Spain may be known for its fantastic wine but little known is the equally fantastic Spanish cider or “Sidra” produced in northern Spain. Cider, which is fermented from apples, was widely drank by American colonists and production dates back to the ancient Byzantine and Egyptian empires. Cider in Spain was made mainly for personal consumption until 1629 when apple trees from America were brought to Spain. Production of cider increased until the Spanish Civil War when Franco prohibited the production and consumption of this delicious beverage. Post-Franco production got back on track and today you can enjoy cider poured directly from large chestnut barrels known as “kupelas” between January and April, which is when they bottle the cider. During the summer, cider is drank widely at Spanish cider bars called “Sideria”. The Asturia, Galicia, and Basques regions are ideal for apple growing where the summers are mild and wet, with a mild winter.
The process of drinking “sidra” is almost as cool as the product itself. So look for the “Sideria” sign, grab a seat, and order a “sidra”. Cider is typically served by the bottle as it oxidizes much faster than wine. It should be served cool but not ice cold. A small amount of cider should be poured into a narrow glass from at least 3 feet in the air. This pouring technique, known as “throwing” the cider, aerates the cider and exemplifies the natural carbonation and aromatics. Many ciders are unfiltered and contain dregs which can be consumed or dumped on the floor, depending on your preference. Some “Siderias” have special pouring stations were your bottle of cider is kept while you imbibe or it is left on your table in a bucket. A simple and subtle nod towards an empty glass expresses your desire for a refill.
Look forward to this unique and authentic offering appearing at Bocado in the coming months. Drink up and enjoy!