Small secrets of a big brew
Did you know that the ritual of drinking cider, a democratic brew in form, content and price, is of Astur-Celtic origin? This is a small secret that you should keep in mind before initiating the cider ritual.
Other secrets to conjure up a good gathering to drink cider would lie in the purpose itself of the event: to make merry and to make good company. This is true of any kind of gathering where good company and a touch of heartfelt merriness are required. So let’s look for a favourable setting in which cider is served well.
Temperature: between 11 and 13 degrees. No ice or fridge! It is fundamental for it to be served by a professional. Pouring the cider well ensures its properties and potency. The amount served in each culín (from the Spanish word for the 'bottom' or culo of the glass, the plural of which is culinos not culines), is precisely the measure of the pouring.
You have to drink the serving of cider in one go (though not in one gulp!), leaving a pelín (drop) to throw away and clean the glass. It’s best not to use automatic pourers, bellows or emulsifying stoppers. No matter how much fun they may seem, they only spoil the cider.
In Gijón/Xixón, cider sparkles like the waves of its sea and restalla (crackles) on the palate making you smack your lips with pleasure, grateful to be alive, to share your merriness with others. If you have the chance, don’t miss out on an espicha, a party held in a llagar (cider house), which takes its name from the utensil used to try the cider directly from the vat.
If you feel like singing, don’t be shy! That’s the proof of the cider. You’re on the right track! And so, in any cider tavern, merendero (picnic restaurant) or llagar in Xixón we get a waft of fish or seafood that... well, we’ll talk about that in the next issue. For now, off you go to have a drink of cider… Bon Provechu (Enjoy)!