To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Best cider 2023: Bring on the refreshing taste of warmer days

We've pulled together a list of the UK's best ciders – perfect for sunny weather

A tall glass of cider is a welcome sight on a sunny day; the cool, refreshing taste of tart apples makes it a popular beverage for pub garden drinking, a night out, or even relaxing at home. And with various regions around the UK known for their orchards and cider production, it’s fair to say we’re not short of choice. From strong scrumpy-style ciders to artisan single variety cans, and some weird and wonderful flavoured versions in-between, online supermarkets and independents have a veritable smorgasbord of cider for you to choose from.

Whether you’re a fully signed up cider lover, or a newbie, the variety on offer can prove dizzying. Should you stick to West Country ciders, or take a punt on a pint from Kent? Are you a strictly apple cider kind of person, or will a pear cider get a look in? Sparkling or still? And what about flavoured ciders? The fun is all in the trying.

READ NEXT: The best prosecco

Best cider: At a glance

How to choose the best cider for you

What style?

Think about your usual tastes when enjoying a drink – do you like sharper, more tart flavours, or do you have a sweet tooth? Are you looking for something adventurous and fruity to sip slowly, or the ultimate dry English cider with which to unwind? Are you likely to be drinking your cider on its own, or do you need to consider food pairings?

Apple varieties can give a good sense to the eventual taste of a cider, and many ciders will label themselves as ‘dry’, ‘medium sweet’ or somewhere along the spectrum. Region affects taste, too, with many West Country ciders being made in the traditional way, with cloudy or still styles remaining popular and ABV% increasing significantly. Today, cider is made all over the UK by farmers, winemakers and breweries alike, so there are plenty of options to explore.

How much should I spend?

Like most consumables – generally, the more you spend on cider the better it is likely to taste. Artisanal ciders take longer to make, tend to use higher-quality ingredients with a strong emphasis on provenance, with the elevated costs of these factors passed on to the consumer. That’s not to say all bargain-basement ciders are poor; many of the old-fashioned makers strive to maintain a low retail price and have legions of loyal fans for their products.

How we test cider

When it comes to cider testing, we conduct rigorous taste tests to ensure that every bottle and can is worth your hard earned cash. We gather a number of cider samples that are either currently or soon to arrive on the market and taste each submission for our initial thoughts. Those that make it through the first round are then subject to further testing, where we compare like for like ciders to find the best in specific categories.

We test aroma, taste, crispness, how sweet or dry the cider is and look for anything unusual that might be lurking in the flavour profile. We also consider the provenance of the ingredients and manufacturing methods, giving extra points for sustainability. Finally we take value for money into account, to ensure each cider is worth its pack or bottle price. We also ask a small group of taste testers to offer up their opinions on our favourites, ensuring we arrive at a strong, diverse list of the best ciders available for a variety of tastes.

READ NEXT: The best tonic water for cocktail-making

The best ciders you can buy in 2023

1. Sassy Cidre Rosé: The best rose cider

Price: £28 for 12 330ml bottles | Buy now from Laithwaites

We may think of cider as a rather British endeavour, but Maison Sassy has been making cider (and Calvados) from its family estate in Normandy, France, since 1852. All Sassy ciders are made using 100% juice from Normandy cider apples and are free from sugar, colourants and preservatives. The range comprises everything from a deliciously convincing 0% Organic Cider, to Maison Sassy Poiré, a sparkling perry made from pears picked from orchards near Maison Sassy. Our favourite of them all is this Sassy Cidre Rosé, made from 18 varieties of Normandy apples. A pretty salmon-pink coloured cider, it has subtle notes of strawberry – although it isn’t a flavoured cider. Pairing well with pastry, we can’t think of anything better than taking a bottle or two on a picnic.

Key Details – Bottle Size: 330ml; ABV: 3%

Buy now from Laithwaites

2. Peacock Cider: The best cider to drink with Asian food

Price: £25 for 12 500ml bottles | Buy now from Bring Me Drink

This South-East Asian inspired cider has been specially crafted to be enjoyed with Asian foods. Using a blend of culinary apples to create a balance between sweetness and tartness, it pairs well with rich foods and chilli. Bittersweet apples have been included in the mix too, to complement meat-based dishes, allowing a spectrum of spices to shine across Asian cuisine. With an ABV of 4.8% and a taste of luscious, fresh apples in each moreish mouthful, this is a crisp, clear and uncomplicated cider to enjoy with your favourite Asian meal. We tried it with a Pakistani lamb dish, but it would also be the perfect accompaniment to a Pad Thai or Katsu Curry.

Key DetailsBottle Size: 500ml; ABV: 4%

Buy now from Bring Me Drink

3. Brothers Toffee Apple Cider: The best Bonfire Night cider

Price: £23 for 12 500ml bottles | Buy now from Drinks Supermarket

Cider is synonymous with Bonfire Night, so this Toffee Apple cider from Brothers is a match made in heaven. The four brothers currently running the show come from 14 generations of cider makers, who have been making light, refreshing cider for local pubs from their base in Somerset since 1658. After first selling Brothers Pear Cider down the road at Glastonbury in 1995, festival-goers loved it so much that Brothers found themselves retailing to supermarkets. Today, the emphasis is on finding flavours – the more curious, the better. From Marshmallow to Rhubarb & Custard and Pink Grapefruit, there’s sure to be a weird and wonderful flavour to tickle your fancy. This Toffee Apple variety is the most popular; fresh Somerset apples are blended with cream soda and toffee for a deep caramelised flavour and frothy creaminess. Be warned, you’ll need one hell of a sweet tooth.

Key DetailsBottle Size: 500ml; ABV: 4%

Buy now from Drinks Supermarket

4. Cranes Raspberries & Pomegranate Cider: The best lower calorie cider

Price: £21 for 9 500ml bottles | Buy now from Cranes Drinks

The influx of flavoured ciders on the shop shelves demonstrates how popular they’ve become, but there is one problem: often the added sweetness means their calorie count can be quite high. If you care about such things – or even if you don’t – consider the fabulous flavour range from Cranes Cider, blended in Cambridgeshire by the company’s twin brother owners. Choose from Lemons & Kumquats, Blueberries & Apple or Cranberries & Limes to enjoy the same natural fruitiness of cider but with 30% fewer calories and 40% less sugar. We plumped for the sun-drenched flavour of Raspberries & Pomegranate, which tastes juicy, fresh and light. A good one for day drinking, and it’s vegan, too.

Key DetailsBottle Size: 500ml; ABV: 4%

Buy now from Cranes Drinks

5. Biddenden Sparkling Cider 2018: The best vintage cider

Price: £14 for 750ml | Buy now from Biddenden Vineyards

The family owned Biddenden estate in Kent was originally a 40-acre apple orchard, before the family pivoted to winemaking in the 1960’s. Biddenden’s wines have gone from strength to strength, but the estate’s cider production is also noteworthy. Made using the traditional method of fermentation as used for Champagne and Biddenden’s sparkling wine, its range of vintage ciders are always a treat. This 2018 vintage is a dry, fruity and sophisticated cider made using a blend of Kentish Cox and Bramley apples that give a delightful sweetness and freshness. This is a cider with which to toast an event, or enjoy as an early evening aperitif. Also available in a smart presentation box, why not give it as a gift to the cider-lover in your life?

Key DetailsBottle Size: 750ml; ABV: 10%

Buy now from Biddenden Vineyards

6. Adnams Wild Wave Cider: The best medium-dry cider

Price: £20 for 12 330ml cans | Buy now from Adnams

Beer has been brewed on the Adnams site in Southwold, Suffolk, since 1345, so it’s no surprise that this is what most people know the company for. But today, Adnams brews beer alongside its range of copper pot distilled spirits and it has even dipped its toe into wine and prosecco production. Cider then, is not so much of a reach. The Suffolk coast provided the inspiration for a high-juice, full-bodied and refreshing cider, with Wild Wave the result. Made from English bittersweet and dessert apples, then fermented with champagne and yeasts for depth of flavour and a persistent sparkle, this is a cider to drink on the beach. We love that it’s available in a 0% variety, too.

Key DetailsCan Size: 330ml; ABV: 5%

Buy now from Adnams

7. Weston’s Old Rosie: The best traditional cider

Price: £5 for 2L | Buy now from Ocado

You’re probably familiar with Old Rosie. It’s the original cloudy cider from Weston’s cider mill in the famed cider-making region of Herefordshire. It’s old-fashioned, it’s unfiltered, it’s cloudy and, at 6.8%, significantly stronger than all the other ciders on this list (and that’s after Weston’s reduced the ABV a few years ago. Nevertheless, for many cider lovers it holds a special place in their hearts. Weston’s has been making cider since 1880, pressing, blending and fermenting fruit from its orchards into ciders and perries. Today, the same mill and the same vast oak vats are used to deliver a huge variety of ciders; but Old Rosie (named after the company’s 1921 steam roller) is one of the best-known and loved. The taste is refreshingly sharp, almost scrumpy in style as a result of slow maturation, but with a lightness and dryness that makes it very drinkable. A reliable classic.

Key DetailsBottle Size: 2 Litres; ABV: 6.8%

Buy now from Ocado

8. Umbrella London Blackcurrant Cider: The best cider and black

Price: £20 for 8 330ml cans | Buy now from The Umbrella Project

As bar owners of East London cocktail destinations The Sun Tavern and The Discount Suit Company, Umbrella London’s owners know a thing or two about drinks. So it’s of little surprise that their contemporary range of natural ciders are utterly delicious. Available in a range of indigenous British hedgerow flavours, and with a really lip-smackingly delicious straight-up apple variety, too, we’ve fallen for its Blackcurrant Cider. This majestic purple can contains a crisp and refreshing take on the old cider and black, with British dessert apples and freshly crushed Essex blackcurrants mingling for a lightly sparkling, sweetly sour taste at a very sessionable 4%. Perfect for taking to the park with your mates.

Key DetailsCan Size: 330ml; ABV: 4%

Buy now from The Umbrella Project

Read more

Best Buys