Mike Parker

Comparing Apples to Apples, Sort Of

Monday, October 30, 2017 at 9:42 AM
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When it comes to apples and alcoholic beverages, it’s not always an “apples to apples” comparison. Although the basic ingredient might be the same, the process of turning one of the world’s most popular fruits into one of the world’s most popular adult beverages can be quite different, and produce astoundingly different results.

Hard Cider – Apple cider, essentially the unfermented, unfiltered, unsweetened juice from pressed apples, is a tasty treat for people of all ages. But with the rise of craft beers and other small batch brews, it’s not surprising that hard cider has emerged as a major player in the adult beverage category in the last few years. Hard cider is produced by allowing apple cider to ferment before bottling, resulting in and alcohol content of between 2 to 8 percent.

Apple Wine – If you love wine, but enjoy a flavor that is strong, fruity and refreshing, with a lower alcohol content than traditional grape wine, you might consider apple wine. Produced by winemakers across the United States and in a few European countries, apple wine typically carries a lovely flavor profile, and golden amber color with a slight blush, depending on the type and ripeness of the apples used, and a much lower alcohol content of 6 to 7.5 percent – about half that of grape wine.

Applejack – An alcoholic beverage of choice in Colonial America, applejack was produced by freeze distilling hard cider, effectively “jacking up” the alcohol content from its original 2 to 8 percent, to 25 to 40 percent. Alas, freezed distilling is no longer in vogue (due to cost factors and health concerns). Today, commercially produced applejack is made by blending apple brandy with neutral spirits.