Some British expats may crave a creamier form of chocolate, others may desire Heinz baked beans on toast, but my main miss (well, apart from affordable dental care) is a certain fermented apple drink.
Yes, English cider is tasty, refreshing and surprisingly cheap. It was my chosen beverage back in my Bohemian days (many fond memories of slurping Old English with various punk and anarchist types), but it is far less common in the USA, which comes as a surprise, as it must have been brewed by some of the early settlers and pioneers? Another casualty of Prohibition perhaps?
To be fair, there are American ciders out there, commonly sold in small bottles, rather than the large one or two litre ones you get in the UK – but it is often a bit on the sweet side for me (no sharp taste) and more mid-priced than cheap, as well as being weaker in regard to alcohol content.
It is also the case that many Irish bars here in Florida do sell cider from “across the pond” on draft, according to my experience, although it is usually the modern Irish brew, Magners, which dominates. I have come across Strongbow on draft a couple of times, however, which is always a pleasant surprise.
The truth is that I like the very dry, and strong taste that is associated with the traditional English ciders, rather than anything sweet and weaker. In fact, I am not averse to seeking out some scrumpy or a pint of “rough” when down in the English West Country – the cloudiness of the cider certainly isn’t an issue for me.
Which is why I was thrilled to bits to find my recently revamped local liquor store now selling cans of Blackthorn cider at a pretty reasonable price (I like the way that the Americans label it: “Hard Cider” by the way, it makes me feel a little more manly for drinking it!).
But seriously, I am so happy, I am tempted to go into a few verses and choruses of the Wurzels’ classic, I am a Cider Drinker. But I won’t. Oh, all right then: “When the Moon shines on the cowshed…”