Summer and Cider Make a Perfect Pairing

It’s that happy time of year again, when we can fire up the barbecue, visit outdoor cafés or head to the cottage. With warmer temperatures and casual cuisine, ice-cold beer or cider really hits the spot.

Today’s column looks at cider, which is one of the oldest alcoholic drinks in history. It arrived in North America before wine and beer, and sometimes was made to be drunk in place of water when clean drinking water was not available. Cider vs. beer – what’s the difference? Cider is gluten-free, because it is fruit-based and made without grain. This makes it a popular option for those with a gluten-free diet or a refreshing option for anybody looking for a low-alcohol drink. Cider is enjoyed with many of the same foods as beer, such as savoury charcuterie or pizza. It also pairs well with chicken and pork dishes.

I recently sampled several products from Pommies Beverage Co. and made some delightful discoveries. Pommies was founded by Lindsay and Nick Sutcliffe in 2010, in Caledon, Ontario, with a commitment to craft exceptional beverages using only natural ingredients and Ontario apples. They believe that the quality of the fruit is the key to crafting great cider and they work closely with their partner farmers. All Pommies beverages are gluten free, GMO free, vegan and contain no artificial flavours or colours.

Pommies Dry Farmhouse Cider

For those who like their cider dry, like me. A crisp, medium-bodied cider with flavours of tart apple, pear, citrus, subtle baking spice and earthy notes. Refreshing to sip with your favourite barbeque fare.

Dry • 6% • LCBO# 418582 • 473 ml can •  $3.70

Pommies Mimosa Cider

This cider is made with orange juice added. Fun for brunch! Serve over ice with a slice of orange for a refreshing aperitif. The citrus notes also make it a good pairing with fish tacos or grilled salmon.

Semi-dry 5.5% LCBO# 15153 473 ml can $3.80

Pommies Wine & Soda

I was very impressed with this new Wine & Soda from Pommies. It tastes so fresh and summery! It’s made with Ontario Vidal wine, real raspberry juice and carbonated water. No sugar is added, so the lovely raspberry flavours are genuine, just as if they’re fresh-picked. Perfect for picnics, sailing, barbecues and trips to the cottage. I highly recommend this delightful new product and will definitely buy it again!

4% LCBO# 37546 •  355 ml can $3.80


The CiderHouse at Saunders Farm, close to Ottawa in Munster, is a fun venue for live music, weddings, corporate retreats and other events. The patio is an ideal spot for visitors to enjoy fresh local cider made on-site, along with farm-fresh snacks and wood-fired pizza. Weekends in the summer and early fall offer live music. There’s even homemade pie and fudge available in the store for Saunders Cider products. Did somebody say homemade pie?

Saunders Ciders are available at Clocktower Brew Pub, Petit Bill’s Bistro, Elmdale Tavern and many spots around Ottawa. You can also order them online, and Saunders will deliver for free in Ottawa for orders over $50.

Saunders Flying Canoe Hard Cider

A crisp hard cider, handcrafted in small batches locally. Love the fresh flavours of Ontario apples and subtle hints of baking spices. Perfect for sipping with charcuterie or pub fare.

5% LCBO# 499020 473 ml can $4.05

Saunders Rosy Cheeks Hard Cider

If you’re looking to try something new in the cider world, give this a sip. Rosy Cheeks is the newest of the Saunders Ciders. It has a slight blush colour and gives delicious strawberry and rhubarb aromas and flavours. This would be great with either savoury charcuterie or hard cheeses.

6.5% • 473 ml can •$6.00 – store pick-up at Saunders Farm or order online at


Fun factIt takes 5 pounds of apples to make 1 pint of cider.

Happy Sipping!

For more wine and food discovery from Jane Staples, visit