Pear cider, or perry as it may be known in the UK, is a fermented cider made from pear juice. Though not as popular as hard apple cider, it is enjoyed by many, and has a slight fizz from the fermentation process. It is made by pressing whole pears into juice and allowing these to ferment by allowing the bottled or barreled juice to sit at certain temperatures.
Some companies also add a slight amount of sugar to the cider to create extra bubbles, and the cider may be strained to produce a white wine consistency that resembles champagne. Other companies favor creating a juice that is deep brown and unstrained, and there are a number of people who make and bottle their own pear cider too. A lot of small local companies make artisan pear cider to sell at local markets.
If you drink perry, you’ll obviously note a distinct pear flavor, but the degree to which the cider is sweet really depends upon each producer. Commercially produced cider may be in general sweeter, but other forms of perry have a slightly sharp taste that many find desirable. Alcohol content for eight ounces (.24 liters) tends not to be as strong as wine; it’s roughly 6-8% alcohol in content. This can vary though, and often homemade or artisan made perries may contain a higher percentage of alcohol.
As with apple cider, pear cider has a long history, and it’s unclear when it was first made. There are several historical notes on the drink. For instance, Napoleon is said to have adored perry above all other drinks, and you’ll find both English and French versions of perry, as well as similar drinks made in a variety of European countries.
In the US, the tendency in making either pear or apple cider is to make non-alcoholic versions, though you can find true perry too. You will find several companies that produce delicious non-alcoholic cider, suitable for every day consumption for both adults and children. A number of people who don’t drink enjoy sparkling apple cider, and in the last few decades, some juice companies have begun to produce sparkling cider too. This is a delightful change for toasting purposes and can add elegance to any meal.
You can find both hard and “soft” versions of pear cider at specialty grocery stores like Trader Joes and at food import companies like Ikea. There are plenty of different taste combinations to try. Adventurous cider makers have combined pear with berry flavors, apricot, and apple, providing a number of different taste options for lovers of this drink.