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Cider's Over-The-Head Long Pour Is A Drinking Game Waiting To Happen

By Patty Wetli | May 4, 2016 8:33am | Updated on May 10, 2016 8:01am
 Spanish cider, known as sidra, is poured from a great height.
Spanish cider, known as sidra, is poured from a great height.
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NORTH CENTER — While Americans are just beginning to rekindle their love affair with cider, Spaniards — who never forsook the beverage for beer — have taken cider consumption to new heights.

"Spain has the oldest continuous cider culture and the most dynamic," said Brian Rutzen, cider director at The Northman cider bar, 4337 N. Lincoln Ave. "They have apples brought 2,000 years ago from Rome."

In the Asturias region of northern Spain, cider is "on every table for lunch and dinner," he said.

This area is also home to arguably one of the coolest drinking traditions that — not that we're telling Spaniards how to run their economy — really ought to become the country's greatest export.

Asturian cider, or sidra, has been called "unapologetically rustic" — fermented naturally and bottled without filtration. It's not carbonated, and that's where things get interesting.

To give the sidra a fizzy kick and unleash its aromas and flavors, the cider is poured into glasses from a great height.

Experts make the long pour look easy. [Flickr/Javier Bueno]

The technique is called escanciar la sidra: Servers, or adventurous patrons, hold a bottle of sidra over their head with one hand and a glass in the other at approximately waist-height. Experts make it look easy but amateur pourers would be advised to invest in splash-guards.

Because the cider quickly loses its punch, servers only pour an ounce or two at a time, which is meant to be quaffed more or less like a shot.

The Northman has sidra on draft, with the tap handle positioned above the bar for a long, comparatively neat pour.

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