Erin James really loves cider, and based on this book, she appears to know more about the category than anyone else on earth. This boldly colorful guide walks readers through this vastly complicated — and rapidly growing — category, starting with a history of cider and a digest of how it is made, including a classification of the various apples used for cider. A comprehensive flavor wheel is on tap for your olfactory exploration.
From there, James guides you through successive chapters, each detailing one form of cider or another. There are orchard-based ciders, modern ciders, dessert ciders, and pear cider (aka perry)… and a lot more than that. With each variant, James interviews cider producers and profiles orchard operators before highlighting ten cider selections that merit your attention. Naturally, Tasting Cider isn’t an encyclopedia that covers every last cider on the planet, but James’s selections are thoughtful and diverse, and represent the cream of the crop… er, the harvest.
The latter third of the book includes cider-based cocktail recipes and a handful of food recipes designed to pair with (or incorporate) cider into your cooking. These are worth a particular look, as cocktails that include cider are far from common in today’s literature.
Cider is rarely (OK, never) my go-to when ordering a beverage, but Tasting Cider has given me a fresh perspective on a surprisingly complicated category. Naturally, if you are a cider nut, it’s a must-have for your drinking library.
A- / $12 / [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]