Modern-day artisans are still making cider . . . "hard core" cider, you might call it. Faith Salie can tell us all about that:
In New York's Hudson Valley, Andy Brennan is making cider one apple at a time.
Brennan and his wife, Polly, own Aaron Burr Cidery, a mom-and-pop operation that has the finest restaurants in Manhattan, 90 miles south, lining up for bottles of the hard stuff.
Using apples he's grown, bought or foraged from abandoned trees, Brennan's process is remarkably simple: grind the apples, then squeeze out the juice.
He uses every bit of the apple.
The juice is stored for six months to one year to ferment and turn into what Americans call "hard cider." The sweeter the apple, the higher the alcohol level.
"That'll ferment out somewhere around seven-and-a-half percent," said Brennan . . . about the same as a strong beer.
Brennan's way of making cider is an ode to the past. "Our founding forefathers -- Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, George Washington -- they were accomplished orchardists," said cider expert David Flaherty, marketing director at the Washington State Wine Commission. "They were pressing their own apples, fermenting their own cider."
The presidents carried on a cider-making tradition that started centuries earlier in Europe. With apples aplenty, cider was more readily available than clean drinking water.
But by the 1920s, nearly all of the cider apples were gone.