Traditional hard apple cider is the spirit world's safe zone, a Switzerland of sorts where wine, beer, and liquor enthusiasts can lay down their arms and split a killer lamb burger. The best, most authentic versions give a wide berth to their deeply sweet, non-alcoholic brethren (the sort best served fireside), and don't recall apple juice so much as apple orchards; hiding behind the brilliant, tangy acidity, you'll find soil and peels, pine crates and autumn air.

If you've steered clear of hard cider because you fear it's too sweet or simple, swap your usual bottle of choice with some of our favorite producers from around the world.