Apple cider was a highly popular early American beverage. Cider is made by pressing the juice from fruit (usually apples). It can be drunk straight or diluted with water. Before fermentation, it's referred to as "sweet" cider. It becomes "hard" cider after fermentation, and can range widely in alcohol content. Apple cider is also used to make vinegar and brandy.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.