’re unlikely to find them in the produce section at Trader Joe’s. After so many of the prized colonial era orchards were destroyed during prohibition, the biggest challenge these days might just be cultivating enough of the right kind of apples to keep up with America’s seemingly insatiable thirst for apple nectar. Luckily, there are producers who are doing just that. Here's where to find some of the best cider in America right now.—Joe Stanek

Cooking with Cider

There's so much more to cider than sipping: in this collection of recipes, from barbecued baby back ribs to poached pears, the sweet apple drink lends flavor and complexity.

Apple Cider–Ginger Shrub

This shrub (a sweet vinegar-based syrup) from F&W’s Kay Chun is sweet and zippy and as good for a party as it is for a hangover. Slideshow: Fall Cocktail Recipes 

More Cider

The Greatest Secret Ever Kept Inside a Cider Box

If you were in posession of something extremely valuable, where would you hide it? Probably locked away and not, say, in a wooden cider box. But that's where Albert Einstein's brain was hidden for 20 years, and no one had any idea.

3 Cozy Crock-Pot Cocktails For a Crowd

The crock-pot is the perfect tool for making hot cocktails for a crowd.