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People MagazineAmericans may think of hard cider as a libation most English, but according to this fascinating and practical guide, cider was the alcoholic drink of choice in America before 19th-century urbanization led to the demise of rural breweries. New England farmers paid doctors' bills in cider, and politicians (including young George Washington) rewarded voters with tasty flagons of the brew. But cider's popularity waned when German immigrants introduces a taste for beer to the nation's growing cities.
Today hard cider is making a comeback in stores—and you can legally make your own (up to 200 gallons per year) that tastes even better. In part, because the ingredients (mainly apples or unpastuerized sweet cider) are readily obtainable, hard cider is much cheaper to make at home than wine or beer. Easier too. So start saving those empty bottles.