This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The pure, unsophisticated juice of the apple, fermented and matured to a certain degree. Where the highest quality is desired, as for champagne cider, the fruit is crushed between granite rollers to avoid contact with metal at any stage, and the juice extracted in a wooden press. The cider is, of course, not fit for immediate consumption, but requires a period varying from a few months to even a year or two to mature. The difference as to appearance and flavor between the crude apple-juice in the first stages of its fermentation and the thoroughly ripened liquor, is almost marvellous. Taken from the wood, the well-matured cider, which has been stored for a period of two years or more, loses every trace of rawness and develops a full fine dry flavor, not unlike some of the best Continental light wines. To judge of a good sample of cider, it should have the bright and clear appearance of a first-class sauterne, and show no tendency, with climatic changes, to become cloudy or viscous. It approaches wine in many respects, and indeed bears favorable comparison with any cheap champagne at one-fourth its price.
Good cider is the proper substitute for wine in all cases where that article is called for in culinary operations; good cider, indeed, is far better for cooking fish, soups, game, hams, and sauces, than the heavily adulterated wines which now flood the market.
Is manufactured in enormous quantities for the purpose of a cheap drink to retail; the least objectionable of it is made from dried apples. It costs the retailers less than 1 cent a glass. (See Burr-Oak).