Although I could find no official distinction online between juice, nectar, and cider, this is my take on it and the guidelines I use when deciding how to label drinks I process:
A juice is extracted by heating fruit and then straining out the pulp. It is thin and often clear.
A nectar is obtained by heating fruit, pureeing it, and running it through a food mill to extract any skin and seeds/pits. The final product is thick with pulp.
A cider is produced when juice is extracted from fruit by cold pressing and the end product is not heated or pasteurized.
This year was the first time I ever made nectar, see my post on Simply Grateful Canning for Plum Nectar and once I made one, I couldn’t wait to try others. There will be posts on several more in the next couple weeks.
Although cider is certainly my first choice in processing methods for fruit, nectar runs a close second because it is so substantial in fruit and flavor. Something new for the pantry, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.