Cider is a beverage prepared from pressed apples, with alcohol contents ranging from 0% to 12%. In Europe, cider has been known since the times of Ancient Rome and Greece, and it is enjoyed year-round in many countries, from Portugal, to Germany; the top consumers are currently The United Kingdom and Spain. Hence, it is not surprising that the beverage is also popular in some of their former colonies, such as South Africa, Australia, Canada, The United States, Latin America, and The Philippines. In Mexico, hard apple cider – sidra in Spanish – has traditionally been the bubbly of choice for the New Year’s toast, although nowadays, many families go for champagne or other sparkling wines. I asked some of my friends and relatives in Mexico which one they prefer, and it was close to a 50-50 response, plus one said “neither”. Some of the reasons to choose sidra are tradition, affordability, and an alcohol content typically around 5% for Mexican sidras (versus 12% for champagne), low enough that everyone may be allowed a little sip, even children (Oops, not that I would have known growing up in Mexico! LOL ).
In Central Mexico, Zacatlán, one of Mexico’s “Magic Towns” in the Mexican state of Puebla, is famous for its sidra, and “everything apple”; the local annual “Feria de la manzana” – “Apple Fair” went virtual this past August, due to the pandemic, but last November, the city hosted its “14° Feria de la Sidra” – “14th Cider Fair”, as always in the outdoor venue of its zócalo (main square), this year following social distancing and other health and safety protocols. The city is surrounded by orchards with over one million fruit trees, around two thirds being apple trees; about 10,000 tons of apples are processed to make cider each year, sold mostly in December, in time for the holidays. The cider is bottled and wrapped with foil like other sparkling beverages, prepared purely with apples (photo below, left), or flavoured with other fruits and aromatics (photo below, right):
In Canada, champagne and other sparkling wines are the norm for the New Year’s toast, but cider is popular and may be found as: unfiltered freshly pressed sweet apple cider (photo below, left), non-alcoholic sparkling juice (photo below, centre), or hard apple cider, bottled or in cans (photo below, right):
As I mentioned almost exactly a year ago, technically the 2010s decade will actually end on December 31, 2020; it is the same counting issue that was debated at the end of 1999, when the great majority of people celebrated the beginning of a new Century and Millennium, a whole year earlier than the actual event (January 1st, 2001), since there is no Year Zero in the timeline of the BC (Before Christ) and AD (Anno Domini) system. This system was invented in the year AD 525 by Dionysius Exiguus, a monk during the time of the Roman Empire. The Roman numeral system, which was still in use then, has no concept of zero. Thus, the day after December 31, 1 BC was January 1st, 1 AD. Although within a popular context, the beginning of a new decade, century or millennium are associated with years ending in zeros (2020, 2000, etc.), and many celebrated it as so last year, this seems like a good opportunity to write-off this ridiculously crazy, almost surreal, year of 2020, which has left us asking What Next??! I say, let’s have a second-chance toast of hope for a brighter, healthier, more peaceful decade, starting in 2021!
When my daughters were little, we used to have non-alcoholic sparkling apple juice for our New Year’s toast; once they started going out with friends a few years ago, it has been usually just my husband and me celebrating at home, having a sip of sparkling wine/champagne to go with the traditional choice in Canada. This year will not feel too different, then, in spite of the girls being both abroad, or the pandemic lockdown restrictions, although we might break from (Canadian) tradition and go for some cider, or even one of my husband’s own version of the “Ol’ Blue Eyes” cocktail:
What is the most traditional or popular New Year’s Eve drink in your country, or for your family? What will you choose this year?
¡Feliz Año Nuevo 2021! Happy New Year 2021!
I am sharing this post at Thursday Favourite Things #470, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.