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Pouring Sidra Style – Spanish Cider

Throwing The Sidra

One of the things that draws me to culinary culture is the unique foods and customs that truly define local cuisine.  Po boys in New Orleans, blue crab picking in Maryland,  mussels and frites in Brussels and chile roasted corn in Oaxaca.

Craft cider has been stealing not only my attention recently, but also Spain’s, primarily the Asturian area. Not only is the cider (Sidra) unique but so is the way it is poured.

Sidra is naturally fermented apple juice that tends to be acidic, musty and complex. Sidra is still, no carbonation and typically ordered in a Spanish  bar called “Chigre” or  “Sidreria.”

Instead of pouring from a tap or pouring directly into a glass, The Asturian have a unique, impressive way of serving Sidra.

The waiter holds the green glass bottle head high and pours a few centimeters of Sidra into a half pint size glass which is held near the hip. This is referred to as “throwing the Sidra.”   The Sidra is immediately tossed back and the next table guest gets the glass and the process starts over.

Why all the theatrics?  Well, besides looking pretty cool,  pouring in this manner serves a purpose.  The reason for pouring from such extreme distance is to develop air bubbles thus temporarily carbonating the cider. This is why drinkers consume the Sidra so quickly.  The spritzy stuff lasts for just a second.  The dregs are either consumed or poured out and the pour goes around the table.

Have you been to Spain and have you experienced traditional Sidra?  Let me know.

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17 comments on “Pouring Sidra Style – Spanish Cider

  1. I love all Spanish food and beverage. I spent a month in Spain, but I never made it to Asturia. For awhile, I have been meaning to get some sidra from one of my regular La Tienda mail orders, but I keep forgetting. Maybe it’s time. I will be sure to pour near the sink.

  2. Why do you always make me leave your website with the feeling of putting something edible in my mouth?

    I heard that fermenting is one of the best ways of preserving, so this ought to be good. Did you get the recipe and steps on how to make it?

  3. Part of the pour may be to get the bubbles flowing, but this is also part of Spanish culture. Hemingway wrote of fishing and camping trips taken in the Spanish countryside, he commented on the inordinate level of pride his guides and other locals always took in holding a wineskin the furthest possible distance from their mouth, squirting the longest possible time, and finishing off without spilling a drop. Something in the Spanish character just appreciates bravura in any form, whether it’s standing in the ring with a bull or drinking in a way that risks spilling everything and making a complete fool of yourself in the process.

  4. Hi Patrick: In the several trips I’ve made to Spain, I don’t believe I’ve tried the Sidra as I’m always heading for the delicious red wines the Spanish make.

    But I have indeed enjoyed ciders in various other places and found them to be quite refreshing the summertime. :-)

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