The Cider Drink Rules

Now that the weather is heating up and ’tis the season to be jolly, I thought I’d write up a post on a refreshing drink that’s making a bit of a comeback, namely cider. The days of sitting on park benches, sharing a bottle of Strongbow or White Lightning, although not over, are joined by a growing number of boutique cider manufacturers. It makes a nice change from beer, is more refreshing than wine and the acidic finish cuts through the greasy snag or burger that inhabit the BBQ at this time of year.

However, as is becoming a recurring theme in this blog, the cost of these fancy ciders with unpronounceable Scandinavian names is quite prohibitive and what’s more fun and money saving than making your own…

METHOD 1

If you are familiar with, or a friend / family member makes their own beer or wine, then you can probably borrow the hardware you need for this recipe, essentially a fermenting bin, bottles to store the cider and the necessary cleaning and sterilising agents.

You’ll need:

1 Brigalow Cider Kit (Big W, around $13)
3 tins pear juice (supermarket, around $8)
4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered ($2)
1kg brewing sugar (Big W, around $4)
3 cinnamon sticks ($2)

Essentially, you put all the above ingredients into a fermenting bin, using some hot water from the kettle to ensure everything is dissolved. Top up to around 20 litres with cool water. Sprinkle the yeast that came with the cider kit on the top of the liquid.

Forget about it for a couple of weeks.

You then need to get hold of some bottles. Again, if you have a friend that homebrews, they can assist, otherwise, Big W sell boxes of Coopers PET bottles in boxes of 24(?) for around $20.

Fill each bottle not quite to the top and drop in 1 carbonation drop (basically a sugar drop that enables your cider to become carbonated)

Store somewhere cool and dark for a minimum of 2 months.

Serve chilled, with friends and some barbecued chicken breast or salmon steaks.

So, excluding hardware, you’ll get the equivalent of 2 slabs of great cider, for around $30.

Experiment with different flavors – strawberries, peach nectar etc.

METHOD 2

If the above method all seems a bit time consuming, difficult and reminds you of secondary school chemistry, then this is for you.

Go to this website and have a look at the kits they sell.

Quite simply, you buy one of the 3 litre fruit juices from the supermarket. You want the ones from the drinks aisles, not the refrigerator. I use the Coles home brand apple juice, 3 litres for about $3.50.

Bring said bottle of juice home, drink about 1/2 cup of the juice and pour about 1/2 cup sugar into the bottle. Sprinkle 1/2 capful of the yeast that comes with the OzTops kit into the juice and replace the lid with one of the special lids that comes with the kits.

Store for a week or so.

Put in fridge. Drink.

How easy is that? The apple and blackcurrant juice turns out well, too.

Just make sure the kids know that the apple juice in the fridge is actually mummy/daddy’s falling over water, not their fruit juice for breakfast!

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2 thoughts on “The Cider Drink Rules

  1. Kylie November 29, 2012 at 11:56 am Reply

    Made my own ginger beer one year. It exploded out of the bottles and actually turned into ginger BEER after a while (had to stop the kids from drinking it!) Quite dangerous really…

    • rosko001 November 29, 2012 at 8:43 pm Reply

      Hi Kylie. Yes, I had exploding bottles during my first brew too. The most common reason is, as a beer making newbie, we’re so eager to get the stuff in the bottles, we don’t wait for primary fermentation to complete, and so the pressure builds up in the bottles. If you’re using glass bottles, the results can be very dangerous indeed and necessitates the use of goggles and welding gloves when having a drink!

      Easiest ways to reduce chances of exploding bottles are:

      1. give the beer or cider 2 or even 3 weeks to complete fermentation.

      2. Use plastic PET bottles rather than glass

      3. If using glass bottles, make sure they’re completely clean and sterile. Infections can cause extra CO2 to be produced, causing potential bottle bombs in the fridge.

      Give the ginger beer another go, though. Add some ginger marmalade, powdered ginger and cinnamon for some extra punch!

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