It is a brisk evening, and you are outside around your fire pit or maybe swinging on your porch. You’d like to have a delicious drink with maybe a slight ‘adult’ kick to it.
So what drink do you choose?
Well, a lot of people turn to hard cider. Did you know that you can actually make this yourself? If you didn’t, you won’t be able to say that tomorrow.
So if you would like to have some hard cider to turn to on your next evening of relaxation, then read on because this could be your new favorite adult beverage.
Here is How to Make Hard Cider:
1. Pick Your Poison
If you are going to make hard cider, then you usually have to start with cider. Which means you’ll need to either make your own homemade cider, or you’ll have to shop local to find some cider.
The reason I say local is because you want cider that has no chemicals and is completely natural. It is easier to find this when you shop locally and find people that make and sell their own cider.
Once you’ve got your cider in hand, then you are ready to move on with the process.
2. Something to Grow On
If you want to make any type of liquor, then you probably know it is going to require yeast. Hard cider is no different.
But you’ll want to pick a specific type of yeast to make this work. You can use a yeast specifically meant for cider, or you can go with a yeast that is meant for a dry wine. The dry wine yeast works well and is less expensive in most cases.
However, if you just feel more comfortable using yeast specifically made for cider, then just do what makes you comfortable.
Once you’ve got your yeast in hand, we can move forward.
3. Here is How You ‘Start’
You can actually skip this step if you so choose. The upside to creating your own start is that you know that your yeast is alive and active. This also means it will start fermenting your cider as soon as you put it in.
So if you decide to make a start you’ll need to do this the day before you decide to begin brewing your hard cider. You’ll want to begin by pouring out a few ounces of your homemade or all-natural cider into a container that you can seal. I would probably use something like a mason jar.
Then you’ll add one packet of your yeast to the same container. Add a lid to the container that will seal it and shake the yeast and juice for a few seconds.
After you’ve completed this step, put the jar down, but leave it in a location that you won’t forget about it. In about 5 or so hours, you’ll want to come back by and check your mixture in the jar. You will be looking for activity in the jar, meaning bubbles.
If you see the activity taking place in the jar, then you’ll need to unscrew the lid and release the pressure in the jar.
Then place the lid back on the jar and pop it in the refrigerator until you need it the next day.
However, be sure that you pull the ‘start' out of the fridge a few hours before you begin to brew your hard cider so it will take the chill off and wake the yeast back up.
4. First Step of the Big Day
When I say ‘The Big Day’ I’m referencing brew day. This is where all of the magic begins to happen. You’ll start the process by placing the remainder of your cider in the pot you are going to use to brew in. This could be a soup pot if that’s what you have.
Then you’ll let it simmer for around 45 minutes. The purpose of this is to kill any bacteria that may be in your cider.
Also, there are rogue yeast that randomly flies through the air. This simmering process will help to kill off any of those as well.
But I do need to mention right here that you only want to simmer the cider. You do not want to bring the cider to a boil. If it boils, then it allows the pectin in the cider to begin to set. This will create a hazy beverage, which you probably don’t want.
After you begin simmering your cider, you’ll want to add your sweetener to the mixture now. Some people add honey, while some prefer brown sugar. You can adjust the sweetness as you prefer.
5. Second Step of the Big Day
This next step is very simple. You just pour the mixture into a sanitized bucket. You do not want to pour it into an unsanitized bucket because it could cause your cider to spoil.
However, you need to know how to properly sanitize your bucket. No worries, it is very easy to do. You’ll begin by pouring a cap full of bleach into your bucket.
Then you add water to the top of the bucket and allow it to sit for 30 minutes. Once your 30 minutes is up, you’ll just dump the bucket and rinse it out with cold water.
So you’ll probably want to make sure that you sanitize your bucket before you begin the simmering process of your cider, or even while you are simmering your cider. That way when the cider is done simmering for 45 minutes, you can just dump it into your bucket.
6. Third Step of the Big Day
This next step is pretty important. If you did not create a start for your hard cider, then you’ll want to toss in your yeast now.
However, if you did create a start, then this is the time you’ll want to toss it into the mix.
Next, you’ll want to use either a stainless steel or plastic spoon to stir the mixture for around a minute. You’ll want to use stainless steel or plastic because it helps to aerate the mixture.
Then you’ll add the lid to your bucket, seal it, and affix the airlock. Store the bucket in a location that the temperature will stay between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 60 degrees is actually the best temperature you could store it at. If it is lower than this temperature, then the mixture won’t ferment.
But if the temperature is too high, it will ferment faster and potentially compromise the flavor of the cider.
7. You Are So Close
So your mixture is being stored in a closet, and you have been monitoring the temperature. You’ll want to check back in 1-2 days to check on the airlock. It should begin to bubble because it should be releasing carbon dioxide. The bubbling should last for about two weeks.
Once the bubbling has stopped, you’ll want to allow the mixture to sit for another week. This will allow the yeast to settle.
When the bubbles have stopped and been given time to settle, you can pull the lid off and taste test to see what you think of your first batch of homemade cider.
Now, I realize that I’ve given you the step by step on how to make cider, but there are different delicious recipes out there you can try when you make your hard cider to enjoy it that much more.
Hard Cider Recipes
Here are a few of them:
1. Sparkling Hard Apple Cider Sangria
If you find yourself celebrating fall, but only to realize that the temperatures aren’t cooperating, then you’ll be really glad to have this recipe.
So it is very easy to make. It only requires a couple of apple slices, pears, some decent white wine, and your hard cider.
2. Spiked Spiced Apple Cider
This apple cider recipe actually skips over the whole fermenting process, and it can be made in a crockpot!
So you just heat up your cider in the crockpot, add the necessary ingredients, and right before serving, add a dollop of your favorite whiskey or bourbon.
3. Hard Apple Cider ‘Beer’ Bread
Not everyone likes to make hard apple cider for drinking. Some people actually make it to cook with and try new delicious recipes…like this one.
So if you like cooking with your hard cider, then try out this delicious bread recipe. It makes my mouth water just looking at it.
4. Cranberry Apple Cider Sangria
This is another delicious sangria recipe. Instead of it boasting apples and pears, this recipe boasts apples and cranberries. Those are very ‘fall’ flavors, don’t you think?
So if you find yourself having a fall get-together, and you’d like an adult beverage, don’t reach for the store-bought stuff. Instead, create this delicious drink and enjoy the fall weather.
5. Apple Cider Mimosas
This made me think of a funny story. When I was a little girl, I went to my mom’s office where there was a shared refrigerator. I pulled out orange juice to drink some, as I usually did. They always kept it in a pitcher. After my second glass, I said, “Mom, this orange juice tastes funny.” She about died when she realized I was drinking mimosas from a party they’d had in the office earlier that day.
So when you make this recipe, just be sure that your kids don’t think that it’s orange juice…as I did. But do enjoy this beverage since it requires only apple cider and champagne. It doesn’t get much easier than that now does it?
Well, you now know how to make your own hard apple cider. Plus, you have 5 recipes for ways that you can utilize and enjoy your apple cider as well.
But I’d like to know, do you like hard cider? If so, do you make your own? How?
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