The best fruit cider brands around right now, from the award-winning Crafty Nectar Rhubarb cider to Tempted’s Elderflower Cider.
Us cider enthusiasts typically prefer true cider which is 100% full juice, nothing added or taken away. For us, the natural harmony of the apple notes, tannins, acidity, aromatics and balance of sweetness is what is most important. But do you know what? Sometimes, it's good to experiment. Especially when there are a plethora of incredible options out there.
All the ciders here are the finest real fruit ciders available in the market right now. The reason why we stress on real ciders is because of just how stark and noticeable the difference is between real fruit ciders and pretend alcopops.
For starters, real fruit ciders are made from 100% fruit juices that have been freshly pressed during the cider making process. This helps enhance the fruit's (and the cider's) flavours multi-fold. In fact, the difference is night and day.
Secondly, alcopops use some really odd flavourings. Not only does this make the cider taste overly sweet, but it also isn't the best for your body.
I could go on and on about just how superior 'real' fruit cider is (I mean, it isn't even a comparison TBH), but it's time to let our selection of real fruit ciders do the convincing now! Let's explore 10 of the best fruit cider brands:
1. Crafty Nectar No. 8 Rhubarb Cider:
this cider uses special rhubarb juice in just the right amount. The result? A beautiful blend of sweet and sour. And being our in-house cider, we ensure that you receive only the finest quality rhubarb ciders. And like all good ciders, this one's perfect for vegans & vegetarians, is gluten-free, and contains zero cheap additives or flavourings unlike a lot of other fruit cider brands. And if you need more reasons to try rhubarb cider, check out our in-depth guide where we walk you through the origin of this delicious nectar!
2. Crafty Nectar No. 9 Blackberry Cider Co Ferment:
Here's another one of Crafty Nectar's exclusive ciders – our no. 9 Collaboration with Simon Day of Once Upon a Tree Cider. What makes this fruit cider so special, you ask? The finest local Blackberries, Dabinett apples and finest aromatic hibiscus. Now, if you’re wondering, co-fermenting is when you ferment multiple ingredients together. In this case, blackberries and Dabinett apples. Once the cider is carefully fermented, it is steeped with hibiscus leaf to add a beautiful smoothness to the entire beverage. This adds an entirely new dimension to the drink and makes it “deeper” and a beautiful crimson red. The result is a complex mix of some wonderful flavours that aren’t overly sweet, super crisp and give the cider a wonderfully clean finish.
3. Pilton Scarlett Red:
The first time we experienced the Pilton Scarlet Red it almost felt as if we were experiencing the Maybach of real fruit ciders. Somerset grown blackcurrants squeezed and fermented on-the-flesh with an inoculation of cider yeast. When the fermentation is finished, the juice left to mature in ex-Tamoshanta barrels for six months. This sharp blackcurrant wine is then blended with naturally sweet new season keeved cider and dry-hopped for an extra layer of flavour. The skill that goes into making each and every bottle of this cider is truly marvellous
4. Pilton Pomme Pomme:
Pilton isn't like most other fruit cider brands, in that unlike others, their core competencies lie in artisanal methods like keeping. If you're curious about the process they use, it involves quality apples from traditional orchards being fermented in their special Victorian cellars for up to six months. This gives their cider a very strong and flavourful base. Their Pomme Pomme cider combines that beautiful base with what is probably the rarest pairing we've seen yet – quince. It all goes brilliantly well together. The bittersweet apples make the drink very "classic cider" with mild notes of caramel joining the party, and the heat & citrus flavour of the quince elevating the taste really well. Interestingly enough, the ABV really isn't that high so you won't have to worry about getting sloshed if you have a couple of drinks on a relaxing Sunday afternoon
5. Angioletti Rosé With Blueberries:
Most of the fruit cider brands we've spoken about in this list are English, so how about we mix things up a bit? Angioletti is an Italian brand specialising in craft Italian cider. Quality is in their DNA as they use zero artificial flavourings or concentrates. Top-notch stuff! Their sparkling Italian cider is made from. 97% apple juice and 3% blueberries. The apples are sourced from Italian dolomites and quite intense on their own. The blueberries add a much needed 'break' in this intensity by the fruity flavours. The overall feel of the sparkling cider is very wine-like thanks to the delicate fizz, aroma, and colour of the drink. That said, at 4% ABV, it doesn't pack the same punch as a wine. Enjoy it in a flute glass or with a fresh Caprese salad for the best experience. Or just drink it straight from the bottle! Whatever tickles your fancy.
6. Tempted’s Elderflower Cider:
Tempted cider is the brainchild of Davy Uprichard, a skilled vintner. Just over a decade ago, Davy decided to follow his passion of making cider, and within two years of making his first bubbly, he won his first award. It shouldn't come as a surprise that the Strawberry Cider is phenomenal, but we wanted to talk about the “underdog” of Tempted’s lineup today – the Elderflower Cider. It’s got an incredibly refreshing floral taste. Not too sweet, slightly fruity, with a wee bit of spice in it (the good kind). Overall, it’s quite light and somehow the elderflower goes really, really well with apple cider. In fact, you would find some really distinct and subtle hints of vanilla and apple pie, too. And that’s why we wanted to include the elderflower cider here instead of the strawberry one – it’s just so good!
7. Reverend Nat’s Sacrilege Sour Cherry:
The story of Reverend Nat’s Hard Cider is quite interesting. Essentially, Rev. Nat experimented with various ingredients until he found the perfect formula. Initially, his cider was super popular with friends and family, but with time, more and more people found out about it. He soon found that his basement could no longer support his operations and that is when he decided to take things to the next level. Rev. Nat now runs one of the top fruit cider brands and delivers across the Portland metro area among other places. This also makes the Sacrilege Sour Cherry the only American-origin cider on our list. As a result, availability might not be the best but fret not, you can still find a can or two at some places like Hawkes Taproom. The Sacrilege uses Granny Smith apples and Montmorency & Morello sour cherries, finished with cloves and chilli peppers. This results in a flavour which is best described as “starting out slow and making a grand finish”. That’s because while you taste the acidity and sourness of the apples and cherries first, you feel a decisive kick from the peppers right after. Perfect for someone who isn’t too big on sweet and mild ciders!
8. Dudda’s Tin Apricot Cider:
Dudda’s Tin is a name that’s been around since the better part of seventy years. Now run by the fifth generation of the family, they officially began producing cider a little over a decade ago. Their mantra is to make cider that captures the essence of classic Kentish cider making. They’re all about making the ciders as natural as possible, and even use naturally-occurring wild yeast for the fermentation process! The Apricot Cider is a clean, crisp, lightly-sparkling blend of sweet apricots and local apples. In fact, their entire family of unique fruit ciders share a similar DNA, so if apricot isn’t a flavour you aren’t particularly fond of, you could just pick one that you fancy and the experience should be similar!
9. Hunt’s Red Head Strawberry:
Hunt’s is a family-owned fruit cider brand, producing some of the best cider since around two centuries. Yes, centuries! Richard Hunt, an eighth-generation member of the family, is the man behind the Red Hed Strawberry. While fruit ciders are a relatively newer drink, the family has captured the classic cider essence. The apples, for instance, are harvested from a two-hundred-year-old orchard. And it uses real strawberry juice, none of the artificial flavourings here, no thank you. This results in a very unique flavour, very different from the other “strawberry flavours” that one might be used to. It’s light and refreshing, yet not overly sweet or “sticky” as is the case with most strawberry drinks. At 3.8% ABV, it doesn’t really pack a punch, but that isn’t the point. If you’re looking for a drink that’ll get you tipsier, there are several other ciders on this list with higher alcohol content. The Red Head Strawberry is for those occasions where you want to sip on a light drink, or perhaps just unwind one night after a long day. And it does that perfectly.
10. Ty Gwyn 'Black and Browns' Artisan Blackcurrant Cider:
Many of the fruit ciders that have made it to this list are quite different from the kind of flavour profile your typical cider lover would be used to (or prefer). Since we strongly believe that real fruit ciders are for everyone, we decided to include a genuine artisan fruit cider, the Black and Brows. Unlike some drinks we’ve mentioned here, this one isn’t overly sweet nor is the fruity flavour too overpowering. Our resident cider experts described it as being “just spot on”.
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As is the case with most things, almost all fruit cider brands are special in their own way. So there’s no “one winner” here or no question of the “best of the lot”. We always recommend you to understand the flavour profiles you prefer the most and go with a cider that compliments those. For example, if you prefer sweeter ciders, Dudda Tin’s Apricot is best suited for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a bittersweet cider, perhaps you’d best enjoy Once Upon A Tree’s blackberry co-ferment or the Black and Browns Artisan Blackcurrant Cider by Ty Gwyn.
Or maybe you are a plain old classic cider guy, and none of these fruit cider brands will appeal to you as much as a traditional cider. That’s fine, too! It’s all about knowing your preferences! But in the process, don’t forget to experiment once in a while. You might just discover your new favourite!