Apple Wine / Apple Cider Information
Alcoholic beverages made from apples trace back to the very dawn of mankind. The first mentions of this drink were found in Greek documents, where they called it sikera, and Hebrew documents, where it was known as shekar. However, the true promoters of apple drinks were the native Celts. When the Romans invaded England back in the 100bc timeframe, the Romans found that the locals had a delightful alcoholic drink made out of the red, rosy fruits. It quickly became a hit for the troops to drink. The Romans spread this new beverage far and wide, and soon all of Europe was enjoying the fresh apple cider.
Monestaries got into the act, planting fast orchards and using their delicious ciders to draw in tourists and donations. Soon apple cider was even used as a way to pay wages and provide barters.
Apples are easy to grow - grain is not always so easy. So where beer is drunk greatly in modern times, apple cider was the drink of choice until the 1800s. Every family would have easy access to an orchard, especially with "Johnny Appleseed" wandering around deliberately planting more trees. This real life hero was Johnny Chapman, born in Leominster Massachusetts, who wandered the new territories of the US planting thousands of apple trees to provide new settlers with easy sustenence.
For most of the world, cider has always been alcoholic. It is only in modern time US that "cider" can mean the unalcoholic version. Even in colonial America, it was alcoholic cider that was enjoyed by the colonials.
The word "cider" is simply the traditional word for apple alcoholic beverage, and can be used interchangeably with the word "wine". It is simply the result of apples interacting with yeast to create an alcoholic beverage. In fact in Germany, they do call this drink an "apple wine".
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