The best cider taste tested
Cider expert Gabe Cook brings us his best ciders to drink, from low-alcohol options to traditional and new wave products.
Cider is ready to undergo the same level of fervour and interest afforded to the likes of craft beer and gin over the last decade. New releases have come amid excitable anticipation, online tasting events have sold out, international ciders are being imported and the opportunity for cider to be regarded as a great match with food is being properly understood.
This is what modern cider looks like. Modern doesn’t mean that it eschews any elements of traditional cider making practices – far from it – it’s simply about ciders presenting themselves to consumers in a fashion and with a tone of voice that appeals to these discerning drinkers.
It is little known that cider is made similarly to how a wine is made – a fruit fermentation. And much like wine, the choice of varietal is key. For cider, this means that ciders may be zingy, fresh and crisp; bold, tannic and earthy or light, fruity and elegant.
Ciders may be still, carbonated or naturally sparkling (like champagne). It could be that the cider has gone through a specific process, like keeving (to retain a natural sweetness) or barrel-ageing. It could be that the cider has been co-fermented or blended with a fruit (such as quince or rhubarb) or herb (like hops) to add another flavour dimension.
These ciders are perfect for drinking and enjoying just as they are, but if you can spare a bottle or two it's also great to cook with. Discover our 11 ways to cook with cider for recipe inspiration - from a slow-cooked pork and cider hotpot to sticky cider onion hot dogs.
Read on to find my pick of some of the best ciders to drink right now. For more like this, visit our reviews section and discover drinks round-ups including the best gluten-free beer and best non-alcoholic drinks.
The best cider to buy at a glance
- Best low alcohol cider: Sheppy's low alcohol cider, £28.50 (12 x 500ml)
- Best sparkling wine alternative: Gospel Green cider, £12.48 (750ml)
- Best American cider: Eve's Cider Darling Creek, £22 (750ml)
- Best perry: Severn Cider sparkling perry, £17.99 (6 x 330ml)
- Best ice cider: Broadway Press ice cider, £17.95 (6 x 500ml)
- Best full-bodied cider: Jaspel’s Woodland cider, £38 (12 x 500ml)
The best cider to buy 2023
Sheppy’s low alcohol cider, Somerset
- Available from Sheppy's (£21.45 for 12 x 500ml bottles), Tesco (£1.30 for 500ml bottle), Amazon (£28.50 for 12 x 500ml bottles)
Best low-alcohol cider
This product from Sheppy's perfectly demonstrates how cider makers are responding to the demand for low/no alcohol drinks. Containing all of the boldness, freshness and character of a classic Somerset cider, it contains only a fraction of the alcohol.
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Gospel Green, Hampshire
- Available from Amazon (£12.48, 750ml bottle)
Best sparkling wine alternative
Cider can be made in the identical way to champagne and taste every inch as good. This cider from Gospel Green is pale gold with the finest of bubbles, making it a fabulous substitute for sparkling wine. Expect citrus, stone fruits and brioche flavour notes.
Amazon (£12.48, 750ml bottle)
Eve’s Darling Creek, New York, USA
- Available from Beer Zoo (£22, 750ml)
Best American cider
Far from being a UK-only phenomenon, you can find world class ciders all around the globe, and many are available to purchase in the UK. From one of the USA’s best cider makers comes this naturally sparkling cider, blending classic English and French cider apples with some USA heirloom varieties, creating a moreishly bold and zingy drink.
Beer Zoo (£22, 750ml)
Severn Cider perry, Gloucestershire
Cider’s cousin, perry (made from pears) is really rather exquisite, too! Made in the heart of classic perry region, Severn Cider's version uses traditional perry pear varieties, such as the hyper local Blakeney Red. Expect elderflower and jasmine notes from this one.
Broadway Press Original Ice Cyder, Worcestershire
- Available from Broadway Press (£17.95, 6 x 500ml)
Best ice cyder
This contemporary product from Broadway Press shows that new cider making techniques are being created all the time. Using a unique cryo-extraction process, this cider exudes a full, intense eating apple juiciness from local orchards.
Broadway Press (£17.95, 6 x 500ml)
Jaspel’s Woodland cider, Anglesey
- Available from Jaspels (£38, 12 x 500ml)
Best full-bodied cider
This is a wild-fermented, medium cider, made from the late harvested Anglesey Cox, Russets and tannic cider apple varieties. It's full-bodied with lingering vanilla and woody notes, proving great cider can be made in unexpected places.
Jaspels (£38, 12 x 500ml)
More on cider
This review was last updated in January 2023. If you have any questions or suggestions for future reviews, or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org. For information on alcohol guidelines, read our guide to drinking responsibly.
What cider do you love drinking? Share your recommendations with us in the comments below…