Cider & Perry

Our selection of the new and the notable from the best British drinks producers.
Visit Drinks of the Month for this month's Variety Show

Henneys Vintage 2011

Created by former-Bulmers cidermaker, Mike Henneys, Vintage 2011 is the cider that took the all-important pork round in the first Cider vs Wine Contest at The Thatchers' Arms earlier this year.

It was up against pretty stiff opposition in the shape of a rich, Portuguese red, Quinta Do Crasto 2010, and the dish, to be fair, also included a tangy sausage, tomato and mixed bean cassoulet.

Henney's Vintage 2011, Herefordshire; Waitrose, Sainsburys, Tesco; Henneys.co.uk; £2.09/50cl;

Hush Heath, Jake's Orchard Cider

Elegant and sprightly, Jake's Cider has light aromas of cooked and green apple, with a subtle herbal tinge, flavours which continue onto the palate.  

Named after the owner's son, Jake's Cider is crafted from Cox, Bramley and Egremont Russell apples from the Hush Heath Estate. 

£13.50, from New Forest Cider Shop, Borough Market; www.hushheath.com

Aspall's Harry Sparrow Cyder

Launched earlier this year, Aspall’s Harry Sparrow cyder, is named after an Aspall’s cyder house legend who spent over 50 years at the family producer. “It’s a tribute to a remarkable man and the many years of dedication to his craft,” says eighth generation cidermaker, Henry Chevallier Guild.

4.6% Available on draught and in 50cl bottles

London Glider Ciders - medium dry & dry

The people at London Glider Ciders – there are a mere three of them, plus a bank of kindly volunteers – make their cider from fruit, mostly unwanted stuff, which they pick from London suburb Woodford Green’s local urban and suburban gardens.

Thanks to the nature of the fruit gathering process, there’s no single variety involved in these ciders – they tend to be a general mix of dessert apples and cooking apples. (They did, however, keep the crab apples separate to use in a 25% combo with the basic dry cider for a limited edition crab apple cider earlier this year.)

Somerset Hamper

The ultimate present for the passionate apple lover has to be a Somerset Hamper from Julian Temperley at Somerset Distillery on Burrow Hill Farm.

With elegant sparkling cider, his ground-breaking complex brandies, the delightful Pomona – a blend of brandy and apple juice to sip á la sherry – plus many other goodies, including brandy orange mamalade and Hix Fix – a delectable little jar of cherries steeped in eaux de vie Julian makes for restaurateur Mark Hix.

John Thatcher's Vintage of 2010

With this cider, it's easy to see why Thatchers has such a good reputation. There's a really great level of carbonation which just lifts the flavours. 

Oliver's Classic Perry

Perry pears are very different to dessert pears, often being much rounder and smaller in shape. Some hail from ancient trees, such as this 150-year-old Barland perry tree, seen here in Tom Oliver's special orchard.

Somerset Cider Brandy

Made by the pioneering Julian Temperley of the Somerset Cider & Brandy Company, this cider brandy is the junior of the family (there's also a 10 year old, 15 year old and the recent addition of a 20 year old). It may only be five years old, but what it lacks in age, it more than makes up for in sheer vivacity.

42%, available from the Cider Shop, £19 and numerous other outlets

Chapel Pleck Sparkling Perry 2009

Chapel Pleck may be a new name for what was Ribston Lawn (seen here in the pictures), but it’s the same delectable bottle-fermented perry inside. Created by emerging cider and perry maestro Simon Day at Once Upon a Tree, the good news is that this year’s harvest isn’t going to run out quite so quickly.

RRP: £10/70cl, available from Once Upon a Tree cider house & online, & other specialist & local stockists

Gwatkin Yarlington Mill Cider

Rich both in colour and flavour, this cider is bursting full of sweet, caramelised Cox apples, balanced by a sherbet tang.

Smooth and uplifting.

7.5%/500ml/£36 for a case of 12. Available from Middle Farm Cider & Perry Collection, direct from Gwatkin Cider’s online shop as well as from selected local outlets