Who's asking: Jennifer Lechner
Almost everywhere except the United States, this is an easy question: apple cider is alcoholic, apple juice is not. Here, it's a little more complicated, because what's sold as "apple cider" here is generally not alcoholic -- we call the alcoholic stuff "hard cider."
Anyway, both juice and cider are made by pressing liquid out of apples. The distinction arises with what happens next. Apple juice is filtered, pasteurized, and vacuum-sealed in a bottle or can to extend shelf life and prevent fermentation. Apple cider is generally not filtered, may or may not be pasteurized, is sold in non-vacuum sealed jugs, and will ferment or go to vinegar if left too long on the shelf.
It's apple season in Maine, and the cider from the roadside stands is wonderful. Apple cider's often too sweet for me, but I bought a jug of cranberry-apple cider that is just right. We had a frost warning last night, the leaves are turning, and fall is here. Tourists, come on up.
What I Read This Week
Carol O'Connell, Find Me. Kathy Mallory, the street urchin-turned-cop, goes on a mysterious cross-country drive along the old Route 66, and becomes involved along the way with the investigation of a serial killer. Without giving too much away, I finished the book thinking it might be the last in this series; if it is, it's a wonderful and unconventional end to a wonderful and unconventional series.
PJ Tracy, Snow Blind. The fourth book in the Monkeewrench series gives us more of Minneapolis cops Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi, but very little of the Monkeewrench crew. The corpses of two Minneapolis policemen are found inside two snowmen, and the trail leads to a compound for battered women in northern Minnesota. Another book whose ending breaks some rules of traditional crime fiction; I'd have liked a little more resolution, but the book is true to itself and its characters.
Christopher Reich, The Patriots Club. A non-stop thriller that finds investment banker Thomas Bolden battling a mysterious group of powers-that-be, whose existence dates back to the American Revolution. Sharply-observed details of the New York financial world and political Washington are a bonus.
Theresa Schwegel, Probable Cause. The follow-up to Theresa's Edgar-winning Officer Down is another standalone, set in the same universe of Chicago police. Rookie cop Ray Weiss must break into a jewelry shop as part of his initiation; when he does, he finds its owner dead. Ray's partner seems to know more about the situation than he should, and Ray must wrestle with the conflicting demands of loyalty and justice. Very, very well done. It'll be out in January.