Confused about the use of the term «cider»

In the French language universe we use the terms «jus de pommes» for «apple juice» (a beverage always without alcohol) and the term «cidre » (cider in English) for an alcoholic beverage made of apple juice that has been fermented. In French there is simply no confusion… Apple juice is. NEVER. Cider and cider is never apple juice…

Am I wrong to believe that sometimes English-speaking persons use the term cider as a synonym for apple juice? Some discussion here and elsewhere lead me to believe so but maybe I am mistakenly linking cider to apple juice??? I need enlightenment! Thanks. marc

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Yes, some English speakers do say cider to refer to non-alcoholic apple juice. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen filtered apple juice referred to as cider but I have seen unfiltered apple juice referred to as cider.


We have apple juice (the clear sweet highly processed version of “apple juice”), apple cider (the brown cloudy un-filtered non-alcoholic version of “apple juice”) and “hard cider” which is alcoholic. That being said, I think a lot of people refer to “hard cider” simply as cider and use the terms interchangeably as an assumed synonym.


@Shabou do you differentiate “cloudy” apple juice and “clear” apple juice as different drinks?


Because of the defeat of the Spanish Armada we don’t speak Spanish, due to the Renaissance we don’t speak Arabic, due to the demise of Napoleon we don’t speak French, and due to the numerous setbacks to German expansion efforts we don’t speak German. Instead we speak a little bit of them all! Mixed with “English” whatever that is. For there was very little written
“English until the past 1,000 years or so. (I’ve tried reading part of 'William the Conqueror’s” census…not much makes sense. At present, English is the language of commerce around the world

But, it can be confusing with the same word meaning half a dozen different things.
So it is with cider. For dictionaries don’t attempt to “define” words so much as list “how they’re used”.


Languages… A world of complexity that is for sure… So, I was not mistaken. I vaguely remember also seeing the terms: hard cider and thought at the time that it could have meant alcoholic cider… So from now on it will be apple juice or cider both terms for apple juice and hard cider for alcoholic apple made beverage. Got it! Hoping nobody here will trick me by using: soft cider or hard cider or pure cider and so on… HA! HA! HA!


To my knowledge we use apple juice (jus de pommes) for both unfiltered and filtered apple juice. Sometimes product labels will be a bit more precise and advertise: jus de pommes filtré (filtered apple juice) as to differentiate pure unfiltered apple juice from filtered apple juice. The only sine qua non condition is that no sugar has been added. If some sugar has been added the product becomes NECTAR and a nectar beverage in French has to be a fruit juice with added sugar. A fruit juice has no added sugar and a nectar must have added sugar. 99% of the time a fruit nectar beverage is way cheaper than fruit juice.


Note that the English also follow the French: in England, “cider” means hard cider, and “juice” is the non-hard cider. After prohibition is when the meaning changed in the US… even here “cider” used to mean hard cider before the 1920’s.


Very cool!!!

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Here in the Pacific Northwest US cider can mean either cloudy apple juice, or clear alcoholic beverage, context matters, but it can be confusing.

There are brew pubs here that serve both. Sometimes saying “fresh cider” will ensure the non-alcoholic, and “hard cider” will only be the alcoholic kind.

But if the cloudy juice is pasteurized, shelf-stable - it gets more confusing.

Cider syrup is boiled down cider. I believe its intended to be clear and doesn’t contain alcohol.


The difference between raw apple juice and cider is usually only a matter of a couple of days at room temperature.


Cider syrup is also commonly referred to as “boiled cider”.

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Sweet cider is non-alcoholic and has no ingredients other apples. Hard cider is fermented sweet cider. Apple juice is processed, clear not cloudy, and has generally had other stuff added to it to keep it shelf stable.


:slight_smile: And a few more days and you have apple cider vinegar.

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These are the terms we use here in the midwest

  1. Apple Cider - pure unfiltered and usually unpasteurized pressed apple juice non-alocholic
  2. Apple Juice - filtered and pasteurized apple juice
    3 Hard Cider - fermented, alcoholic apple cider
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I had always assumed that refering to a non alcoholic apple juice as cider was a USA thing. In scotland i have only ever heard the word cider used to identify an alcoholic apple drink. Quite like the idea of calling it jus de pommes though! Sounds very fancy :joy::joy:



Interesting thread. To me Apple juice was always more clear/filtered and sweet. Cider tended to be cloudy and more tart than sweet. Hard cider was alcoholic.

I put about 3/4th of a gal of unpasteurized/un-homogenized freshly pressed cider aside. Added cheesse-cloth to the top and allowed it to ferment. It seems to have a vinegary-musty smell and flavor now (and it has been well over a month).

Did I do something wrong?


I’m nowhere even close to being an expert on fermenting cider but I know that everything has to be sanitized or bacteria will happen. Just air can make cider to go bad. Want air to go out of container but not into. That is the reason an airlock is recommended.

I highly recommend the book “The New Cider Maker’s Handbook” by Claude Jolicoeur. I’m reading it now.


Scott I believe you have created apple cider vinegar.


If you wanted alcoholic drink, you needed to keep outside air out…hence you got vinegar.
(But, hey, it’s probably good ‘organic’ vinegar… :slight_smile: