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We joined cider makers from Aaron Burr, Eden, and Proper Cider at ciderWICK where they shared their philosophies on cider making with us. These artisans are looking at apples in an exciting new light. The outcome of which has been top-quality ciders that are set to reinvigorate cider’s historical place in the American palette.

By Laura del Campo


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What's more American than apple pie? Answer: apple cider! On this week's episode of A Taste of the Past, Linda Pelaccio is talking with "apple evangelist" and author of Cider, Hard and Sweet, Ben Watson. Where did the tradition of American cider originate? Hear about how grafting has caused the amount of apple varieties to diminish, and learn about the role of the Industrial Revolution in cider's popularity. Find out how cider stacks up against beer and wine in terms of alcohol content, and learn what varieties of apples make the best cider. Also, learn what differentiates hard cider from apple jack. Also, Sara Grady calls in from Glynwood to talk about their new initiative, The Apple Project. Learn about the importance of hard cider and apple spirits to the regional economy! This program has been brought to you by Cain Vineyard & Winery.

"Almost any apple makes decent cider because when you press it, you get different qualities. Is it sour? It's going to have bitterness and astringency to it that adds body- just like wine."

"Apples provided another way to create a beverage that was plentiful and easy to produce."

-- Ben Watson on A Taste of the Past


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This week on A Taste of the Past, Andrew F. Smith once again joins Linda Pelaccio in the studio! Andy teaches food history at the New School in New York City, and is the author and editor of numerous books on culinary history. On this episode, Andy talks about his newest book called Drinking History: Fifteen Turning Points in the Making of American Beverages. Hear about water quality during the Colonial period, and how it led to the proliferation of alcoholic beverages. Why did beer not succeed initially in the New World? Learn about the gendered considerations of specific drinks, like tea and alcohol. Listen in to find out some surprising facts about Prohibition, and how the movement directly related to the outcome of World War I. This program has been sponsored by 360 Cookware.

"Food is even more important than food. You can go for weeks without food, but you need to take in water every couple of days." [5:40]

"People think that we drink a lot of alcohol now, but we don't drink as much as if it were earlier times." [10:30]

"New Yorkers never believe Prohibition was for them. The upper classes drank from the beginning to the end." [29:40]

-- Andrew F. Smith on A Taste of the Past


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