Jurassic inspiration for new ciders

LYME Bay Winery is inspired by the history of the West Country in both its drinks and their names – the latest addition to the range of Jack Ratt ciders (named after a famous smuggler) is the Ammonite trio of craft ciders, made in the time-honoured way from freshly-pressed West-Country apple juice.s.

The winery, which produces traditional and contemporary meads, ciders and fruit and country wines, is based on the World Heritage Jurassic Coast of Dorset and East Devon, an area famous for fossils, smugglers, shipwrecks and all kinds of salty, seafaring tales.

The award-winning Jack Ratt cider range – named after notorious West Country smuggler Jack Rattenbury – is one of the cornerstones of Lyme Bay’s production. These ciders blend the old and new, fusing traditional recipes and local ingredients with the most up-to-date production techniques to create bold and exciting flavours.

The latest additions reflects the strong consumer trend for provenance and discovery which is at the heart of the craft movement, for “proper ciders, properly made.” Inspired by one of the most instantly recognisable marine fossils found on the region’s beaches, Ammonite craft ciders are made from the freshly-pressed juice of West Country apples in three distinctly different flavours of Sour Cherry, Botanicals, and Hops.

Ammonite Sour Cherry Cider has a refreshing stiff upper lip and beautifully integrated cherry notes of almond, clove and a hint of cinnamon. This serious cherry cider pairs remarkably well with pork and spicy Asian dishes.

One for the gin aficionados, Ammonite Botanical Cider displays crisp apple flavours intermingled with the traditional gin notes of juniper, angelica, and coriander. The added complexity of orange and black pepper makes this a multi-layered cider which stands up well alongside flavoursome dishes like pot-roasted beef with French onion gravy.

And for beer-lovers, Ammonite Hops Cider is a dry-hopped West Country drink combining the lightly tart and tannic bite of cider with the classic American IPA hops Simcoe and Cascade. These add citrus overtones and a distinctive pine-like aroma, creating a cider which is the perfect partner for tempura battered seafood and fish tacos.

The Ammonite ciders have striking labels designed by Devon-based design-house, WeAreBluesoup.

Ammonites and cider have folkloric and mythical connotations echoing back through history. The western British tradition of wassailing the apple trees and making an offering of cider and bread to protect the fertility of the orchard dates back into the mists of time. In medieval Europe, fossilised ammonites were thought to be petrified coiled snakes and were believed to have healing or oracular powers.