It’s October and time to finally put to rest one of the most vexing seasonal questions of all: what is the difference between apple juice and apple cider?
Apple juice: Non-alcoholic.
Apple cider: May be non-alcoholic or alcoholic. Traditionally alcoholic in Europe the term “cider” referred to raw apple juice in the US for a long time in spite of its derivation from a Hebrew word meaning “strong drink” before the rising popularity of alcoholic cider.
Apple juice: Filtered, clear.
Apple cider: Generally unfiltered; may be clear or cloudy.
Apple juice: Pasteurized.
Apple cider: Generally also pasteurized but at a lower temperature or shorter period, giving it a shorter shelf life. Left alone will either turn into apple cider vinegar or applesauce.
Apple juice: Consumed year-round, mostly by children.
Apple cider: The alcoholic variety is consumed year-round, mostly by adults, while the non-alcoholic variety is consumed in the fall at church picnics by people who think it sounds kind of seasonal and also it’s cheaper.
Apple juice: Squeezed from the fruit using modern equipment, processed, and bottled within twenty-four hours.
Apple cider: Fruit and pulp are pressed in ancient stone building. The juice is then left to ferment for months or years while druids perform strange rituals over the barrels.
Apple juice: Usually served cold but can also be served hot and flavored with spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and star anise.
Apple juice: Made from a variety of red delicious apples specifically bred for juice.
Apple cider: Made from cursed apples that grow in orchards planted in forgotten graveyards.
Apple juice: Apples are harvested by industrial means in large quantities.
Apple cider: Apples are harvested by hand by tough withered Steinbeck characters with names like Nick, Skipjack, and Hortense.
Apple juice: Found on grocery store shelves next to the powdered drink mixes.
Apple cider: Found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store next to the beer, but may also be sold to you in the alley behind the store by a tough withered Steinbeck character with a three-day beard, an eyepatch, wearing a tattered trenchcoat, and carrying an axe. Answers to “Hortense”.
Apple juice: May be made from concentrate.
Apple cider: You know it’s thinking something.
Apple juice: Family friendly; often sold in bottles adorned with cartoon characters.
Apple cider: “We only fly the flag of the Jolly Roger,” says Hortense, glaring at you.
Apple juice: Goes great with a child’s afternoon snack of graham crackers or ginger snaps.
Apple cider: Lurks in the darkness waiting for the proper incantations that will release the demons trapped in its depths.
Apple juice: May have added sugar.
Apple cider: “I’d be more concerned with what it takes,” says Hortense, wiping something from her axe.
Apple juice: Makes adults nostalgic for carefree summer days of running barefoot through the tall grass with friends.
Apple cider: Wants you to pour it out over a blood sacrifice performed under a full moon, thus opening a portal to the netherworld where dark and mysterious creatures still reign.
Apple juice: Has a diuretic effect.
Apple cider: The only thing known to dislodge that bubblegum you swallowed in third grade.