Nothing quite says summer like a cold pint of cider on a Sunday afternoon as you bask in the sunshine.
Often overshadowed by the latest gin or new craft beer, cider is the unsung hero of alcoholic beverages - at least according to this writer. Made from only fresh fruit, it’s light, refreshing and thirst-quenching.
It is created using a similar process to wine, fruit is fermented and depending on the process length as well as factors such as barrel-ageing and co-fermentation with another fruit, the taste can be remarkably different. Your cider could be anything from still or sparkling to bitter or sweet - the combinations are endless.
With so many established, artisinal and smaller labels popping up left, right and centre, selecting the perfect cider in and amongst hundreds of bottles and cans in the supermarket is no easy feat.
Luckily, we’ve done the searching (and drinking) for you, and have come up with the nine best ciders to buy right now. We’ve sampled traditional cider made from the famed apples of the West Country as well as some of the most innovative flavour creations that exist (Parma Violet cider anyone?).
For those cider sceptics who prefer to hold on tightly to their glass of wine or G&T, we’ve got you covered - there are some impressive rose ciders that are incredibly crisp and fruity, and a new range of botanical drinks is the perfect merging of the gin and cider world.
If you’re looking to spruce up a normal pint of cider then try creating a slushie using the Brothers recipe below.
Brothers Marshmallow Cider Slushie
Lots of ice
500g fresh strawberries
1 tsp lemon zest
500ml Brothers Marshmallow Cider
Mint & strawberries to garnish
Add ice, strawberries, lemon zest, vodka and Brothers Marshmallow cider to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into small glasses and garnish with mint and half a strawberry.
Now it’s time to add these delicious tipples to your online checkout. It won’t be long until you’re sipping on a world-class cider.
Shop our list of the best, thirst-quenching ciders below
Sxollie Granny Smith Cider 500M
Hailing from South Africa, this is a cider with a difference. Pronounced sko-llie (like trolley), each bottle contains five fresh pressed Granny Smith apples that are fermented in the same way as a wine with champagne yeast. The end result? A lightly carbonated and refreshingly bitter-sweet drink - so delicious it’ll convert the non-cider drinkers.
Alongside the Granny Smith cider, there’s also Cripps Pink and Golden Delicious varieties. For the more adventurous drinkers, try the Packham’s Triumph Pear Perry that has subtle notes of honey, elderflower and almond.
Buy now £2.30, Tesco
Brothers Cider Mixed Case - 6 x 500ml
In the cider game since 1658, the Somerset-born label Brothers has some of the most creatively flavoured drinks on the market. You won’t find the likes of simple cider here, instead there’s unique combinations such as Marshmallow, Strawberries & Cream, and of course the most well known, toffee apple -made from a blend of cider, cream soda and toffee.
These all-rounder ciders have a smooth taste with a rich creamy finish that are heavenly for those with a sweet tooth. As the days get chillier, try heating them up for a warming evening tipple. All flavours are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.
Buy now £24.20, Amazon
Rekorderlig Botanicals Rhubarb Lemon Mint Cider 4 x 330ml
First created in 1999, Rekorderlig is one of the biggest names in the cider market with four generations of family-brewed cider under its belt. The brand use only the purest Swedish spring water, and for a fruity addition, has become a pub go-to.
These new botanical drinks are pear cider with a twist - it’s much lighter and has citrusy notes as well as hints of mint and rhubarb. At 4 per cent, it’s the perfect summer’s day drink served over plenty of ice and goes remarkably well with a fruit salad or light alfresco lunch. If you want to get creative, add a dry gin and fresh lemon juice to create a refreshing cocktail.
Buy now, Ocado
Wignac Cider Rose, Le Goupil
Where tradition meets innovation, you’ll find Wignac - an organic cider brand with unique recipes created using only untreated apples from the Ardennes.
Alongside the pure apple juice creations, there’s also Le Goupil made from a mix of apples and grapes. Not that we need any excuse to throw a party, but all Wignac drinks come in 750ml bottles as well as standard 330ml ones, so it’s the perfect light and crisp drink to enjoy with friends and family. There’s no added sugar, colouring or sulphites.
Buy now £3.25, The Bottle Club
Galipette Rosé Cidre
If summer could be bottled, it would taste pretty similar to this rose cider. French brand Galipette has created this thirst-quenching and light drink from rare, red-fleshed Pommes à Chair Rouge, that gives it the colour, character and taste of rose.
After something more dry? Try the Brut or Extra Brut cider made entirely from bitter-sweet Breton apples that tastes unlike any other cider out there.
Buy now £2.25, Waitrose
Thatchers Cloudy Lemon Cider 4x440ml
When life gives you lemons, make cider. In business for over 100 years, Thatchers knows how to make the perfect apple-based tipple and this Cloudy Lemon Cider is another brilliant addition to the company’s innovative and creative portfolio of flavours.
The sweet dessert apples - Braeburn, Gala and Red Spur to be precise - perfectly compliment the zingy taste of the freshly squeezed lemon juice. The result? A refreshing drink that, served over ice and a lemon wedge, tastes remarkably like lemonade (albeit for adults only).
Buy now £5.50, Sainsbury’s
Strongbow Ultra Dark Fruit Cider Cans
No roundup of cider is complete without a mention of iconic British brand Strongbow. Perhaps most associated with student days, the smell alone can conjure up forgotten memories of your youth. However, the new 330ml slimline cans are a marked departure from its past.
Not only do the cans look great and are easy to drink on the go, but the taste is a refreshing twist on the classic Dark Fruits. Under 100 calories per can ( 30 per cent fewer calories than Strongbow’s traditional cider), it’s refreshingly light and made from real blackcurrant and blackberry fruit juice.
Buy now £9.50, Asda
Kopparberg Alc-Free Mixed Fruit Tropical
Launched last summer, Kopparberg’s alcohol-free mixed fruit cider proved so popular, it’s been added to the line-up on a permanent basis.
Packed with all the punchy notes of its regular strength sister, the cider proves you can have all the flavour and fun without any of the alcohol units.
Buy now £3.50, Tesco
Dukeshill Traditional Apple Cider 6x330ml
For real cider lovers, the fruity additions or creative concoctions that crowd supermarket shelves can sometimes detract from the real taste of the drink. That’s why we love Dukeshill traditional apple cider that’s hand-crafted in small batches using the purest ingredients. The long maturation time gives the finished product a smooth, lightly sparkling and crisp taste that’s an absolute delight to sip on warm summer evenings.
Buy now £12.50, Dukeshill