Everyone has that one drink that they just cannot stomach. The one that first made them sick. For me, that drink is beer; I just can’t stand it. So what do I drink in the heat of summer when I need something ice cold and refreshing? Cider.
Much in the same way that it is branching out into the craft beer world, Hong Kong is also developing more of an interest in cider, bringing in lesser known ciders from around the world. I recently had the pleasure of trying La Chouette, which markets itself as being “The French Cider.”
La Chouette is French for ‘the owl,’ referring to the bond between the night bird and French cider, in that, historically, French farmers would make their own cider and store it in barns where owls “watched over” it. If you’ve been to France and eaten crêpes or galettes, you’ll know that the French are very big on their cider (or ‘cidre’) and basically drink it like apple juice (in fact, apparently French people drink as much cider as they do Champagne!). This could be because French cider pretty much is apple juice. There are strict regulations on how ‘cidre’ is made: there cannot be more than 50% juice from concentrate, and there is a limit on how much added sugar goes into it.
La Chouette takes this one step further: there is not a trace of either reconsituted apple juice, or added sugar. So, it is, in fact, as if you’re drinking a lightly sparkling apple juice…with a bit of alcohol splashed in for good measure!
When I was first approached by La Chouette, I initially thought, “sure, I’ll try your cider, put a photo on Instagram and be done with it, since there’s no way I can write an entire post about cider.” It doesn’t often happen, but on this occasion, I thought wrong; there is a lot that can be written about La Chouette.
Made with a variety of French cider apples from the orchards of Mont-Saint-Michel – some sweet, some tart – La Chouette has a lovely, balanced flavour and a subtle hint of caramel. Drunk simply on its own, or on ice, La Chouette is delicious, refreshing, everything you want cider to be and more. Since there is not even a sprinkling of sugar added, it’s not sickly sweet, and I would be able to knock a few of these back on a summer’s evening, without hesitation…perhaps a little too easily!
Since La Chouette is basically apple juice, it can also be mixed with various spirits and drunk as a cocktail. I was given a little cocktail menu to try out at home and found that the easiest one was the appropriately named Drunken Owl, a blend of La Chouette and vodka, on ice. Although my hand may have slipped ever so slightly on the vodka, it was still utterly refreshing, light, and again too easy to drink.
I have since discovered that La Chouette is served at several of my favourite eateries and bars, including Missy Ho’s, Metropolitain, NOSH, The Globe and even Otto e Mezzo. I know what I’ll be ordering next time I find myself at any of these places! La Chouette is also running a special offer on cases of cider – order a minimum of five cases and it works out at only $25 a bottle (as opposed to $40 standard price). Anyone fancy a party?!