"Ebbelwoi" is the only official way of saying "apple wine" in Frankfurt and beyond. The apple wine itself - although not the variety now popular in the State of Hesse - was already known to the ancient Greek and Romans.
Fruit wine has a long tradition in regions where growing grapes is difficult because of the climate or the soil. The kind of apple wine often called "Cidre" is a sweeter variety with more alcohol contents. In the State of Hesse, apple wine is made the traditional way without adding sugar and with complete fermentation.
Apple wine can be preserved in the same way as other wines. Traditionally, however, this is done by using a very small percentage of sour fruit which make the apple wine clear and preserve it. One of the traditional fruit varieties for this is called "Speierling", which isn't even an apple at all, but comes from the family of rowan/mountain ash fruit.
Apple wine - especially when it is "spritzed" with mineral water - is often seen as a beverage. However, it is indeed a genuine fruit wine and a pure, natural product if it is pressed properly and made the traditional way. Then its taste does have a certain acidity/tartness, but it is no more bitter than any other wine, too.
THE MAGIC TRIANGLE
Three things are important parts of apple wine culture:
• the typical patterned glasses, the "Gerippte",
• a stoneware pitcher/jug, the "Bembel", and
• a small wooden lid to keep dirt and flies away from the precious apple wine, the "Deckelchen".
All this together is called the magic triangle.
If you ever tried to drink a "Bembel" all by yourself, then you'll know why.