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Bender: Kir Normand

In each monthly installment of Bender, Caroline Ferguson will explore the social, cultural, and historical context of a single cocktail or boozy beverage. From settling which country lays claim to Pisco to exploring the Carthusian Monks’ chartreuse caves, Caroline will try to track down all the places your drink has been before it gets in your glass—always ending with a recipe of her own creation. Pull up a chair and a glass.

These days, American food bloggers are busy working themselves into a lather about cider’s newfound popularity. TIME named it the fastest-growing alcoholic beverage category, and trendy cider pubs have popped up in several cities around the U.S. Yet, based on early American history, cider should already be as American as Bud Light. What happened?