The 10 Best ciders
Forget the cheap stuff at the back of the supermarket fridge, properly made scrumpy is the drink of the gods.
Over the 10 years that Sandford has been pressing cider (it launched as a commercial orchard only in 2003), the family business has gone from strength to strength. Winner of the Taste of the West award in 2011, this is a light and fruity "proper" cider that can be drunk with ease on a sunny afternoon or a cold winter evening.
£26 for 12, sandfordorchards.co.uk
From a multi-award-winning Welsh cider company, this is a medium-dry, traditional-style scrumpy that can be enjoyed by anyone. With a fresh sweet flavour it is a great way to get a taste for real, rather than mass-produced, cider.
£30 for 12, gwyntcider.com
Last year, Cornish Orchards won the coveted national gold prize at Camra's Cider and Perry Championships for its Farmhouse Cider. The Blush, however, is something else altogether. Pressed raspberries are blended with apples to give a crisp, sparkling flavour that can be drunk like pink champagne.
If you like your ciders dry, this traditional farm-press, left to mature for six months, should have your mouth a-watering. All Perry's ciders are made from apples grown in Somerset: a cider heartland if ever there was one.
Sheppy's has 200 years of cider producing under its belt – so it knows what it is about. Made solely from bittersweet Dabinett apples, this single-variety cider is one of the best and most readily drinkable out of those widely available.
£22.80 for 12, sheppyscider.com
Daintily sparkling, dry and light – this is a cider for all year round. The distinctive Katy apples from which it is made make it a fine companion for chicken or pasta. Be careful, though – it's 7.4 per cent. One to be savoured, as it deserves.
While it's still chilly out, make the most of the opportunity to sup on some deliciously sweet and warming spiced cider. This is one of the nicest: a light, fruity cider flavoured with fresh ginger, cloves and cinnamon.
£18.50 for five litres, kentcider.co.uk
From Henney's orchard in Herefordshire, this natural-tasting dry cider is one of the most popular it produces. Frome Valley Dry is deliciously bittersweet and lightly sparkling, with a strong, punchy aroma that has you coming back for more.
From the award-winning craft-cider producers based in Somerset, this tangy, medium-dry sparkling cider is one you can drink with ease. A perfect session drink, it manages to retain its sharpness while still tasting smooth. Widely available and widely drinkable, too.
An absorbing cider with an intriguing flavour from Scottish producer Thistly Cross. As the name suggests, it is matured in old Glenglassaugh whisky casks, giving it a unique taste – think oak, vanilla and apple. That may sound like a lot to get your head around but give it some time and it will become a firm favourite.
£33.87 for 12, thistlycrosscider.co.uk
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