Apple trees were among the first food-bearing plants brought here to help make life more bearable for those who considered themselves English no matter on which side of the Atlantic they chose to live. In an age when water was suspect—as well it should have been for only shallow wells were in use—any sweet juice that could be turned into fermented liquor was considered as necessary as it was popular. And cider—drunk sweet, allowed to harden and often turned into brandy—was the most popular colonial juice of all. Drinking vessels from which to quaff the beverage were as diverse as the homes in which cider was made and served. The names by which those drinking vessels, all collected as valuable antiques now, originally were known, are equally diverse. Here we concentrate on what was then known, as it still is today, as the mug which was any large, straight-sided cup with a handle. They could be found made of wood, glass, silver, tin, pewter, or of earthenware or stoneware. (Excerpted from The New York Times, Oct. 18, 1981)

Read more about cider in American history in “The drink that built a nation.”