Hard cider is a sweet alcoholic drink usually coming from fermented apple juice. For a budget-friendly unlimited stock in your own home, you should learn how make hard cider without the need for fancy equipment.
Interesting Facts about Hard Cider
Before anything else, let’s know more about hard cider solely as a drink:
Hard cider has an interesting past. For two centuries, specifically from the 1600s to the 1800s, cider was used as a form of compensation for some workers in England. However, by 1887, the Truck Amendment Act finally prohibited this form of wage.
Like most alcoholic beverages, hard cider can also be stored for several years. However, you should know that cider becomes drier as it stays in the bottle. Additionally, most brands are not made for aging. They should be consumed within two years for they might turn into cider vinegar.
In making hard cider, apple juice should be present but it must be “raw.” Raw apple juice is made of unfiltered apples. If an apple is unfiltered, its juice would still have sediment or pulp. That is why raw apple juice has an opaque look. It also has a really short shelf life. You are more likely to find it in farm stands rather than supermarkets. On the other hand, commercial apple juice is thoroughly filtered, pasteurized and filled with preservatives to last longer.
This discussion does not stop with apples. There are various cider variations depending on the fruit used. Pear cider or “perry” follows the popularity of apple cider. Meanwhile, enthusiasts expand their horizons with strawberries, blackberries, cherries, plums, and peaches.
Hard cider is filled with vitamin C and antioxidants. Its usual amount of antioxidants is even comparable with what tomatoes and green tea have. Hard cider also does not contain gluten. Still, drink it in moderation for it includes high levels of calories.
Even though hard cider is sweet as wine, drinkers tend to compare it more with beer. In general, hard cider and beer are bubblier and gentler than wine when it comes to alcohol content.
However, Applejack is actually more similar to hard cider. It is technically concentrated hard apple cider.
How to Make Hard Cider
Finally, here is the method on how to make hard cider:
You will be amazed how simple the ingredients are in making hard cider. You only need a liter of water, 250 milliliters of raw apple juice, a cup of sugar, and eight grams of active dry yeast. It is crucial that the apple juice should have no preservatives since these components can interfere with the development of yeast.
Prepare the must.
Most people have no idea what “must” is when it comes to making hard cider. The must refer to the essential mixture for fermentation. It is actually the cider itself. However, it still needs to be combined and processed meticulously before it becomes cider.
First of all, find an empty two-liter soda bottle and make it as the container for the must. Fill it with apple juice and water. This serves as the base for other ingredients.
What exactly is the purpose of sugar for hard cider? Is it just for adding sweetness? Interestingly, sugar boosts yeast’s metabolism and enhances the amount of alcohol. Make sure that the sugar dissolves completely within the apple juice-water base.
If you want, you may add cinnamon into the must. Then, wait until all ingredients dissolve in the liquid.
Since dry baking yeast is needed for fermenting the must, you should rehydrate it first. What you need to do is put it in a shallow dish with a small amount of water and sugar. Wait for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add the rehydrated dry yeast into the must. Shake the bottle perfectly to combine everything together.
Cover the rim.
Create a simple yet effective cover for the bottle’s rim just by using a rubber band and a plastic wrap. All you need to do is loosely tie the plastic wrap over the bottle’s opening with the rubber band. Make sure that the rubber band is loose enough so the gases can vent out.
There is nothing you can do this time but wait. Wait for the yeast to gather on the bottom of the bottle. Additionally, there should be no more fizzing. Total fermentation typically takes three to seven days.
Use another bottle.
When you finally notice yeast gathering on the bottom of the bottle, transfer the almost-fermented apple juice into another bottle. However, you need a funnel first to ensure that you will not make a mess. As much as possible, none of the yeast on the bottom of the first bottle is included in the second.
Cover the rim again.
Put plastic wrap over the second bottle’s rim just like what you did on the first. Fermentation may still continue which is fine. However, at this point, you can already drink some of the cider.
If you start noticing yeast gathering on the bottom of the second bottle, transfer it to a third one. Follow the same process.
Use a cap.
When the liquid is finally free from accumulating yeast, you are now allowed to use a screw-on cap to cover the bottle’s rim.
Make some adjustments.
Feel free to adjust the consistency of the cider. If you prefer it to be carbonated, add one pinch of sugar. The remaining yeast will digest the sugar you added. You’ve read it right – the liquid still contains yeast but you cannot see the substance with your naked eye anymore.
Just a heads-up, do not put more sugar than necessary for you might blow the cap off.
Hard cider is definitely one of the easiest alcoholic beverages you can make at home. With just four ingredients and an unbelievably easy process of just mixing and waiting, you can make hard cider anytime you want. More importantly, when you finally know how to make hard cider like the back of your hand, you can store an unlimited amount in the comforts of your own home without spending a lot of money.
For more knowledge about making your own alcoholic drinks, learn how to make a Manhattan drink as well as start your own brewery. When it comes to other popular beverages, check out how to make the best coffee and some coffee shop drinks.