For a long time, Moscow's wine snobs had to keep to specialty stores and buy overpriced imported bottles with a sigh of defeat. Those days seem to be over and the next beverage out to conquer Russia's taste buds is cider.

Cider is claimed by Britain, Spain, and France, which all have their own understanding of the beverage. British cider like Strongbow is sold in beer bottles or served on tap in Irish pubs like Molly Gwynn's. Most of these are made from concentrate, rather than real juice.

French cider from Normandy does not welcome any association with beer. It's sold in champagne-like bottles through supermarkets like Azbuka Vkusa, or wine shops. Both brut (hard cider) and doux (sweet cider) from four different cider producers are available at the Kollektsiya Vin chain. Metropoliya Vin even carries some pear ciders and ciders from Bretagne, priced at 180 rubles.

Spanish cider is harder to find, perhaps because it is exported less in general. In Spanish cidrerias, the drink is not associated with champagne -- during the season, it's served in special cidrerias in Asturia and the Basque country, where professionals pour it into tall glasses from amazing heights. Gourmet club imports six different ciders from Spain, including M.Busto unfiltered cider. You can also buy it in smaller quantities at select Azbuka Vkusa stores and at the Kruger Hall specialty beer store for 195 rubles.

There is also a Russian company, Yablochny Spas, that bottles cider under the label "St. Anton." It boasts of using fresh apples and has even invented a new drink that adds black currants to apples. Both filtered and unfiltered varieties are available at "Sedmoi Kontinent" supermarkets.


Metropoliya Vin, 332-34-61, 8/1 Nauchny Proezd, M. Kaluzhskaya

Gourmet Club, 901-91-13

Kruger Hall, 958-69-31, 2/1 bldg. 4, Malaya Tulskaya, M. Tulskaya

Yablochny Spas, 953-09-07