Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.
What's the recipe? For most things, apple juice should be an okay substitute, unless the cider is really the main ingredient (like in a cocktail or something).
It is a dressing for a salad and I am supposed to cook the cider down. I didn't know if apple juice would work the same way
Guessing the cider is a pretty key flavor component of the dressing. You could cook apple juice down, but it won't have quite the same effect -- especially if it's not good-quality apple juice. Do you have a link to the recipe?
If you are concentrating the flavor by cooking it down, I don't think anything will be a good substitute. Sorry.
I think an unsweetened apple juice (unfiltered if you can find it) would work. It's a substitution, so the result won't be exactly what the recipe intends, but it should be fairly similar. I've also (in an emergency) mixed a little applesauce into apple juice to approximate a cider. Again-- definitely not ideal, but in a pinch it may help.
In the U.S., the terms "apple juice" and "apple cider" are synonymous. The FDA defines Apple cider as " juice that is expressed from apples".
Some people regard cider as being fresh and unfiltered and juice as being filtered but, barring any individual state regs, that's simply custom and varies by location. If your local grocery store is like mine, you can find clear cider and clear juice sitting side-by-side -- same product, different paper label. In other words, both are marketing terms, not product definitions.
Some people think of mulled (spiced) cider whenever they hear the term "cider"; more confusion dates from before prohibition when cider meant hard cider (and still does in other countries). And some people confuse juice drinks with pure juice; the percentage of actual juice is required to be on the label.
I would try unsweetened apple juice with a good shot of Calvados or applejack.
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