The apple was a leading American crop in colonial days, and fermented — or hard — cider reigned as the young country's most common drink through the early 19th century, as New Orleans-based drinks writer Wayne Curtis has documented in And a Bottle of Rum, his book on New World spirits. It was easy to produce, it kept well and – then, as now — it takes the edge off.

  It all but disappeared in later years but, as the growing availability and variety at local bars and grocery stores shows, there is a cider revival underway.

  On Tuesday, one of the newer American cider brands, Crispin Cider Co., will be in town for a special tasting dinner at Calcasieu (930 Tchoupitoulas St., 588-2188;, the private dining venue from the Link Restaurant Group.

  This Crispin Cider Dinner will pair five cider varieties — inlcuding a classic English style, a pear cider and one made with Irish stout yeast — with five courses from the Calcasieu kitchen, which includes a main course of suckling pig three ways. The dinner starts at 7 p.m. and costs $65 per person, plus tax and tip. For reservations call 588-2188.