You may not know this but despite its French name, Champagne was allegedly invented by English cidermakers in the West Country. The “méthode champenoise” involves bottling the cider or wine for its second fermentation, producing the bubbly effect that has become so well known to purveyors of sparkling wine and now cider. So raise a glass of one of these Champagne-method, European ciders as you welcome the New Year in.
Vintage | Ashridge Cider
From the Southwest of England, Devon’s Ashridge Cider is known for its exceptional sparkling cider and as “Devon’s apple-y answer to Champagne.” Just as the English creators of Champagne did, the cidermakers from Ashridge use the traditional method for two sparkling cider offerings. Try the Devon Blush or stick with this classic, organic Vintage.
Stoke Red Bottle Fermented Sparkling Cider | Burrow Hill Cider
The tiny bubbles in Champagne that are produced when using the traditional method can be found in this sparkling cider from the hailed producer in Somerset. This very dry cider — deemed by BBC’s Food & Drink critic Jilly Goolden as being one of England’s best wines — is singularly focused on the West Country bittersharp variety of Stoke Red.
Posh Scrumpy | Oliver’s Cider and Perry
Made in honor of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee (hence the “posh” name), this sparkling cider from one of the UK’s best-known and most-respected American imports is somewhat sweet with a bittersweet and tangy apple taste. The cloudy look of the drink may turn some off but don’t let that deter you from trying it.
Cidre Bouché Brut | Pierre Huet
This versatile sparkling cider comes from the north of France in Calvados, a famed region both for apples, cider and its namesake brandy (made from cider apples). This cider ferments slowly over a four-month span producing a dry, bittersweet tipple to drink it by itself or with a hearty New Year’s Eve meal.
Guzman Riestra Sidra Brut Nature | Guzmán Riestra
From the Asturias region of Spain, this cidery’s first cider press was made back in 1906 and since then they’ve perfected the craft. Only recently did the cidery put out its first sparkling cider in 2012, which was a silver medalist at the 2013 Great Lakes Cider and Perry Competition. Touches of tropical fruits like pears and bananas make this sparkling cider stand out.