Jeanette Hurt swears 2019 is the “year of cider.” Being an author of numerous culinary and beverage books, Hurt’s prediction is backed in research and experience. With titles like “Drink like a Woman” and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Wine and Food Pairing,” Hurt has spent more than 17 years writing about the finer things in life. Her new book, “The Joy Cider: All You Ever Wanted to Know About Drinking and Making Hard Cider,” is a testament to her love of the beverage.
A must-read for any cider lover longing to drink more than the typical sweet cider, Hurt details food and cider pairings as well as creative cider cocktail creations, world cider history, an exploration of cider regions and an easy cidermaking recipe. Describing how she first fell in love with cider, in addition to her reasoning for writing her book, Jeanette Hurt chatted with us about all things cider.
What got you into cider?
I first tasted cider, or rather, sidra, when I was a college student living in Madrid. My roommate Beth told me I had to taste this amazing beverage, and she took me to a cider bar. That was my first introduction to cider, and I fell in love with it.
Although I enjoyed cider from time to time, I really got interested in it as a cocktail ingredient while researching my second beverage book, “Drink Like a Woman,” and I used cider as an ingredient in a few cocktails. The more I got interested in cider, the more I wanted to learn all about it, including making it and finding more uses for it in cocktails.
You start the book off by stating that 2019 is the time for cider. Why do you think this is and why has it taken so long for cider to breakthrough?
I think that there is a learning curve, and I think many people need to really taste a lot of different ciders to find the styles and makers that they enjoy. A lot of people have tried cider once, and they think they don’t like it because they’ve only tried one style, usually a very sweet style, made from apple juice concentrate from a big brand. If you like beer or wine or cocktails, I know there is a cider out there for you. I think modern cidermakers are educating people about their wonderful products, and the more people are educated, the more they will want to try cider. I think if you finally try a cider that appeals to your palate, you’ll fall in love with it, too.
Also I think that now there is such a large quantity of cidermakers — in just about every state — that finally, there are enough ciders that are sharing shelf space with wines and beers, and the more people get exposed to cider, the more they’re willing to try it. The more people who try it, the more people who will enjoy it and become cider drinkers.
What made you want to write this book?
After writing “Drink Like a Woman,” I continued writing about cider, cidermaking and cider as a cocktail ingredient, and the more I wrote about it, the more it seemed to me there could be a book about it. Anytime I want to learn more about a subject, I usually try to write a book about it, and happily, I was able to write a book about cider. I love going down the rabbit holes of things that intrigue me and cider definitely made me want to learn more about it.
What do you hope that people take away from reading “The Joy of Cider?”
I hope my book shows people that cider is fun, cider is approachable and anyone can make cider at home or at least use it in cocktails. I’m particularly proud of the cidermaking recipe, as it is written for folks who don’t have experience fermenting beverages at home. I’m also really thrilled with the cocktail recipes — my book really showcases what a wonderful and diverse ingredient cider is for cocktails. I also hope that people realize that cider is perhaps the most food-friendly beverage out there, and I think everyone should have a few bottles or cans of it on their Thanksgiving table.